Tesla Roadster Top Gear Lawsuit Thrown Out

Tesla Roadster Top Gear Lawsuit Thrown Out

Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson is paid to piss you off, it’s what he does best. Maybe someone should have forwarded the memo to Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk.

Musk probably should have taken Top Gear’s pot shots with a laugh and kept doing business, but it’s easy to understand why he might be feeling defensive. His company keeps hitting nasty potholes in the road to success, like the “bricking” problem that apparently compromises the battery system in Tesla vehicles, a costly repair.

This Top Gear drama started back to December 2008 when the show gave a mixed review to the Tesla Roadster. Their program said the car failed to meet its advertised 200-mile range, instead only achieving 55 miles. That figure came from running it on a track where any vehicle would have less than optimal range, electric or otherwise. They also bashed the Roadster for having deficient brakes.

Brakes and range aside, it’s essential to remember that Top Gear is first and foremost an entertainment program. The episode depicted crew members pushing a “dead” roadster into a hangar, though the facts emerged during Tesla’s lawsuit. Surprise, surprise, the car wasn’t dead and the shot was used for effect.

This isn’t terribly dissimilar to the infamous Bugatti Veyron versus McLaren F1 drag race episode, where the show managed to eek out a Veyron victory, only after several F1 first-place finishes. Again, Top Gear is for show first, reporting second.

British Justice Tugendhat threw Tesla’s claims out in October, 2011, saying the company’s lawyers needed to amend their malicious falsehood claims.

The final chapter, (one would assume), in this one-way pissing match closed today. Justice Tugendhat dismissed Tesla’s revised claim which said there were “reasonable grounds to suspect that each of the Claimants [Top Gear] had intentionally and significantly misrepresented the range of the Roadster by claiming that it had a range of about 200 miles in that its true range on the Top Gear track was only 55 miles”.

Hopefully Tesla can move past this cat fight and focus more on the bricking issue at hand. Small car startups have enough problems without taking British TV bullies to court.

Check out Tesla CEO Elon Musk discussing the Top Gear episode in the video after the jump.

[Source: The Truth About Cars]

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  • Danny Tse

    Jeremy Clarkson is a moron.

  • J. Clarkson

    Is that you Elon? Don’t you have a PR disaster on your hands right now?

  • Mike

    You mean the bricking issue that is due to negligent maintenance on part of the owners? Stop with the FUD. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/the-tesla-roadster-bricking-story-details-deconstructed/

  • Noe

    Top gear is partially funny

    A tesla is incredibly boring

    (m)Elon Musk is a brick (head)

  • George

    Seems Top Gear aren’t the only ones being forthright. In the episode Clarkson never says the brakes are deficient. He does imply that they are very reactive to pressure, in fact. And yes they beat the crap out of their cars, but the Tesla looked very good and Clarkson implied as much with his impression of the superior performance. The lap time put right up there with the Porsche 911. What more do you guys want?

  • vigorousatheist

    It’s the range thing that’s the problem. And it’s the fact that topgear specifically said that the cars broke down, when they didn’t. Elon musk (the founder of Tesla) said that anytime he went to any investor gatherings in europe, question after question would be about “why the car broke down on topgear”. It’s not just about feelings, topgear’s lies actually hurt the investor opportunities of Tesla.

  • D. Harrower

    By the sound of it, what this comes down to is your sense of humor.  Somebody at the BBC obviously thought this would be an entertaining bit to pull. Maybe they were trying to get a bit political (the show regularly features vehicles that get less than 55 miles out of a tank of GAS!).  It’s really only an issue at all because Tesla is a startup and any bad publicity can seriously hurt their potential investment/sales opportunities.  If it was any other company, I’d be telling them to just suck it up.

    Top Gear is an immensely popular show and many people (wrongly) take their word as fact.  In my case, I knew the show was parody and satire, but didn’t realize they would actually go so far as to choose to misrepresent facts about a car for entertainment.  I didn’t even know about this lawsuit until today.

  • Top Gear writes script after it has done its review. The script is for presentation/shooting based on results they ve found while reviewing.

  • Ferdinand

    ELON might gain some credibility if he were to allow independent testing of his vehicles. But the TOP GEAR catastrophe and the NY Times criticism indicate that the cars fail miserably in the real world. Bad brakes, excessive tire wear, failure to achieve anywhere near the claimed range,….this could all be settled by some believable independent testing. He seems to have no faith in the ability of his cars to perform well.

  • campcamp

    so it broke down during their review…BEFORE they got the car?

  • ravi Thapa

    They reflected what happened during the real life testing!

  • CowGoesMoo

    I own a Model S. Exactly as advertised.