Tesla's Top Gear case stalls

2011-10-21 09:39

Earlier we reported electric automaker Tesla had taken legal action against the BBC’s hit motoring show Top Gear for misrepresentation.

Tesla claimed that the show misrepresented its electric Roadster when presenter Jeremy Clarkson claimed it ran out of charge after 88km on the show’s test track, far short of the 320km range claimed by Tesla. Now it seems Tesla has lost the first round of its court battle against the BBC.

Mr Justice Tugendhat said during a ruling at the London High Court that Top Gear viewers would have reasonably compared the Roadster’s performance during the episode to its likely performance on a public road.

The BBC says that the entire claim should be dismissed.


Judge Tugendhat added: "In my judgment, the words complained of are wholly incapable of conveying any meaning at all to the effect that the claimant (Tesla) misled anyone.

"This is because there is a contrast between the style of driving and the nature of the track as compared with the conditions on a public road are so great that no reasonable person could understand that the performance on the (Top Gear) track is capable of a direct comparison with a public road."

The hearing continues as Tesla claims that the Top Gear presenters maliciously made other false statements about the Roadster, including a blown fuse presented as brake failure and that the vehicle was unable to start as a result of overheating.

Tesla’s main gripe regarding the Top Gear episode stemmed from the perceived damage to its reputation.

Tugendhat reserved judgment on Tesla's 'malicious falsehood' claim and will rule on the case within the next few weeks.

  • robbie.crouch - 2011-10-21 11:09

    Electric cars are rubbish!

      Ernst - 2011-10-21 11:53

      Have you driven one?

      Frikkie - 2011-10-21 16:15

      If I wanted an electric car, I'd buy a scaelextric set

  • Klaus - 2011-10-21 23:22

    How can anybody take a "Test" by Clarkson on any car serious? It's a comedy show!

      John - 2011-10-23 12:10

      Some people does not know this. It is perceived as a motor show, and tests are done. When it makes "fun" of other peoples products, to whit the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Roadster, it is not a borderline. People regard it as true, or 80% of them. Then funny is not funny anymore.

  • James - 2011-10-22 14:26

    Chev Volt not selling in the US. Range about 100 miles then you are left with a 80 HP engine pulling a 4000 lb car.

      John - 2011-10-23 12:05

      @James. It is always better to know the facts before opening your mouth. People might get to know the level of your intelligence.

  • Ian - 2011-10-23 20:45

    "percieved"? What happened to "i before e, except after c? Serious lack of proof readers.

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