Tesla Suing The BBC over the very misleading Top Gear bias against the Roadster

Tesla Suing The BBC over the very misleading Top Gear bias against the Roadster

It is about time somebody took Clarkson et al to the cleaners regarding their stupid remarks and very biased program.

It beat the Elise hands down in a straight race and was even an early car from a very young Tesla.

Juicehead | 30 mars 2011

Top Gear is to driving like Stephen Colbert is to politics...

Unwad your panties and move on with your life!!!

This goes for Tesla as well...

Douglas3 | 30 mars 2011

Yeah but no one takes Colbert seriously. Unfortunately the same is not true for Clarkson.

Sudre | 30 mars 2011

The Colbert Report is NOT a true political news program!?
The next thing you are going to tell me is The Daily Show is a comedy.
Yah right and Fox News is fair and unbiased.

qwk | 30 mars 2011

It's about time. The BBC is nothing but lies reporting.

adkol2300 | 30 mars 2011

That episode was complete and utter bullshit! I don't understand why they're trying to show electric cars in a bad light towards the public, and the Tesla Roadster at that! It's the best of both worlds! Earth friendly and fast as hell!

Timo | 31 mars 2011

I stopped watching TG after that episode aired. Have been telling people that refer to that show that it is full of untruths and biased BS.

There is one a bit more serious car show "Fifth gear" that also tested Roadster. That one didn't give Roadster very high praises either, but it also didn't tell any lies about the car. They just concluded that it does not have a "supercar" performance that Tesla is saying, and I tend to agree with that statement, it lacks the top speed, performance in high speeds and cornering with that heavy mass is not good enough for the title "supercar". Certain X-factor crazyness is missing. It is a high performance sport car, but not supercar.

mintsauce | 31 mars 2011

Top Gear isn't meant to be a serious motoring program, it's an entertainment program.

Fact that the car didn't prove its self against a petrol car is a shame, but with no way of proving anything against Top Gear there is fcuk all that Tesla can do about it.

Tesla will get some publicity out of this though which is probably all they wanted.

cheap tricks Tesla.. tut tut...

Timo | 31 mars 2011

Roadster beat Lotus Elise (or was it Exige?) in that show.

If you read what this is all about is that TG plain out lied what this car can do. It was even predetermined in script before they had even driven the cars.

Cars "broke" down, which they didn't, Cars stopped running because they went out of charge which they didn't, car pushed to garage because it was supposedly out of charge when it had 20% of battery still left etc. etc.

That's like driving Bugatti Veyron and telling that it is less reliable than Trabant, and that you can only refill it using a pipette. Any car manufacturer would get angry about such "test drive".

About TG not being serious, tell it to people that take it seriously. Almost all car blogs I have been reading most people take these TG test drives very seriously. Other parts of the show are obviously just a show, but when it comes to testing people apparently expect that there is at least some truth behind what is happening. (of course only driver in show that actually had any skills to drive and really test cars was "The Stig", which later quit the job revealing his real identity partially because just this BBC TG bias against EV:s. Apparently he liked driving Roadster and didn't like at all the treatment it got in the show).

bigbumfartypants | 31 mars 2011

Surely it's up to the court dealing with any action to make a decision about what has gone on here?
Electric vehicles have advantages and so do petrol ones, I drive a large amount of miles for my work and could not as yet live with an electric car, it will benefit us all when the electrics can be charged much more speedily and go further.
One other area is if all petrol cars were off the road and we all used electric where would all the power come from, sometimes boasting about having an electric vehicle is just that, we do not have the infrastructure yet. Will we be building many more nuclear power stations to power the cars, I saw one estimate that we have to open a new power station every two weeks for the next twenty years to replace the energy we get from hydrocarbons, where are they going to be if when none of us will want one by us.
we have to find a way together, Clarkson said some good things about the tesla or has everyone missed this. I have not treated the 2008 show serious and we are not all going to believe everything clarkson says.
some of us have a mind of our own.

Timo | 31 mars 2011

Apparently plain out lying about things is no problem to you. It is to me.

As I said, they lied. A lot. Nearly everything about the car capabilities, except the acceleration which even they couldn't twist to something that it isn't.

As for "open a new power station every two weeks for the next twenty years to replace the energy we get from hydrocarbons" guess what uses a lot of electricity? Refineries.

EV:s do not use that much electricity. Also for many renewable energy sources are real alternative with the electric car. If they didn't have solar panels before they install such things for their cars.

bigbumfartypants | 31 mars 2011

Hey Timo youre getting into a position of insults and that just drives people into their corners. I am not against electric cars and will be happy to have one as soon as I can.
If you know the figures for how many new power stations are needed to replace all of our energy needs and its in reality its not huge then please let me know and I will stand corrected.
Getting too het up is similar to the argument that one car is more asthetic than another when it is down to personal disposition.
We need to agree to cut down on our carbon it seems so we need to be able to discuss things without personal insults.
No one really takes TG seriously.

Dan5 | 31 mars 2011

I completely disagree with your statement about building power plants, etc, etc. I just replaced a 40 year old (SEER 6 AC unit to a SEER 16)- one of my requirements to getting the Model S. The energy savings is more than enough to charge the Model S the 300 mile battery over 60 times a year. Not only that, it's actually better for the grid than an old AC unit (bulk draw verses slow steady power draw).
The other requirement was to get rid of a "gaming" tower computer and go with a netbook laptop (went from pulling 800-1200 Watts to about 100 Watts).
Think outside the box- heck, come 2013 incandescent lights are going away so that should save alot of energy too.
You know what is really going to overload the grid- computers. Think about the power needed. 5 years ago, a typical decent work computer had a 200 W or lower power supply. Just looked on a an electronics website, can't find any less than a 300 W power supply (and honestly I would not run Windows 7 on that, of anything less than a 450 W power supply- FYI rule of thumb is take a mid of the line gaming computer and divide power supply by half to get a decent work computer). 100 W more * 8 hrs * 5 days * 50 weeks*100 million people (probably more)= enough to charge over 50,000 300 mile Model Ss. And the kicker is, we as computer users do not see any real gain because of software bloat. (maybe a second here or there, but nothing substantial)

Sudre | 31 mars 2011

I did not quite understand the lawsuit until I read it. I did not know that Top Gear out right lied. I honestly thought the Roadster's brakes failed. I thought the car went dead after 55 miles of driving. I didn't see any reason for them to lie about it. After reading the entire claim I now realize that many of the statements were actually direct lies or at least seriously misleading.

At the time when I saw that episode of Top Gear on BBC America I decided NOT to purchase an electric vehicle because the tech just wasn't there yet. If Tesla couldn't do it who could? I figured it would need a few more years. I reserved the Model S because by the time production starts things should be better. As it turns out Top Gear lied and the car was probably perfectly fine to start with.
In all honesty I still may not have purchased one because I'm not a big sports car fan but I still may have test drove one.

Yes, Top Gear might be more of a comedy show but they always seemed to give reviews on vehicles in an honest altho exaggerated form. The Roadster was not an exaggerated review it was out right incorrect information.

Yes that's all my opinion.

Timo | 1 avril 2011

Those computer power supplies that are rated 400-500W don't actually use that much most of the time. I have 500W one in my computer and according to power meter computer actually draws only about 150W in ordinary use (AMD Athlon 2.something GHz , two high-speed disks RAID 0, CPU 100% usage nearly all of time because background scientific calculations).

Things like ovens, electric stoves, dishwashers etc. use a lot more energy than ordinary computer unless you use it to play those modern high definition graphics games and unless you keep it on all of time.

As for "new power station every two weeks for the next twenty years" if we assume 300MW power station that is 156GW = 3744GWh / day.

Model S energy consumption is about 300Wh/mile so average 40mile trip uses 12kWh. Now to estimate how many trips /day people combined actually drive, in which things get a bit difficult. 750million passenger cars in world, but not all of them are used every day, not even close. If we drop that to 1/3 we get 250million 40mile trips / day. That's 3000GWh / day.

So far that estimate of power plant / two weeks * 20 years looks good, but:

Refining one gallon of gasoline uses about 6kWh of electricity. If you have a 40mpg ICE car replaced with Model S that 3000GWh drops to half. If you replace 20mpg car it drops to zero.

bigbumfartypants | 1 avril 2011

Timo, Can you just tell me that if everyone switched tomorrow to electric that our present system of power supply would cope or if we need more supply how many power stations it would be?
By the way what method of generation of this electricity be produced?
Will wind power or wave power be enough?
Give me some real researched figures that are accurate.

By the way the plastic in the computer you are typing on is part of that hydrocarbon industry, how are we going to replace this, what materials and what impact will this have on the environment?

I would like to see all personal transport taken off the roads and we all have to use shared transport, I am serious when I say bring back trams, horses and turn our major road infrastructure into railways and power the trams, shared transport and trains by electric. The more effecient we are the less damage to the world

Are you willing to give up your Tesla and do the right thing by sharing transport and stopping global warming?

Who on earth has a 20mpg car in the present times!

Timo | 1 avril 2011

1) No it could not cope with overnight change. Grid energy demands would change too radically, some places would get too much, others too little. As for how many power plants, not necessarily any. I hope that big enough portion of EV-buyers also invest in green energy sources (solar mainly).

2) I don't care. Any source, even coal, is better than ICE cars for environment.

3) Maybe, but it would require quite a bit more of those than current amount, and I'm against wind power, it is not very effective and it causes local environmental damage. Sea waves would have more than enough energy, but extracting it is difficult. Geothermal where it is practical, solar (same), hydro (same) and nuclear are practical green choices

4) Google yourself. Nobody knows "accurate" figures.

5) There are methods of creating synthetic oils for places that need them, however in that particular use crude oil has its place. Plastics can be recycled and reused, and they don't ruin the atmosphere.

Also with 90% of passenger cars changed to EV:s rest could be powered by biofuels without ruining the planet.

6) Answer would be no, if I had Tesla EV.

7) Many. Unfortunately. Almost all ICE pickup trucks for example have about that or less.

Brian H | 1 avril 2011

OK with all the above, Timo, except: the biofuels thing, especially ethanol, is a murderous scam. Inevitable draw on the food supply chain, and prices are now double what they were a few years ago for many developing country staples. And some indirectly use more petro-fuel energy to cultivate and refine than they return! BAAAAD news, on steroids.

Don't sweat CO2; it's mankind's gift to plants, which had pretty much drained the supply. Warming isn't resulting, and the seas are steady, despite the BS from the IPCC et al. Economic suicide is unnecessary.

Tiebreaker | 1 avril 2011

Hi, folks.


bigbumfartypants seems to be just a detractor. No lenghty wattage discussion can obsfucate the fact that


Timo | 1 avril 2011

hmm... didn't realize how many OT messages there were. TG lied, there is no doubt about that, it is just plain fact. What remains to be seen what kind of compensation court rules, if any. 10$ / person that could have potentially seen the show would be nice.

@Brian H, our current gasolines have around 10% ethanol, if 90% of cars stop using gasoline completely that ethanol alone is enough to run the rest of the cars. No need to add biofuel production at all.

Tiebreaker | 1 avril 2011

The Morgan Stanley report on Tesla's stock sends a powerful message. A paradigm shift has happened (IMO last year), and there is no turning back. The EV are here to stay, and Tesla is the leader. The marketplace is accepting it: this is an investment house looking long-term, not a few rich enthusiasts with cash to spare. The investors already reacted positively.

The nay-sayers can still say "nay", but there is no turning back.

bigbumfartypants | 1 avril 2011

I may have drifted from the point, I am not a detractor.
I think still we should go further than electric vehicles when we can and walk, uses horses (would be a shock to me as well) etc.

As with the suing of TG the outcome is up to a court or are you saying we can side step lawful process and have a kangaroo court?

We need to learn from our past mistakes and know the facts about any vehicles before we start evangalising about them too much.
No one knowing the answer is folly

Brian H | 1 avril 2011

Timo, check out the effects of ethanol on engines. Not pretty. And it's a net energy loser; more in than out. Even The Clueless One, Gore, now admits pushing ethanol was a Big Boo-Boo.

Ethanol is for drinking! As pure as possible:

Timo | 1 avril 2011

Who cares about it being net energy loser? If there is a need for ICE vehicles ethanol and other biofuels work just fine. Pure ethanol has effects on current ICEngines , but they can be changed to use it as fuel pretty easily. There are also biodiesels and stuff like that.

Timo | 1 avril 2011

@bigbumfartypants, we have right to blame TG for being liars because that is what they did. Court has to rule what kind of compensation is in order, they do not need to rule whether or not the TG lie, that is obvious to everyone that knows the facts.

As for your suggestion to use horses, horse is a worse than EV for environment. Get a bicycle if you are worried about your environmental impact on "too long to walk, too short for a car" distances.

Tiebreaker | 1 avril 2011

Of course we need to know the facts of any new vehicle, good luck if we learn it from TG. As somebody said above "No one really takes TG seriously." (nudge nudge wink wink).

jayt | 1 avril 2011

Anyone who takes top gear seriously obviously knows nothing about vehicles. It just a entertaining show. Nothing they say should sway peoples decisions even a little. However hearing about companies taking others to court seems a bit childish. I would rather a company develop its name through build quality and proven real world results than to have to hear about them in the news suing someone. Congratulations on building a fine vehicle Tesla however you will not find me in one any time soon.
On a side note any published article regarding a product should be taken with "a grain of salt". I know many authors who write and distribute evaluation based articles, many who know near nothing about the items they write about, and are just throwing pretty words designed to grab the attention of the audience.

Tiebreaker | 1 avril 2011

Uh - I happened to know something about horses. Some of their drawbacks are limited range and long recharge time.

Tiebreaker | 1 avril 2011

Er... new is that Roadsters did more then 10 million miles, I think in the real world.

TheresaJ | 1 avril 2011

An episode of the popular automobile show “Top Gear” has brought on Tesla Motors to sue the BBC for libel. The electric car manufacturer alleges the show made detrimental and false claims during an episode which was intended to put the Tesla Roadster through its paces. The show's hosts are known for being provocative, which is part of the shows' notoriety. The British Broadcasting Corporation denies that Tesla was libeled in any way, shape or form. Here is the proof: BBC and Top Gear slapped with lawsuit by Tesla Motors

Timo | 2 avril 2011

@jayt, it doesn't matter if people take it seriously or not, lying is not acceptable.

Even I expected to get some hint of car capabilities from that show, not outright lies. Anyway enough people take it seriously enough that I need to set things straight almost every single time when someone mentions that show. People have some trust on the show, they believe that what they see is what really happens, and not utter BS, even that they exaggerate and argue about things.

When you next time look at the show don't believe anything they say. Nothing in that show is real.

Douglas3 | 2 avril 2011

Anyone who takes top gear seriously obviously knows nothing about vehicles.

Right, so that eliminates 5% of their viewing audience.

Timo | 2 avril 2011

Well said. :-)

Tiebreaker | 2 avril 2011

I see here the groundwork for BBCs "vigorous defense" is being laid: TG is just a show, nobody takes it seriously, a Monty Python off-shot, it is a sitcom, a comedy, a clown show.

Probably right. Still lied, calculated. My opinion.

Sudre | 2 avril 2011

I'd hate to break it to some here but if companies were allowed to just lie about the other companies product without any possibility of a lawsuit you would never see a new company. The large companies would just run ads with their barrels of money with complete lies about the new companies product. Politicians do it all the time because they rarely file law suits and look how the great American political system works... it doesn't.

It is not only about who purchases the car. It's about who buys the stock. Stock holders are not going to purchase stock in a car company that has a car which only gets 55 miles to a charge when they are claiming 200. Some people may be car geniuses but the majority of the stock holders think a car is a car and they run on hamsters. To add to that potential stock holders know that if the car did not only get 55 miles to the charge then the BBC would be forced to pull that statement along with the other false claims. I bet Tesla's stock has started going up big time now that the lawsuit is underway.

If the TG defenders here actually read the claims they would understand that Tesla did everything they could to get TG to pull the false claims before they took it to court. I know that some had God come down and tell them that Tesla was a good company. The rest of the world has to rely on information give to us by the company and other sources just in case the company is stretching the performance specs.

Alectric | 5 avril 2011

Ok... lets have a look here... with the actual quotes from the episode.

Specifically, Top Gear misrepresented that:

The Roadster ran out of charge and had to be pushed into the Top Gear hangar by 4 men.

Exactly what would happen IF you run out of charge (or fuel, which has happened to previous cars on their track as well). At no point did they say the Tesla ran out.

The Roadster’s true range is only 55 miles per charge (not 211). "we worked out on our track it would do just 55 miles" - anyone who takes a track consumption as real world consumption needs to go back to kindergarden.

One Roadster’s motor overheated and was completely immobilized as a result.
"oh i don't believe this, the motor is overheating and I've got reduced power" - and waited for it to cool down. That sounds familiar, what would anyone here do if their ICE vehicle overheated?? I know, stop and wait for it to cool down.

The other Roadster’s brakes were broken, rendering the car undriveable.
There was no mention of it being undrivable. It seems like a very real scenario where the car was taken to the "dealership" to get fixed up. And while Tesla might have been able to fix it quick as on their test track, I've never met a mechanic that does things immdiately in the "real world". (and before people say "oh i could replace it", I'm sure you could, but there are plenty
who can't)

That neither of the two Roadsters provided to Top Gear was available for test driving due to these problems.
huh? one was cooling down, one was getting a fuse replaced. Simple maths makes that 0 cars to drive.

I like Tesla's (I'm a nerd electrical engineer), but looking at that rationally Tesla will loose this. Hopefully this doesn't damage your reputation Tesla, but I think it already has.

unrepentant | 5 avril 2011

It's easy to dismiss TG as nothing more than the irrelevant ramblings of a second rate journalist and his sycophantic side kicks but that would be to underestimate the influence the programme has. Who knows whether TVR would still be around today if Clarkson and the Midget had not chosen for whatever petty personal reason they had to put the boot into what was a great new product, the Tuscan 2, just as the company was fighting for it's survival.

I hope that Tesla takes it all the way and gets an abject apology from the BBC and as a consequence the corporation exercises some element of editorial control in future, assuming that what is a very tired format has a future.

Timo | 5 avril 2011


1) exactly same happens to ICE cars (as you pointed out). No need to push car in garage "just to show what happens", especially when car still had around 20% of charge left.
2) motor did not overheat. Reduced power yes, but to prevent overheating, not because of overheating.
3) Brake did have fuse blown, which only required it to be replaced. Quick job for anyone who knows what they are doing.
4) Both cars never had problems at the same time. That was just a lie.

Alectric | 5 avril 2011


you miss the point on all occasions, or arguing something irrelevant.

1) Who cares if the actual car had 20% left? What are you going to do IF you DO run out of charge? (which is what Top Gear stated) You can't just walk down to the local service station and buy a can of petrol and walk back. Nope, you're pushing. Most people are not stupid enough to run out of petrol/charge, but it happens. (This is actually very relevant for a buyer such as myself cause a one way trip to my parents' place is about 500km. Turns out there is a good chance* I'd have to take an extended break along the way)

(*someone reported with conservative driving they got just over 300miles, close to 500km. Not helpful with lots of uphill on my drive)

2) Over heated or not, it reduced power to prevent it. I'm sure you'd like that happening on your favourite track day. Also: ICE cars can overheat, but since most people have nfi about electric cars it's appropriate to know it can happen to them too.

3) Most people do not know what they are doing, either that or they don't carry a spare fuse. Hell, most people can't even change a tire.

4) One was cooling, one was getting a brake fuse changed. That equals quiet time. Regardless, if I went and bought 2 Teslas, with a recharge period of 4 hours minimum, and a running time of 1 hour flat out (rough working on 55miles of charge), that leaves 2 hours of silence.

Timo | 5 avril 2011

1) So? If you are too far to get into nearest electric plug in limp mode you are majorly screwed, that just doesn't happen in real world unless you have IQ of a slug and ignore completely what your car is telling you.

Uphills are no problem to EV:s. You lose about 1kWh / 1000feet and regain around 60% of that back in downhill. (it's nearly directly the potential energy car gains, thanks to efficiency of the car).

However you probably won't like to drive quite that conservatively in your trip.

2) car didn't stop on track, which is what was shown. It was said that "engine is overheating" which was not true.

3) most people fixing cars do know what they are doing. Replacing a fuse is fast job, especially when car tells you that fuse is blown.

4) Both problems didn't happen at the same time. That was just a lie. Direct unquestionable lie.

qwk | 6 avril 2011

Also, you have a way better chance of being closer to an electrical outlet when low on energy than you do a gas station anywhere in the world.

morrispd | 6 avril 2011

Did Tesla Engineers tell Top Gear that based on the current hard driving on the track that the charge would Last 55 miles? If so I think they should grow some balls and withdraw their writ. I think it was overall a good review.

TG is a great show and anone that bases their purchases on Jeremy Clarksons personal on screen opinions is an Idiot, Tesla should be grateful of any exposure which is what this writ is actually about...

Tesla Sucks | 6 avril 2011
dsm363 | 6 avril 2011


1) I don't understand why they even had to show this. They were on a track with a known distance. Once the estimated range was only a few miles about the length of the track, all they had to do was drive it into the hanger (which they could have done anyway but they chose to show them pushing the car). Do they should them pushing other cars into the hanger to show what would have happened if they ran out of gas? I'm asking since I don't watch the show on a regular basis.

It seems to me that they don't like EVs and were looking to portray them in the most negative light possible. Is this car expensive? Sure it is but that doesn't me it isn't a great car.

Tiebreaker | 6 avril 2011

Hey "Tesla Sucks", your mommy is calling you, it is tome for your bath.

Timo | 6 avril 2011

@morrispd, if you think that was a good review you are buying the crap Jeremy Clarkson was pushing to the audience, IE. in your own words you are an idiot. Your words, not mine.

Jefelito5150 | 8 avril 2011

What a bunch of whiners... You make a $109,000 car, which by all American standards is over-priced and when a British program doesn't like it, you sue. Viva America! Land of the Lawsuit! Thanks for taking us even further back in the eyes of the world.

qwk | 8 avril 2011


So if some clown spread an untrue rumor in your town that you were a child molestor, which caused you to loose your job, you would act like it's no big deal?

morrispd | 9 avril 2011


Just continue insulting people all the way until tesla loose the lawsuit.

I like electric cars and despite everything written here the main issues that TG pointed out are

1. This car is very expensive (in comparison to ICE)
2. If you run out of charge no-one can bring you a spare battery so you are pushing.

If you watched TG every week you would see Jeremy Clarksons usual opinions of some of the worlds greatest cars are always ridiculous but entertaining, it is an entertainment show....

Tesla has got more publicity than it could have dreamed of from this, unfortunately for me it makes me think worse of tesla and I'm in the market for this kind of car. If Tesla had a real problem with the review why have they waited 3 years to complain about it...

PS Timo, my impression of you is you probably have a very small penis. discussion of this may make more worthwhile reading...

Timo | 9 avril 2011

1) Roadster has performance, quality and convenience of much more expensive ICE cars.
2) You don't run out of charge unless you are brainless idiot. Electricity is everywhere. You can park your car just about anywhere to get charge.

They tried to complain about it since program was broadcasted.

Your impression about me is also wrong. What else is there that you want to have wrong impression about?

Douglas3 | 9 avril 2011

They claim now that their complaint was the price, but in the show they say "it doesn't work".

Sounds to me like they're making excuses for their ridiculous conclusions.