• Dec 25, 2008
Click above to watch Top Gear's review of the Tesla Roadster after the jump

Extending the controversy between Tesla Motors and Top Gear even further, Jeremy Clarkson has offered his own opinion regarding the issues of the Roadster's battery capacity and brake failure while being run 'round the Top Gear test track. Remember that the BBC already admitted that neither of its test cars actually ran out of juice, suggesting that the scene was filmed to show what would happen if it actually had. Clarkson's comments don't quite jive with that assessment, though, as he says, "We never said once that the car had run out of power. The car had to be pushed into the warehouse because you are not allowed to drive cars into a building. We calculated that it would have run out of power after 53 miles but they can't argue with that because that is a fact."

One area on which we agree with Clarkson is that it doesn't matter why the Roadster's brakes failed. Clarkson says, "Nobody gives a flying **** how the brakes failed. Whether it was a blown fuse or not, they were still not working." On the other hand, whether the now infamous scene of the electric car being pushed into a garage was to show what would happen in the event of a drained battery or because Clarkson wasn't allowed to drive it into the building (seriously, when did that ever stop them?), that image is now indelibly etched into the minds of Top Gear fans, for better or for worse. Thanks for the tip, Doug!

[Source: Telegraph]


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  • 45 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Lets be realistic here.
      Who the hell is hopping in a 2 seater tesla roadster and driving more than 250 miles at once?
      Sure isn't the car i'd drive from NJ to florida. It's no suv or 4 door sedan.

      Look at the car for what it is.
      A fun sports car that you don't need to put any gas in, ever. The car accomplishes exactly what it was built for.

      So you tool around in it on sunny days, and when you get home, you plug it in. I'd seriously doubt anyone is driving a $100,000 2 seater sports car more than 250 miles at a clip. No different than a ferrari or lambo. Some of you guys talk like you are going to pack the family up in it, and head on vacation.

      There was no point in clarkson engineering the whole "out of charge" scenerio, since it's unlikely anyone is going to drive that far in one day anyway.




        Koenigsegg
        • 5 Months Ago
        250 miles is literally unlimited for a day of driving, i dont even drive 40 miles a day
      • 6 Years Ago
      Jeremy is still the man. no matter what.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Clarkson is a personality. Frankly, I like alot he has to say as well as the flow of his video reviews. But, when he spits unnescessary venom at certain cars or pushes his point of view, many people are turned off by it.

        For example, he talks about how bad American cars are when driving the SRT8. I totally disagree with him. I love the steering and I love the interior for its time - especially considering the low cost.

        He always praises Italian cars and claims the Phantom was rubbish because it was engineered byu the Germans. Isn't that a little xenophobic?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Flashpoint,

        I have no idea what you are going on about, Clarkson admitted himself that the Phantom is an excellent car and that he would love to own one and the only reason he doesn't have one is because his wife would never allow him to purchase one.
      • 6 Years Ago
      2 things.

      1.) Top Gear is an entertainment show, so footage is shot and scripts are written to provide entertainment value.

      2.) Tesla was probably shocked to see ANYTHING negative, because they have been accustomed to being the darlings of the press for so long. The fact that the brakes failed is an automatic FAILURE for ANY car, regardless electric, gas or diesel.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's not like Top Gear had any real credibility with their reviews anyways.
      • 6 Years Ago
      #1 horse beats a v6 mustang in a race.
      #2 gt500 only makes 430 or hp.
      #3 Jeremy fills the ford Gt 3 or 4 more times than a a zonda or the f430.
      #4 the m3 beats the Prius in fuel economy
      #5 the tesla review

      Those are some misleading reviews that i remember. I just know that top gear is just a show, that is suppose to entertaining, and fun and it is.

      I love top gear with is biases and all. Top Gear its still the best automotive show in the world period.
        • 6 Years Ago
        If you were driving on a highway only, it is possible to get cloooossse to the same mileage as a prius. You could in a c5 corvette: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtPwnsyGTxw . . . . of course he's shifting at 2k and trying reeeeal hard. Still got 30.4mpg as opposed to prius' 39.4.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @Sherief

        yeah but don't expect to buy an m3 and expect to get the same mileage as a Prius. And this was what Jeremy led to believe by saying that it was the way you drive a car that affects your mileage.
        • 6 Years Ago
        For the record, my agreement is with arturo (didn't realize so many people replied to his comment and put me on the second page).

        And tankdog,
        Not much more to say other than you're a moron.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @tankdog

        You are either ignorant, a new born, or you just have not seen top gear episodes like I have, and that is probably why you have no idea of what I said in my comment. I come to the conclusion that some people do believe everything that top gear shows as a fact. I hope consumers are not as stupid as you.
        • 6 Years Ago
        There was no problem with the M3 vs Prius segment. Clarkson was illustrating that improving "fuel economy" is as much about your driving behavior as it is whatever you drive. M3 vs Prius is simply an extreme example of this.

        Clarkson said as much a minute after this segment was shown.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Sorry for my spelling, this computer has no Firefox (I am at granny's house in a rusty computer). One more thing. I don't think its Tesla making this a big deal, I saw a comment by a Tesla executive that was not negative at all, they even agree that if you wanted the best out of a Tesla to buy 2, just like Jeremy mention during the program.
        • 6 Years Ago
        #1 horse beats most things off the line
        #2 you thought it put down 500hp? Sucker!
        #3 I have no idea wtf you are trying to say here
        #4 On a track, running at the Prius's top speed. Any idiot would have guessed a practically idling M3 gets better economy than a wound out Prius.
        #5 The Tesla does run out of juice when he said it does, it does take as long to charge as he said it does, it does handle like a pregant ape the way he showed it does. It does out drag an Elise in a straight line which is about all it's good for. They should have stuck a Mustang body on it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I am by no means a hippie greenie type, but seriously wasn't it just one episode earlier they had a chase through a mall with a focus and corvette?
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'm sure that if we were to study UKs BS laws, we'd find the difference between driving into a building or not. But two things to keep in mind which a lot of STUPID people have NOT mentioned:

        1) What would have been the total mileage driven had the Tesla been completely run out of juice?
        2) Brakes failed - that's all there is to it. When this story initially broke, why didn't anyone say what Clarkson just mentioned, which is, if end result is a brake failure, what difference does it make what the culprit was?!

        So I really don't see how TG or Clarkson somehow intentionally manipulated the scene here. It is absolutely moronic to suggest that it's their prejudice against electric cars that led to this, or that TG is purely an entertainment show which is not to be trusted. People are just really really really pathetically dumb.

        Tesla has no credibility, they lie and manipulate, and then manipulate some more. They fired the only people at the top who really cared about the project, and did not want to release an unfinished, far from perfect car onto the market.

        They sued Fisker because of him supposedly stealing technology, they tried to maintain the halo of "We're #1 getting to the market" and embarrassingly lost in courts. Now they have a 92k electric powered Elise, and no one is interested in buying it other than the thick skulled celebrities like George Clooney.

        Damn it, but people are dumb, and not just on this, but stupidity is prevailing. Almost like living in that "Idiocracy" movie.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I would you falsely represent the Tesla running out of power, all they need to do is drive it a mere 53 miles if that's what they expect (should be a trivial undertaking considering what else they do on the show). If it lasts longer or shorter they can report it like they really should, no need to lie or fake it.

        Also, why push it into a building and present that like a failure on the vehicle's part when in fact it wasn't. You could easily explain it or edit the scene out.

        This whole TopGear-Gate just shows how staged the show is. All the show is just fake theatrics, storylines written up just to fool the audience into thinking things are more dramatic then they really are.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It's a Fiesta actually, not Focus
        • 6 Years Ago
        Perhaps they are not allowed to drive into that hangar because it contains fuel? The BBC does not own the "Top Gear Base", they merely rent space at Dunsfold Park which is an operational airfield and business park.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Either way, I think Tesla got what millions of dollars would not do. I am happy to see a lot of green people defend this car. I hope to see hybrid and electric car sells to go up. I also agree with Jay Leno from the tonight show. He thinks gas powered cars are to become what horses are now. They would be "a fun sport for the enthusiast"
        • 6 Years Ago
        @tankpuppy
        I said nothing about him driving a Tesla. learn to read please.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Remember that a partly drained battery would take some performance and make it endurance, a car going at 30 miles/hour can go far on a kw/h of energy -give the Tesla's a real 100 mile range! Well, U want to go around in testdrive speeds and burnouts, charge every hour? When U replace your pack in a Tesla, it'll have nearly twice the range in normal driving conditions - tell about the real facts of a growing gastank in the near future of electric cars!!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Regular cars run out of gas, and gets pushed to the gas station or the side of the road. Why cant a battery car?...
        • 6 Years Ago
        With a gas car, you can bring a can of gas and refill it and keep going to the next petrol station. Refill in 5 minutes and do up to 1000 miles. With an electric car, you cannot do that. Need to plug it, at least for 16 hours if output is not adapted, to run the car for 240 miles.
        I can see a huge difference
      • 6 Years Ago
      I drove into the hangar in September. We were trying to escape one of the heavier downpours when I was there with with the Caterham owner's group. There must have been twenty cars inside. Only thing we were told: "Don't touch the XJ220."

      http://flickr.com/photos/24352521@N06/sets/72157607147969497/
      • 6 Years Ago
      JC is a gunslinger and when "found out" he shoots again. That's what people expect and like about him and his show. It does mean however that some scenarios are rigged and some comments are deliberately, shall we say, "controversial". It's done for journalistic effect. If you're a small manufacturer, making the most amazing electrical car on the face of the planet, it could well be annoying.
      JC should even things out, by doing a feature on how battery technology is slowly improving, and how future improvements will positively affect electric cars.
      Fairs, fair.
      • 6 Years Ago
      These things are waste of your time guys. Autoblog is just keeping this coming because they got lots of hits and this thing has died already. Imo i believe this dosen't have anything else to do than some of you Americans feel left alone by TG.

      1. On the episode where they where trying to find the best road in the world, Lambo Murcielago ran out of gas and they didn't get the tank lid to open first and Jeremy of course shouting that that was the only thing Italians where let to do. Haven't yet to hear 1 complain about it.
      2. Telsa by them self haven't attacked against TG. Letter Tesla sent(if any of you have actually read it) was not accousing TG or blaiming them to be liars.
      3. Fuse did blow up and brakes did broke down said even by Teslas PR. No matter what the reason was, BRAKES BROKE DOWN.
      4. Tesla got biggest advertisment it have ever had because of TG that's one of the biggest TV shows ever(estimated 350 million viewers) and BY FAR biggest car show.
      5. After the Tesla segment Jeremy said that he is sure that the car will get much better when it's actually out and more reliable. No matter what you think for now it seems that there's still much of a beta feel on Tesla.

      Really i can't believe the minority who are complaining have actually watched any other TG episode or any other segment than just this. This isn't anything compared to what seen before on TG. Only things making this different is that it's American and electric car that makes some of you so touchy. That all said i'm feeling some of you partly because example James would have made this better review than what it was by Jeremy. Thought Jeremy did point up some of the errors in Tesla that should be talked also and not getting this car get past just because it's electric car and good looking, it must be great. Tesla is still some away from the "perfect" electric car and not to even talk about the futures car.
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