• Dec 22, 2008
Click the image above to watch Top Gear's review of the Tesla Roadster after the jump

We've been following the roller-coaster ride that Top Gear's recent test of the Tesla Roadster has turned into with interest. Since Clarkson's video review first aired, reactions to the way the Tesla was presented have been mixed, and much of the debate has centered on one particular scene where the Top Gear crew can be seen pushing one of their Tesla test-cars into the garage after apparently running out of juice... except that it never happened. The BBC has released a statement admitting that Clarkson's tester still had power left and the scene was filmed to show what would happen if the battery had actually been depleted. Regardless, "Top Gear stands by the findings in this film and is content that it offers a fair representation of the Tesla's performance on the day it was tested."

So far, we've heard no word on whether offering "a fair representation" includes future reviews of petrol-powered cars that include scenes of each one being pushed into the garage after not running out of gas. Thanks for the tip, Doug!

[Source: Register Hardware]

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  • 75 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I love Top Gear. I can't think of a funnier, more entertaining show for my tastes. That said, I find that the BBC's anti-Americanism is magnified by Clarkson. American cars are, to an extent, pretty darned good for non-elitist, non-pretentious, functional, average salaried people. But, for those highly paid celebrities w/ either a political axe to grind, or a directive to grind such an axe, it seems Britain's Top Gear will forever trash American cars, no matter how good they are.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Ya, I'm a little disappointed with Top Gear on this one, it's obvious they were trying to push their own personal opinion on electric powered cars (they always have) then to actually look at it and review it. Also ,they missed a LOT of the glaring problems with hydrogen (buying it outside California, setting up a hydrogen infrastructure, not enough platinum in the world to make enough fuel cells to support just the US, etc)

      Don't get me wrong, still really like Top Gear...but you really have to look at it as entertainment.

      This review was entertaining, but rubbish...
      • 6 Years Ago
      @tankd0g There's a difference between staging when a car runs out of gas/petrol/electricity then shooting a drive by on a different trip. You have see the significance of stagging a fire, or a steering wheel coming off, etc. over when an exterior shot is taken. The timing of an exterior shot is not going to devalue a company's stock.

      Lastly, since this is like your fourth post defending top gear I have to ask, do you dress like Clarkson too?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Ah, no there isn't. You can't have a camera running 24 hours a day at every conceivable angle. The car BROKE, the car OVERHEATED, do you have any idea how many days this shoot probably took? They didn't have the camera in the right place at the right time to capture the actual moment the car ran out of juice and this is the only straw you have to grasp at? I'm not defending Top Gear snce it needs no defending. I'm trying to cure Tesla fanbois of their incessant rationalizations.
      • 6 Years Ago
      maybe the reason you're all so upset is because you're all american and a little bit chauvinisitic ? I saw the review and it's nothing else but fair comparative. Clarksson presents us the advantages of the Telsa and the disadvantages as well. (and he does the same for the lotus elise).
      The result is just not the one you want, isn't it ?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Bad press for Tesla for not being a real enthusiasts car ? your kidding??? ::rolls eyes::
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's funny they emphasized the price of the car but didn't even mention the price of their precious hydrogen car.
        • 6 Years Ago
        the hydrogen car, the clarity, is only available for lease anyways
        and that's also more futuristic technology which still is being developed

        it also needs more of an infrastructure to succeed
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ Ian

        You need to look at the comparison another way:

        FCX:

        Power grid -> time to crack water for hydrogen -> fill up at station -> fuel cell -> battery -> motor

        Tesla:

        Power grid -> time to charge battery -> motor

        The problem with any pure electric vehicle at this moment is that batteries need to charge and that is something that a good portion of people can't afford to do. They want to stop at a station, fill up, and be on their way. Now the day when super capacitors, etc are working and you can charge your vehicle in a short amount of time comes around then sure, electric cars will be everywhere.

        However, for those of us that drive various miles each day and can't afford the possibility of running out of charge need a vehicle that can be refueled in a short amount of time. The Tesla is not that car (and yes, we all realize that). For a commuter car that goes from point a to point b, sure it's a great idea, but why build a tesla? Why not invest the time and money into an actual commuter car that people can afford instead of some "look how much I care car"?

        What TG did was wrong, yes, but none-the-less, it would have happened eventually, and they would have been pushing into the garage anyways. Doesn't make it right, but it shows the inherent issues with electric vehicles at this point and time.

        And this isn't a case for the FCX either. We are at a cost and technological point where major grounds need to be covered before any of these alternative fuels come to fruition. There is no "easy" button, no matter how much people wish.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "that's also more futuristic technology which still is being developed"

        Ah yes, the futuristic fuel cell first demonstrated in 1839 and later refined and used to get Apollo to the moon. And it's still stupidly expensive which is why you cannot buy a Clarity.

        Oddly the power generated by the fuel cell stack in the FCX is stored in a li-ion battery. Lets follow the flow of power to see how silly the FCX design is:

        power grid -> crack water for hydrogen -> fuel cell -> battery -> motor

        Here's the tesla:

        power grid->battery->motor

        Which one is more efficient? The FCX is a publicity stunt. That's why the lease them to celebrities.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ Ian

        If you watched the show, you may have remembered May clearly stating that the hydrogen is stripped from fossil fuels. While ideally the hydrogen would be split from water, this would take huge amounts of power not realistically feasible for the worlds population (not until the public opinion of nuclear power changes, anyways).

        The Clarity is not meant to be a practical car in today's world. But then again, neither is the Tesla. While you may call it a "publicity stunt," Honda is merely showing the world the outcomes of its R&D. So what if only celebrities can afford it? There was a time when microwaves were a luxury, too.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm wondering when anybody is going to mention the super car race they did with 4-5 cars filled with only 1 gallon of gas. Supposedly the ferrari ran out of gas after only 1.7 miles. That would mean that the Ferrari would need 32 gallons of fuel to match the Tesla's track range. I think that the R8 was the best with 5.5 miles to the gallon. That is still 10 gallons to match the Tesla. Of course, now that I think about it, that whole race could have been BS anyway.

      I think the Tesla would work for commuting and maybe a quick canyon ride. Does anybody really road trip in super cars. Mostly they are just for cruising the local area, and being "seen".
        • 6 Years Ago
        I believe they drained the lines dry in those cars, so no doubt parts of the gallon of gas each car got was still sitting in the fuel lines.

        Anyone remember the test of the Mustang GT500 where they dynoed it, and of course got less than 500 hp because it's a wheel dyno? They were ragging on the Mustang 'cause of course Jeremy thinks it's for hillbillies and made a point of it putting down less than 500 hp. They are masters of hyperbole, anyone that watches the show knows what to expect.
      • 6 Years Ago
      THEY DIDNT LIE. ITS LIKE ANY TV SHOW. THEY EDIT SCENES AND CHANGE THE ORDER THAT THEY HAPPENED. FOR THEM TO PUSH THE CAR TO SHOW WHAT WOULDVE HAPPENED DOESNT MEAN THAT THEY LIED ABOUT IT ONLY DOING 55 MILES. IT PROBLY DID DIE AFTER 55 MILES, BUT TO SHOW WHAT WOULDVE HAPPENED IF IT RAN OUT OF BATTERY, EITHER EARLIER OR BEFORE IT HAPPENED, THEY PROBLY FILMED THAT SCENE AND EDITED IT AFTER. TAHTS WHY BBC SAID "Top Gear stands by the findings in this film and is content that it offers a fair representation of the Tesla's performance on the day it was tested."
      • 6 Years Ago
      I've lost respect for Top Gear for doing such a retarded thing.
      Dragging a car through the mud just to make a 'show' really sucks, especially if it's coming from a small struggling company.

      F@#k Top Gear
        • 6 Years Ago
        Name one point that was false.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I thought the review was fairly favorable. Both car DID have tech issues and the charging claim was accurate for the length of time. So it did not run out of juice it would have at some point and then WOULD take 3.5 to 16 hours to charge.

        What part of that is untrue?

        The car ran fast handled ok but has some flaws. It is a brand new car company. Did you expect Honda quality right out the gate?
        • 6 Years Ago
        They didn't make any false statements, but their intent was to mislead the viewer. By many definitions, that's a lie. It's certainly not journalism.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's more capable because the people are also willing to do so...like in many parts of Germany where they are now becoming solar powered even though it costs more.

      In many ways, London is a far more modern city than most US cities. The same can be said for many European cities..they embrace modernization far more quickly and frequently...reason being that their vision is far more long term than most Americans.

      The willingness of people and their different lifestyles and outlooks plays a big role in how able a city is to changing and embracing new concepts.

      You will see far more development and acceptance to alternative energy concepts overseas than you will here in the states. We're behind in most things here by at least 5-10 years....except for weaponry.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Isn't it kind of pointless to say that London is a far more modern city than most US cities? Of course the crown jewel city of the UK is more modern than your average US city, but I could say Shanghai is more modern than most UK cities and that'd be true as well since most cities other than London aren't exactly hallmarks of cutting edge technology.
        New York is more "modern" than "most" Japanese cities, but that's also because once you exclude any country's top few cities the rest of them tend to be rather generic places. It's also more modern than "most" Chinese cities, but of course there's plenty of Chinese cities that are more modern than New York.
        What exactly makes London more modern than the very best American cities? It has the Underground for public transportation, but so do San Francisco, Boston, Washington DC, New York, etc. And quite frankly once you're outside of central London it's not particularly modern at all, the suburban parts of London look just like the suburban parts of just about any developed country in the world.
        • 6 Years Ago
        That's the general response I get when I hit a nerve regarding people who can identify themselves when reading my posts....it's all good.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I want to apologize for taking you seriously in your above post.

        You're clearly just a nutter.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Before they began, Top Gear had already made up their mind what the story was for this episode: There must be more to cars than batteries, and the answer was hydrogen. Then they got the footage they needed to tell the story.

      It was biased in that it gave plus and minus points for the Tesla, but all plus points to the Clarity. It can do 100MPH and have a range of 270 miles, but what's the range if it's thrashed around the track for an afternoon? And just how safe is hydrogen under pressure in a collision? I have no idea. It maybe *very* safe, but it's the first thing that came into my mind when watching the show, and no answer was forthcoming.

      The facts are that - right now - with a truckload of money, a Tesla Roadster can be driven anywhere that has a wall socket. The same cannot be said for the Clarity if you don't live in California.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If Top Gear wanted to prove that the battery could be drained on a track then that's what they should have done. It's both dishonest, and frankly, lazy. If the battery life is so short then why couldn't they actually do it? They've run other super cars out of gas/petrol on the track (or so they claim).

      If they wanted to label the Tesla Roadster as unreliable the one overheating would have been enough -- or did that even happen?

      Love the show, I get that it's entertainment, but this is different then just bending the facts to improve a punch line.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Are you honestly saying they should have filled the 1 hour show with miles upon miles of watching a Telsa go around in circles?

        And then what - oh look we need to charge it - for 16 hours?
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