Print 113 comment(s) - last by Wiggy Mcshades.. on Apr 5 at 4:09 PM

Tesla Roadster  (Source: Tesla Motors)

Left to Right: Hammond, Clarkson, and May  (Source: BBC)
Tesla isn't laughing when it comes to Jeremy Clarkson's antics

Top Gear is pretty much the biggest automotive show on the planet. It's car porn for car nuts and any enthusiast worth his/her salt watches every episode of the show by any means necessary. Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May, are known to take a few liberties when reviewing cars on the BBC program -- especially Clarkson -- but the antics of the show with regards to the Tesla Roadster are landing them in some legal hot water [PDF].

Jeremy Clarkson tested the Roadster along the show's famous "track" and made a number of false or misleading claims about the vehicle's capabilities. You can view the [admittedly low quality] Top Gear segment here for yourself. 

Tesla lays out the following portions of the review that were misrepresented by Jeremy Clarkson and Top Gear: 

  • The Roadster ran out of charge and had to be pushed into the Top Gear hangar by 4 men.
  • The Roadster’s true range is only 55 miles per charge (not 211).
  • One Roadster’s motor overheated and was completely immobilized as a result.
  • The other Roadster’s brakes were broken, rendering the car undriveable.
  • That neither of the two Roadsters provided to Top Gear was available for test driving due to these problems.

Ricardo Reyes, Vice President of Communications for Tesla, further hammers Clarkson and his antics in a blog post:

In the episode, two Roadsters are depicted as suffering several critical "breakdowns" during track driving. The show’s script, written before the cars were tested, has host Jeremy Clarkson concluding the segment by saying, "in the real world, it doesn’t seem to work."

Today, we continue to field questions and explain the serious misconceptions created by the show. Many of us have heard: I know this car, the one that broke down on Top Gear. Despite the show's buffoonery, Clarkson’s words are taken as truth, not only about the Roadster, but about EVs. 

Tesla goes on to say that these lies being perpetrated by Top Gear are damaging to its image, considering that the show is rebroadcast on BBC television and available over the internet. In fact, Top Gear has roughly 350 million viewers worldwide, so it's understandable why Tesla is a bit protective of its "baby".

Most enthusiasts who watch Top Gear know not to take everything that the show portrays as gospel, but Tesla isn't taking any chances with this lawsuit -- even if it comes two years after the original episode first aired...

Updated 3/30/2011 @ 11:45am EST

The BBC has responded to Tesla Motors' lawsuit, stating that it will "vigorously defend" Top Gear's claims.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: What is the Truth?
By Aloonatic on 3/31/2011 1:04:48 PM , Rating: 3
The thing about Top Gear is that, being funded with public funds, they are able to say it as it is, without fear of the plug being pulled because of an offended car manufacturer. As fans of the show will tell you, other cars have received far more scathing reviews that would have (and may actually have) condemned cars to the bargain bin (or whatever it is for cars)
Most of the recent incarnation Top Gear has been about super cars and prestigious saloons etc but they have reviewed more "every day" cars in the past, and there is no guarantee that they will give a good review just because it burns petrol.

It's all down to the manufacturer and how they take those reviews though. I seem to recall that a Ford car (might have been an early Mondeo) got a really bad review, but Ford took the criticism on board (no doubt Top Gear weren't the only people to pick fault with it) and sent back a new version a year or so later which the Top Gear team liked a lot, especially as Ford had heeded the comments made by journalists. Ford earned a lot of good will and respect for how they handled the situation too.

I can't help but think that Tesla might be better off coming back a year later with a car that they can cram down Clarkson's throat, rather than running off to mommy to say that the bad is saying nasty things about them. Or do they know that the former is not possible, so are having to go with the latter? To give Clarkson and the Top Gear crew credit, they are men enough to eat their own words if people come back at them with a decent reply.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive
Related Articles

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki