• Apr 4, 2011
Tesla vs. Top Gear – Click above to view Top Gear's review after the jump

Tesla has gone to great lengths to publicize its libel suit against Top Gear for the program's 2008 review of the Tesla Roadster. The suit claims that TG's review of the car was rigged, and its assertion that the car doesn't work in the real world had been decided even before Clarkson drove the car.

Until now, there had been no response from the BBC or Top Gear, other than to say they would defend themselves. According to Top Gear producer Andy Wilman, it's their policy to hold back any comment until the matter goes to court. Since Tesla has been so vocal about the case, though, Wilman decided to issue a response.

Wilman responds to Tesla's claims that the show lied about the car's brakes being broken, that its range is only 55 miles and that an overheated motor immobilized the car. Top Gear says the 55-mile range claim came from Tesla engineers who studied data gathered from the car after the test day. Wilman stands by his show's claim that the brakes broke, saying a blown fuse in the vacuum pump made pedal effort abnormally high, and that Tesla wouldn't let them continue the test until the problem was solved.

Whatever side of the matter you stand on, the facts of the case will have to shake out in court. The only thing that seems certain at this point is that the case will likely be long and messy. Click past the jump to see Top Gear's original review and draw your own conclusions.

[Source: Top Gear]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 54 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      My best friend has a Tesla - he routinely drives it from Greenville SC - to - Charleston SC - which is 220 miles - on a single charge.
        • 3 Years Ago
        55 miles after flogging the crap out of the Tesla is still a decent range. 55miles for me means I can drive the car like I'm on a race track and still last 6 days on a charge. Yes I have a short commute but if you think I should be taking public transit then know that it would take 40 minutes by bus versus 7 minutes by car. Wish I could afford the Tesla...I could almost drive for a full month on a charge.

        • 3 Years Ago
        So he's flogging it like he would on a track day on that 220 mile trip?


        Doubtful. Just like a normal car, you're going to get different mileage depending on how you drive.

        http://webarchive.teslamotors.com/display_data.php?data_name=range_blog5

        That's tesla's OWN graph..... And as we know braking then high acceleration, braking, high acceleration, braking high acceleration is less efficient that driving at a constant speed.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Yes, but does he do it flat out? I think their point was if you drove the car hard like you would on their track, it would only last 55 miles.
        • 3 Years Ago
        For comparisons sake an Impreza WRX gets
        • 3 Years Ago
        How does he get home?
        • 3 Years Ago
        Only on Autoblog will you get downranked into oblivion for stating a fact.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Silenus Obviously you missed that day in grade nine where they corrected the fact that England isn't that cold in the winter, where the average temp is above 35 degrees.
        • 3 Years Ago
        How does it do on-track?
        • 3 Years Ago
        Courtroom summary:

        Tesla: "You're a big meanie head!"
        Clarkson: "You're a stinky poo-poo face!"

        Judge: *thwamp* "Case dismissed!"
        • 3 Years Ago
        Obviously you missed that day in grade six where they told you that batteries lose charge in cold weather. It's either that or you missed the day in grade eight where they taught you that England is a damn load colder than South Carolina.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I just re-watched this episode and I have to say I'm very surprised there's any controversy. It seems obvious to me that Tesla is using this for publicity.

        I'm surprised because it seemed pretty obvious to me that JC and TG actually like the Tesla.

        You can drive a Tesla at 65mph for 220 miles, but when you try to set lap times on the TG test track it only lasts 55 miles.
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's pretty clear to me that Clarksen tested the car on a track, then said it wasn't really good for the real world; no connection. That's like comparing apples to oranges.
      • 3 Years Ago
      It'd be far, far better if TG simply allowed Clarkson to explain things candidly to the audience, rather than some guy who's leashed by legal.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Tesla rates there cars for driving a normal 220 miles. Top Gear was doing track day driving. Don't you remember when Top Gear did the lap test with the super cars to see how far they would go on one gallon of gas driven hard. Most of them only did 1 mile per gallon.
        • 3 Years Ago
        The Ferrari as the thirstiest got 1.7mpg. All others got more, up to 5mpg more.

        Did you actually ever saw that "economy run"?
        • 3 Years Ago
        The supercar economy run, with the Ferrari 599GTB, Lamborghini Murcielago, Aston Martin DBS, Audi R8 and Mercedes McLaren SLR. Watch it here: http://tinyurl.com/nq6jcl

        The Audi economy run was good, too.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Which economy run? I like they one he did with the Audi A8 with the twin turbo Diesel that got 800 miles on a tank.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Yeah, that is pretty epic. Crazy to see how much fuel the cars really use when driven hard. They also did a track race against a M3 and a Prius and the M3 got better gas mileage. But, it is Top Gear there are way to many good stuff from them.
        If you want to find the videos for Top Gear easier try : http://www.streetfire.net/
      • 3 Years Ago
      well, top gear is full of crap - they are basically saying that Tesla said it would go 200 miles so it should do it on track...why? Elise with SC will get 5mpg on the track too, not 30mpg as in specs... so whats the big deal?

      half of their 10 minute report deals with this stupid crap about charing and how it would take forever to reach scotland with 55mile per chare, which is just crap.
      • 3 Years Ago
      tesla is begging to be bought out by ford or GM so theyre trying to get as much publicity as possible.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      • 3 Years Ago
      With JC's bias against electric cars plus the fact that other TV shows had no trouble with Tesla's range, I struggle to stand on BBC's side.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Can't we settle this on track with a 100-mile enduro splitting the difference between the claimed 200-mile range and 55-mile range, running against a Lotus Elise, and see how the car does.
        • 3 Years Ago
        It's not about comparing the Elise. It's about TG lying about Tesla's range. Personally I don't think tesla should even bother suing. Any publicity is good publicity. Unless they are asking for more....

        To anyone downrated my original statement. AB asked me about my opinion. There it is w/ reason. Don't believe me? Youtube it. Too much fact to handle? Grow UP.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Read Andy Williams letter. Its seems all valid and all makes sense.
      Especially the bit about testing it as a sports car on a track and the 55 miles.

      Pointless Tesla wasting time and money on this. Cry babies.
        • 3 Years Ago
        indeed, also it kinda gives negative image of Tesla Motors Inc. when they are doing that... (it literally makes them look like an idiots)
      • 3 Years Ago
      I seem to remember an episode a few years back where they ran some supercars around the track to see how far they could go on 1 gallon (imperial) at track speeds. At least one of the cars (it may have carried a prancing horse but I can't be sure) only managed 1 mile. Seems like 55 miles on a charge is quite realistic for the Tesla.
      IamXD
      • 3 Years Ago
      In other news, Dacia has annouced an electric version of the Sandero.
      • 3 Years Ago
      For comparisons sake an Impreza does about 9mpg on a track and has a 13 gallon (imperial) tank, so that's a range of 117 miles
        • 3 Years Ago
        The difference is that the Impreza refuels in minutes, rather than recharging for hours.
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