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Tesla loses 'Top Gear' battle

2013-03-08 11:35

TOP GEAR OFF THE HOOK: Tesla has lost its legal battle against Top Gear. As the judge rightly pointed out, viewers would realise the show does not reflect the Roadster's actual range on normal roads.

LONDON, England - In 2011 we reported that battery-car company Tesla was pursuing legal action against Top Gear and the BBC for claiming that the road range of its Roadster was exagerated.

Tesla said the show misrepresented the Roadster when presenter Jeremy Clarkson said it ran out of battery power after 88km on the show’s test track, far short of the 320km range claimed by Tesla.

Clarkson said during the episode: "Although Tesla says it will do 321km, we worked out that on our track it would run out after just 88km and if it does run out, it is not a quick job to charge it up again."

Clarkson and his team were shown pushing the Roadster into the Top Gear hangar and recharging it.

'GROSSLY MISLED PURCHASERS'

Now Tesla, after months of legal tussling since 2011, has lost its court battle. California-based Tesla was seeking to overturn an earlier dismissal of its claim for libel and damages against the show, arguing it had lost sales in Britain as a result of the report.

Tesla argued that Clarkson's comments were defamatory because they had "intentionally or recklessly grossly misled potential purchasers".

Appeals Court judge Martin Moore-Bick disagreed; he said the comments did not libel Tesla. He said viewers would recognise that Top Gear's high-speed track testing was different to the average driver.

Moore-Bick said: "It would be obvious to a reasonable viewer that the range derived from track testing was not in any meaningful sense the car's 'true range'."

He also dismissed Tesla's claim for lost sales, saying it was "quite unrealistic" to argue that its failure to sell an additional 200 vehicles in the UK was entirely due to the show's unfavourable review.

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