Tesla Motors Sues BBC Over Top Gear Review

In December of 2008, the BBC aired an episode where Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson got behind the wheel of a Tesla Roadster. Tesla Motors is now suing over that episode.

If you haven’t heard of Top Gear, then you are missing out on some hilarious automotive shenanigans. Of course, the Top Gear Trio have been known to stretch the truth for the sake of entertainment, and most of the time it’s just good, clean fun.

That’s not the case with the Tesla Roadster review though. Clarkson and the program showed the Tesla running out of juice after just 55 (very hard) miles, and being pushed into a garage, described its charging time as 16 hours, complained of broken brakes and an overheated the motor, resulting in both cars supposedly being unavailable for driving.

But that’s not what happened according to Tesla’s Rachel Konrad. Neither of the two Tesla’s had their charge drop below 20%, the brake problem was resolved by replacing a fuse, and most people who invested in a $100,000 roadster also invested in a home-based fast charger that can get the car back to full charge in under 4 hours. As for the overheated engine, the car merely lowered the amount of available power to keep the engine from overheating…and having plenty of video evidence of how Clarkson drives, the computer was probably doing the right thing to prevent damage to the motor.

This is so serious that Tesla even went so far as to set up a website. Tesla says they still get questions over that particular episode, and that it has spent the last two years trying to work out something with the BBC to issue some sort of correction. Tesla is “reluctantly” going to court over this issue, but I think there is a better way to solve this. Here is the lawsuit case file.

Tesla brings TWO roadsters to a neutral track right here in America, and their own crew of advisors/intermediaries yadda-yadda. Then Top Gear U.K. and Top Gear America come together and compete in a sort of scavenger hunt where they must maximize both speed, and range of two Tesla Roads. The losers have to drive something embarrassing, like say a Reliant Robin, for the next month around their home town.

I am a fan of both Tesla Motors and Top Gear, and it is really a case of semantics where Tesla, already facing an uphill battle, has gotten some pretty awful publicity with the biggest car program on the planet. Even Clarkson called himself a “volt head” after driving the spirited roadster, so why can’t these two get along a little better…and entertain me at the same time. Thoughts?

Source: Green Car Advisor

Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs. You can read about his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout or follow his non-nonsensical ramblings on Twitter @harshcougar.

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.