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It’s On: Tesla Sues BBC’s Top Gear

Posted in News, Scandal, Tesla, Top Gear by Kurt Ernst | March 31st, 2011 | 7 Responses |

Just in case you’ve never seen the BBC television series Top Gear, I’ll summarize it for you: Jeremy Clarkson, the primary host and stand up comic, hates anything that’s battery powered, hybrid powered or diesel powered. He also hates anything from America and most things from Germany, yet he rarely finds fault with anything made in the United Kingdom. His love for Range Rover borders on the absurd, especially when he routinely slams American cars as being prone to electrical component failure. Mr. Pot, I do believe you’re calling Mr. Kettle black. It should come as no surprise, then, that Jeremy Clarkson panned the Tesla Roadster during a segment taped in 2009. After all, the car is built in America (based on a Lotus Elise platform) and powered by batteries, not gas.

Tesla has been after the BBC for months, trying to get them to pull the Top Gear episode from syndication without response. The California based automaker claims that Top Gear’s findings are both fraudulent and malicious, and yesterday filed suit against Top Gear and the BBC. Tesla contends that the events depicted in the show (such as a roadster running out of charge on the track, after just 55 miles) aren’t supported by the car’s on-board data loggers. In other words, Tesla claims that the review was scripted to meet an agenda, and was not conducted in an unbiased and impartial manner. Since customers continue to question Tesla about the Top Gear segment, it’s obvious that it’s had an impact on Tesla’s business and earnings.

Tesla isn’t seeking punitive or compensatory damages from the BBC, but simply wants the offending episode taken out of syndication. They’re also requesting that Top Gear broadcast a follow up and correction to set the record straight, but I can’t see that happening unless a court says, “make it so”.

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