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Tesla Sues BBC's Top Gear For Libel

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the release-the-stig dept.

Television 547

thecarchik writes "About two years ago BBC's Top Gear aired a test drive of the then relatively new Tesla Roadster. In the particular episode, Tesla Roadsters are depicted as suffering several critical 'breakdowns' during track driving. Host Jeremy Clarkson concludes the episode by saying that in the real world the Roadster 'doesn't seem to work.' Tesla claims that the breakdowns were staged, making most of Top Gear's remarks about the Roadster untrue. Tesla also states that it can prove Top Gear's tests were falsified due to the recordings of its cars' onboard data-loggers. What's Tesla asking for in the lawsuit? Tesla simply wants Top Gear to stop rebroadcasting the particular episode and to correct the record."

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Swarovski outlet (-1, Offtopic)

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I hate CHINKS, GOOKS, and SLANT EYE SPAMMERS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674424)

Did we not use enough napalm on you fucking slants the first time around?

How many tons of napalm is it going to take for you to stop spamming this website?

Re:I hate CHINKS, GOOKS, and SLANT EYE SPAMMERS (1, Offtopic)

aiht (1017790) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674468)

All spammers are Vietnamese, now? Wtf?

FIRST LAWSUIT! (4, Insightful)

Chas (5144) | more than 3 years ago | (#35673958)

This may or may not be an uphill battle for them.

Under track conditions (with one of those jackasses pushing the pedal to the floor), yeah, the mileage on the Tesla is probably going to be atrocious.

As for the rest, not sure who exactly takes Top Gear seriously. It's a fun show, but I don't really look at it for good car facts. Nor should anyone else.

Re:FIRST LAWSUIT! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674008)

Agreed it is a great fun show not to be taken too seriously. I missed a lot of the earlier episodes because the high-speed action scenes didn't seem to render well using OpenGL. Since upgrading to DirectX 11 I'm back to enjoying this great show, I've noticed the color reproduction of Direct X is much more accurate as well.

Re:FIRST LAWSUIT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674066)

Agreed it is a great fun show not to be taken too seriously. I missed a lot of the earlier episodes because the high-speed action scenes didn't seem to render well using OpenGL. Since upgrading to DirectX 11 I'm back to enjoying this great show, I've noticed the color reproduction of Direct X is much more accurate as well.

Wait, what are we talking about?

Re:FIRST LAWSUIT! (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674114)

this is our MS troll again

Re:FIRST LAWSUIT! (0, Offtopic)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674240)

Yea, I downloaded DirectX once and not only did it give me terrible performance and poor rendering, but it loaded a backdoor on my computer which was used for cyber attacks. It also stole my credit card information. Once I loaded OpenGL everything was fixed and is now working like a charm!

Re:FIRST LAWSUIT! (1)

aiht (1017790) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674482)

Tesla was a genius. Edison however was a overrated hack who liked to torture puppies.

Appropriate sig is appropriate!

Tesla really was a genius.

Re:FIRST LAWSUIT! (2)

mekkab (133181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674034)

You mean that greyhound (top speed:45mph) didn't really beat a car?!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VM8ArZ3o8qE [youtube.com] , for those who missed it.

Don't tell that to my sweet rescued "needle nosed" hound, it'll hurt his pride!

Re:FIRST LAWSUIT! (3, Insightful)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674264)

an extremely narrow track covered in very loose dirt, and you don't think a car would have significant trouble getting to any speed and keeping it?

i think the dog winning that race is a lot more likely than you believe it to be -- i'm honestly a bit impressed he didn't lose it around one of those corners

Re:FIRST LAWSUIT! (1)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674428)

Completely plausible for a short race on a dirt track. Certainly, the dog would have no chance on a paved track, but the car is at a huge disadvantage on the dirt.

Re:FIRST LAWSUIT! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674284)

Your considering the pompous, bigoted remarks of that self-impressed asshole Clarkson to be a "fun show" validates my declining opinion of Americans.

Re:FIRST LAWSUIT! (1)

black3d (1648913) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674348)

Jeremy Clarkson is awesome. So is Simon Cowell.

Re:FIRST LAWSUIT! (1)

aiht (1017790) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674500)

I'm not American, I have no interest in cars and even I enjoy watching it. Purely because of the presenters.
Sometimes they really are arseholes to each other, though...

Re:FIRST LAWSUIT! (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674302)

Top Gear was one of my favorite shows but this made me rethink that. I at first excused the poor mileage as being the difference between flat out and simply driving fast. Remember super cars will drain their tanks in under 20 minutes flat out. Hearing it was all scripting before the cars were even delivered brings into question every single car test they ever did. I Know Clarkson hates electric, I was a massive Clarkson fan until this report, but stacking the deck to get the results you want makes everything you do questionable. I agree the show is mostly entertainment but you expect the car tests to have some legitimacy. I always thought British reality series were "more" real than US ones but I have my doubts now. This was a low blow and for the first time today I found myself changing the channel when a Top Gear rerun came on BBC strictly because of this story. They should have admitted the scripting and revised the episode for reruns. Top Gear no longer has any credibility. It's a funny show but the car tests are completely meaningless and if I continue watching next season I'm likely to mute the car test portions. They screwed up bad!

Re:FIRST LAWSUIT! (3, Insightful)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674390)

Top Gear is the Fox News of the automotive "journalism" world. Strictly for laughs, and for right-tighties to get validation for their beliefs. Only a fool would expect any degree of impartiality from these clowns.

Finally, a reasonable lawsuit (5, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#35673960)

Between all the quadrillion-dollars-demanded-lawsuits and shut-down-everything C&Ds, it's nice to see a lawsuit that simply wants a little justice. No big demands, just a "stop lying about our product" and "say sorry". It even looks like they have a good amount of evidence, unlike many recent suits on /.

Even if they turn out to be wrong, Tesla just got a small point of favor with me for that. It's kind of sad that "not being evil" is noteworthy in a lawsuit nowadays...

Re:Finally, a reasonable lawsuit (1, Informative)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674042)

No big demands, just a "stop lying about our product" and "say sorry"

The lawyers for Tesla most likely don't watch Top Gear. If they did, they would know about the episode where Clarkson drove a Prius and ranted about how epically slow it was - something along the lines of "it would be useless as a milk delivery vehicle because all your milk would be bad before you reached the first house". Oddly enough, Toyota did not sue over that one.

That said, Tesla is a US company, and Top Gear Is produced by BBC in the UK. So I'm not sure there is much hope for this lawsuit to accomplish anything anyways.

Re:Finally, a reasonable lawsuit (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674252)

Tesla is a US company

Their European HQ is in the UK, so they're probably a registered company there too.

Re:Finally, a reasonable lawsuit (5, Insightful)

jcombel (1557059) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674260)

being in a different country doesn't have much of a matter on it. it wouldn't even if tesla didn't market their cars in the UK - which they do.

on your first point, apples and oranges. the prius bit was obvious comic exaggeration stating an opinion. the tesla bit isn't comic exaggeration, it is an alleged misrepresentation of facts. it wasn't the lawyers that decided whether or not to sue; it was the sales executives who got tired of hearing "the most-watched automobile program in the world said that your car breaks down, doesn't do what you're telling me it does, and the technology isn't up to real-world use. who is lying?"

i agree with gp; it's nice to see a lawsuit that is "you are lying and costing me money, please stop," instead of "your product bears a similarity to my product, so now i have to sue you for godzilla dollars, lest i lose my patents."

Re:Finally, a reasonable lawsuit (1)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674296)

Yeah, except BBC also is showing the show in the US....

Re:Finally, a reasonable lawsuit (3, Insightful)

Sanity (1431) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674490)

That said, Tesla is a US company, and Top Gear Is produced by BBC in the UK. So I'm not sure there is much hope for this lawsuit to accomplish anything anyways.

I'm guessing you haven't heard much about British libel laws.

Re:Finally, a reasonable lawsuit (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674182)

Suppression of a bad review by lawsuit is reasonable?

Re:Finally, a reasonable lawsuit (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674200)

"This car sucks" is different from "this car broke down twice while we were testing it", when the latter didn't even happen.

Re:Finally, a reasonable lawsuit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674258)

Well except it did suck and it did break down while testing it.

Re:Finally, a reasonable lawsuit (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674358)

Did it? That's what the purpose of having a trial is. Finding out the facts. Tesla claims they have strong evidence that there was no breakdown. We'll find out in court.

Re:Finally, a reasonable lawsuit (2)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674396)

Tesla thinks they can prove it didn't. So, assuming they actually have the proof they claim to, then the claim that the car broke down twice is a lie. And I agree, if it's a lie, then that's libel, and I think their request for damages is perfectly reasonable, pull the episode containing the lies off the air forever, and pay about as much as 2 or 3 Tesla's cost in damages.

Re:Finally, a reasonable lawsuit (4, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674430)

"bad" is not equivalent to "factually incorrect"

Re:Finally, a reasonable lawsuit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674466)

So they would definitely go to court if the review said "The car performs above and beyond the call of duty, and is faster than an F-15," then? Or not? Because if they wouldn't...

Re:Finally, a reasonable lawsuit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674472)

I know, I know, reading the article is hard and I shouldn't expect anyone to do it. But they are claiming that Top Gear staged fake breakdowns and power losses to make the car look bad. A bad review is one thing, making up problems to make the product look bad is another. A major difference being that one is libel.

Re:Finally, a reasonable lawsuit (1)

codegen (103601) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674514)

Suppression of a bad review by lawsuit is reasonable?

Depends on if they have the evidence that the review was fake. A factual bad review is ok and suppression by lawsuit would be less than reasonable. A bad review based on incorrect, or even worse, contrived facts should be suppressed, or at the least corrected. In 1992, Dateline NBC aired a program about explosions in GM pickup truck side saddle tanks.They couldn't get one to explode on camera, so they added some pyrotechnics, and were caught when they video was analyzed. If Tesla has the evidence, Top Gear is meat.

Re:Finally, a reasonable lawsuit (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674530)

What makes their information more trustworthy than the review?

...and pay £100,000 (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35673984)

Tesla simply wants Top Gear to stop rebroadcasting the particular episode and to correct the record ...and pay them £100,000 in damages

Fixed that for you!

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/mar/30/tesla-sue-top-gear [guardian.co.uk]

Re:...and pay £100,000 (1)

TheABomb (180342) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674058)

The firm expects to recover not more than £100,000 in damages.

In the race with a petrol-powered Lotus Elise, the £87,000 electric car was shown having to stop for a recharge

In Soviet Slashdot, that fixes for you!

There's a big difference between "wants them to" and "expects to get less than". I don't know the details of the Beeb's accounting, but it wouldn't surprise me if they got the car free for what Tesla expected would be a fair review and exposure. That'd be nearly 9/10 of the damages sought right there.

Re:...and pay £100,000 (2)

snkiz (1786676) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674142)

Tesla simply wants Top Gear to stop rebroadcasting the particular episode and to correct the record ...The firm expects to recover not more than £100,000 in damages

Fixed that for you!

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/mar/30/tesla-sue-top-gear [guardian.co.uk]

Fixed that for you! The guardian doesn't say £100,000, it says "up to" In fact the claim lists exactly what the OP says it does and the "value" is not more than £100,000. But nice try.

Re:...and pay £100,000 (1)

joaommp (685612) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674204)

£100,000 in damages, considering the typical amounts for this kind of lawsuits nowadays, as well as the type of companies involved, is hardly a dime. It's somewhere along the street value of the car. Are they just charging them for the Tesla they used?

Some say that he lives in a tree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35673996)

and that his sweat can be used to clean precious metals... all we know is, he's called the Stig.

Some people don't understand entertainment (0)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674002)

Top Gear is entertainment. You don't generally watch Top Gear for information, as the vast majority of cars that get time on there are well beyond what >99% of drivers can ever reasonably expect to purchase in their lifetime. Rather, you watch Top Gear because it is entertaining. You can see them driving cars you will likely never get to drive, often in ways that you would never get to drive them.

That said, Tesla recently entered some kind of agreement with Toyota, IIRC. Being as Toyota is known to be a company with no personality - or at the very least a company who makes cars with no personality - it is no surprise that now Tesla has no sense of humor or entertainment.

Thankfully Tesla doesn't have much to loose on the matter, since there is almost no overlap between Top Gear viewers and potential Tesla customers. For that matter, there is also almost no overlap between slashdot readers and potential Tesla customers, either.

Re:Some people don't understand entertainment (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674076)

Tell that to all the people who decline to buy a Tesla because of what they saw on Top Gear...

Re:Some people don't understand entertainment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674110)

And all those people are who? Oh yeah, you can't actually quantify it.

Re:Some people don't understand entertainment (2)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674124)

Tell that to all the people who decline to buy a Tesla because of what they saw on Top Gear...

Very few Top Gear viewers have that much disposable income, desire for an all-electric two-seater, and would accept without question what they saw on Top Gear. After all, the Tesla Roadster is a very unique car on today's market; if you wanted one and then changed your mind you would not be able to get a comparable vehicle from Toyota, Ford, Honda, etc ... Or even any of the premium brands for that matter because there is no other two-seater all-electric roadster for sale in the US today.

Re:Some people don't understand entertainment (2)

Aqualung812 (959532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674436)

Very few Top Gear viewers have that much disposable income, desire for an all-electric two-seater, and would accept without question what they saw on Top Gear.

You have the statement reversed. It doesn't matter what the average Top Gear viewer is likely to do. What matters is how likely the average Tesla buyer is to watch Top Gear.

Not everyone that buys a Tesla is looking for only an all-electric two-seater. I've talked to a few people that are in the market for a two-seat sports car in that price range, but they're not sure the Tesla is ready for prime time since it is so new.

If they're on the fence and see that episode, they're likely to go ahead an buy the Porsche, Lotus, etc..

Re:Some people don't understand entertainment (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674198)

Any one that watches top gear would have never considered a tesla in the first place considering that you could buy 3 lotus elise's (the car the testa is based on) for the price of one tesla.

Re:Some people don't understand entertainment (3, Insightful)

MaXintosh (159753) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674078)

Topgear is entertainment mixed with factual information. The problem is that the two aren't clearly delineated. Are the challenges scripted as hell? Yes. But other segments can be far more ambiguous. Apparently, I'm crazy for thinking the power-laps and the car reviews weren't scripted in advance, and any problems that crop up legitimately crop up. What Tesla is alleging is no matter how wonderful the car was, Top Gear was going to say it broke. To me, as a viewer, it was definitely not clear the Tesla review was entertainment and not factual.

That said, I still like Top Gear. I'm just going to be way more skeptical about anything they say about a car, ever. Maybe the Morris Marinas is a great car, afterall.

Re:Some people don't understand entertainment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674106)

No shit. They review cars that aren't even and never will be in production, compare/contrast £135,000 sports cars, and then go plow snow in Norway on a combine for fun. If you're taking this shit seriously you are the biggest buffoon.... in the woooorld.

Re:Some people don't understand entertainment (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674184)

No shit. They review cars that aren't even and never will be in production, compare/contrast £135,000 sports cars, and then go plow snow in Norway on a combine for fun. If you're taking this shit seriously you are the biggest buffoon.... in the woooorld.

That said, I love watching Top Gear. My DVR usually has at least 6 recorded episodes on it at any given time. For me it may be the single most entertaining show on TV. But I sure as hell wouldn't buy (or pass on) a car simply on what they say about it. I have enjoyed the hell out of cars that they hate; and may never get a chance to drive most of the cars they love.

Re:Some people don't understand entertainment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674340)

No doubt about it, I agree with you 100%. Top Gear is quality entertainment. Great presenters, hilarious challenges. Getting the Baby Stig a DS in Jerusalem for the Christmas special was gold.

Re:Some people don't understand entertainment (0)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674116)

Thankfully Tesla doesn't have much to loose on the matter, since there is almost no overlap between Top Gear viewers and potential Tesla customers. For that matter, there is also almost no overlap between slashdot readers and potential Tesla customers, either.

Considering they have 0 market share, nor do they seem interested in producing cars... I would say that statistically speaking there is no overlap between potential Tesla customers and the human race.

Re:Some people don't understand entertainment (1)

ynp7 (1786468) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674262)

No interest in producing cars? What do you suppose those car-shaped things in their dealership are? I hope they're candy!

Re:Some people don't understand entertainment (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674318)

What do you suppose those car-shaped things in their dealership are?

Overpriced Power Wheels (TM)?

Re:Some people don't understand entertainment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674330)

The cake is a lie.

http://www.teslamotors.com/blog/we-have-begun-regular-production-tesla-roadster
Dated March 2008

Re:Some people don't understand entertainment (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674316)

Untrue!

Our money overlaps with their interests. And, apparently, their interests overlap with our government.

I sure wish I could make a shit-tastic car that nobody would buy for anything other than a showroom piece and then get a few hundred mil from uncle sam.

Re:Some people don't understand entertainment (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674174)

considering in TFA they talk of having to constantly answer questions of potential customers that were raised in that very episode...

Re:Some people don't understand entertainment (5, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674176)

Top Gear is entertainment.

Entertainment or not, when you claim that a car broke down a lot and it turns out you were lying about it, there's a problem.

We see a lot of this "Oh, we don't have any responsibility because we're entertainment used to excuse a lot of really reprehensible stuff. Whenever some right-wing turd makes fun of a handicapped person or says something really racist or homophobic, it's always "oh we're entertainment" but then they turn around and tell their viewers how they're serious journalists (I've got a list if you really need examples).

You don't get to have a show that gives opinions about products and then say those products broke when they didn't break, no matter how much "fun" you're having.

Re:Some people don't understand entertainment (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674282)

You don't get to have a show that gives opinions about products and then say those products broke when they didn't break, no matter how much "fun" you're having.

However, Top Gear doesn't sell itself as a source for information. Hell for a while BBC America was comparing it to Jackass in their own commercials. I'm pretty sure there aren't many people who make purchasing or lifestyle decisions based on Jackass, so why should a niche car manufacturer be worried about people making purchasing or lifestyle decisions based on Top Gear? The likelihood that anyone who watches Top Gear without realizing it is for entertainment purposes would have the money for a Tesla Roadster is almost certainly zero.

And you do realize that none of the main hosts actually have any qualifications to be automotive testers, right? Clarkson is an experienced journalist who barely knows how to use a ratchet. May has a degree in music who needed almost an hour to change plugs and oil on a rear-mounted V8, and is also known as "Captain Slow". Hamster was a radio host and is so short he almost needs pedal extensions to drive a Porsche. Really you'd probably be almost as wise to take dental advice from them as to take car purchasing advice.

Re:Some people don't understand entertainment (1)

lysdexia (897) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674426)

I make all my bowling ball-and-athletic cup purchases based on Johnny Knoxville's advice.

Re:Some people don't understand entertainment (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674320)

(I've got a list if you really need examples).

A citation quality list would be a really good thing to have.
Sometimes you run into a dittohead or similarly brainwashed person who is just at the right place in their life where a little demonstration of their idol's hypocrisy is enough to open their eyes. It worked for Paul Haggis [telegraph.co.uk] - director and writer of movies like Crash and Million Dollar Baby. 35 years under their spell but he was finally ready to see the truth.

Re:Some people don't understand entertainment (4, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674518)

It worked for Paul Haggis

That New Yorker article about Haggis and his changing views of CoS is a hell of a story. There's something about a person who has been buffaloed, flim-flammed, scammed and fleeced finally opening his eyes that makes for a very compelling read.

Re:Some people don't understand entertainment (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674254)

But when they do review 'everyman' cars, they do a great job. Now I know I can drive a Fiesta off of a Royal Marine landing craft on to a beach with a contingent of Royal Marines in the back seat. But seriously, when they do review an average car, it is a good job.

Now if we could get English Top Gear in Canada on one of the channels that aren't in the added price category that would be great. Unfortunately all we are going to get is the American knock off. Hooray! [/end sarcasm]. Crap.

Re:Some people don't understand entertainment (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674334)

Now if we could get English Top Gear in Canada on one of the channels that aren't in the added price category that would be great.

If it makes you feel any better I have to pay extra in the US to get BBC America, which is the only way I can watch the UK version of Top Gear. And for that matter we still have never seen any of the episodes with the Black Stig...

Link to original article: (-1, Troll)

h4rr4rr (2030214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674014)

Read more here [freeblogspot.org]

Re:Link to original article: (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674088)

How old are you? 14? Can't you come up with anything new? You must be around 14 because that about the only age range that is still amused by Tub Girl.

Re:Link to original article: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674412)

Yeah, tubgirl is not even shocking anymore. These need to be renewed. They are merely "meh images" now.

Home Delivery (4, Funny)

Dr Black Adder (1764714) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674020)

I think Tesla should drive over and deliver the lawsuit to Top Gear in person. Or perhaps they have tried already.....

Re:Home Delivery (2)

Gr33nJ3ll0 (1367543) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674164)

It's a bit difficult, no matter what google maps tells you, to drive from the US to the UK, even if your car is powered by a permanent nuclear reactor or something! :)

Re:Home Delivery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674372)

LOL. Take an idiot trying to make a joke about how electric cars don't work and point out he's a jackass. Awesome.

All Top Gear is FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674022)

Is there anyone on the planet that hasn't realised that Top Gear (UK) is just for entertainment purposes and not a serious car review. They come up with so much crap that the show is more in the realm of fiction than reality.

TOP GEAR == cheap entertaintment, NOT facts (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674024)

Top Gear is for me the same as Jerry Springer. No real facts, three British pompous as*** belittling whatever they feel like (especially everything that is not British).
Do people from Tesla think that anyone takes Top Gear reviews seriously?

It didn't break down, it ran out of power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674040)

Tesla probably doesn't want to go that route, because truth is an absolute defense against libel (except in Massachusetts).

And the Roadster wasn't shown having technical problems, it was shown running out of power. They were using the thing on the track and running it at high speed. It ran out of power part way through.

And then they realized it would take 18 hours to recharge. So instead they switched to the other car to test that.

And it ran out of power fairly shortly afterwards.

They estimated that on the track it got something like 50 miles to a charge. They never argued about its performance in the hands of a hyper-miler, only that the Tesla Roadster's 200 mile range was something that no one would ever be able to obtain on the track, when driving it like one would, say, a roadster [wikipedia.org] .

The whole thing about the car not working in the real world is about that 18 hour charge time for a measly 50 miles on the track. Which is, frankly, pathetic.

So while Tesla might be able to argue that driven conservatively on city streets they get a better range, that has absolutely nothing to do with comparing it other, well, roadsters.

Re:It didn't break down, it ran out of power (5, Informative)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674136)

Both Tesla cars given for testing did NOT ever get below 20% charge.

And the onboard data loggers and battery charge indicators (plus a capacity check after the fact,) will show all of that.

No wonder you posted as AC.

Re:It didn't break down, it ran out of power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674218)

And do tell us what did Tesla do to the cars before it given to topgear to test. Whats cells are in those two test cars? What warnings are disabled for topgear?

Re:It didn't break down, it ran out of power (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674304)

they arent supposed to get below 20% charge you idiot. the battery pack runs from 20-80%. 20% is when the car displays an out of charge warning like your gas gauge light. any reasonable person would then stop the car to recharge instead of running it bone dry and having it towed.

Re:It didn't break down, it ran out of power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674270)

One of the cars didn't run out of charge, the brake system failed. Tesla claimed that it was something simple (blown fuse I think) and Top Gear was making it worse than it really was. I'm not sure I care; Tesla supplied 2 cars for a test to a highly popular show and one failed to work, if they can't provide test cars that work, why should I trust the retail ones?

And the math was spot on for the recharge. How many people have the wiring in their garage to pump the amps that Tesla claims you need to recharge the thing in 4 hours?

Tesla sent this same complaint to Top Gear after it aired. It sounded like them being a whiney bitch then and it still does.

Re:It didn't break down, it ran out of power (3, Insightful)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674362)

One of the cars didn't run out of charge, the brake system failed. Tesla claimed that it was something simple (blown fuse I think) and Top Gear was making it worse than it really was

You know, I don't think it really matters if the problem was a junebug on the windshield if it made the frigging brakes fail.

Or, as Big Mike, my old wrench-monkey buddy put it: when prioritizing motorcycle problems: "Go" is optional. "Stop" is mandatory.

I think that fits just dandy for cages, too.

Re:It didn't break down, it ran out of power (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674492)

They were using the thing on the track and running it at high speed. It ran out of power part way through.

Except the log on the car's computer says it didn't. Are you going to believe a show that everybody says should not be taken seriously or evidence?

I remember that episode.. (5, Interesting)

ElScorcho (115780) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674060)

It irritated me at the time.. they made the thing seem like a poorly-designed money sink that barely worked. It really makes me wonder, though, what would they get out of saying stuff like that if it weren't true? If Tesla has the records and they really did stage breakdowns and dead batteries, to what purpose? It's a show about ridiculously expensive cars that most of us ill never even see, much less drive. Tesla is definitely in that category, and considering the drooling they do over some pretty ridiculous (and ugly) cars.. why pick on them? They made plausible claims, mostly, but the one where they ran out of power after 55 miles I thought was weird. The others (overheating, brakes) could have happened, but there seemed to be a LOT of problems for what is basically a straight-from-the-factory Lotus with an electric drivetrain. (In the show they raced it against a Lotus, you can barely tell the cars apart without looking at the badges).

Anyway, just makes me wonder if they made it seem like crap (assuming Tesla is telling the truth) in order to appease the old-school dream car companies so they'd keep sending them toys to play with, or maybe Tesla was being a pain in the ass and they wanted to tweak them, or if they just thought it's be funnier.

Re:I remember that episode.. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674156)

Or it could be that Clarkson has such a big stick up his ass about "ecomentalists" that Top Gear will bash anything that doesn't burn fossil fuels, even if that thing is a sports car.

Re:I remember that episode.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674216)

They bashed the Hummer quite a bit, and nothing says fossil fuel burning like a Hummer.

Re:I remember that episode.. (4, Interesting)

WhitetailKitten (866108) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674272)

Clarkson cultivates (at least on-screen) a hatred for electric cars and the entire eco movement as a whole. Never mind RVs and campers (or, in the UK, caravans). His entire media persona is a cranky outspoken old fart. Sort of like a militant, half-senile Ron Paul if you moved him out of politics and into entertainment-based car shows.

Whether or not Tesla is entitled to damages or other concessions from Top Gear/the BBC, I don't know why on Earth they expected a fair review from the show. They obviously didn't watch many episodes before deciding to lend Top Gear a car to trial.

Re:I remember that episode.. (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674410)

They do tend to make fun of a lot of cars and have had gags with cars breaking down. Some bits are obviously staged. The show is a mix between an auto-review show and a comedy. So it sounds plausible to me that they blurred the line between the two a bit too much in this case.

Personally I just fast forward through the auto bits to get to the parts where the hosts do something stupid.

Re:I remember that episode.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674474)

Chevrolet still has that vaporware of an electric car...

(googles)

Oh, it's actually shipping now? Well, it wasn't back then.

this will be fun (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674062)

don't they get it? Clarkson is going to lambast them now, anyone who has ever complained to that show has been ridiculed for months

I watched that episode and Tesla didn't "get it" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674074)

Jeremy Clarkson was testing the Tesla roadster and did mention the problem with the short range and long recharge cycles.

What Tesla failed to "get" is that Jeremy was testing the car and commenting on what would happen to someone who bought one. Not two. It really doesn't matter if on that day at that track Top Gear had two cars and could play with one while the other recharged. The problem is that I/you/us probably wouldn't buy two of those and we would get stuck waiting for the damn car to recharge.

That's all. BBC is right to defend itself.

Also, since this is the net picked up the story, two things are guaranteed:

1. Top Gear ratings (this episode in particular, but the show in general) will go way up.

2. Streisand effect will work against Tesla big time.

episode link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674096)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DfHyGD7_pM

California company is acting. What a surprise. (2)

Alien Being (18488) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674108)

Staged? Top Gear always stages things. How else could they compare a Ferrari to a bicycle or a jet plane to a car. It's entertainment, folks. If Tesla thinks that Top Gear unfairly cost them sales then they are just plain stupid.

I watched that episode. IMO they showed the strengths and weaknesses of the car. The idiot, Clarkson, claiming that 55 miles of pedal-to-the-metal driving is "real world" is no more ludicrous than Tesla claiming that their roadster is a competitive sports car.

That Tesla CEO douchebag should just take his lumps and go racing if he thinks he thinks he has the car for it.

Re:California company is acting. What a surprise. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674246)

The idiot, Clarkson, claiming that 55 miles of pedal-to-the-metal driving is "real world" is no more ludicrous than Tesla claiming that their roadster is a competitive sports car.

Fairly sure clarkson never claimed that, he did claim (correctly) that a real world problem is that it would take days (given 16hour charge time and ~200 mile range) to cross the country.

I don't see much happening with this (3)

oracleguy01 (1381327) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674112)

This isn't the first group that has gotten upset at Top Gear. They have a pretty long list [wikipedia.org] . The BBC goes to bat for them almost without fail, not surprising since the show has an estimated viewing audience of 350 million worldwide.

It also should be noted that in the episode in question, they also feature a test drive of the Honda FCX Clarity, Honda's hydrogen powered car. And they liked it a lot.

Truth Hurts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674128)

Electric cars just plain suck. They are to expensive and impractical.

This Case Is Going Nowhere (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674160)

It is clear from the episode that they were highlighting the issue of charging. 16 hours from a wall socket and a 200 mile range. As noted, it would take days to go from one end of the country to another.

It is a fact therefore, that the car does not really work in any practical sense.

It could only be corrected, by having pre-charged battery packs at every filling station along the route. That would make it just as, or more, expensive than petrol.

Re:This Case Is Going Nowhere (3, Insightful)

dougmc (70836) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674458)

It is clear from the episode that they were highlighting the issue of charging. 16 hours from a wall socket and a 200 mile range. As noted, it would take days to go from one end of the country to another.

It is a fact therefore, that the car does not really work in any practical sense.

I would disagree. Such a car works, in a practical sense -- just not for crossing the country.

If you never drive more than 100 miles a day and go home every night and recharge ... it sounds like the car works in a very practical sense.

But you wouldn't use it to drive 3000 miles any more than you'd use it to haul eight kids to a soccer game. (It also sounds like you wouldn't use it on a race track for any race over 40 miles, but most sports cars never make it to a race track either so that's probably fine.)

Whatever happened to no publicity is bad publicity (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674250)

Tesla is about to learn a very hard lesson about Top Gear. Just from a clout standpoint...they've got to *think* real hard about this move. Top Gear has more clout in the auto industry than anything short of gasoline. Bugatti/Audi/VW/etc let all three hosts drive the Veyron and even Captain Slow took the thing to 250+ mph on a $2millionUSD(to buy)/$5millionUSD(to build, they take a huge loss) car. You don't do that with people-with-no-influence, no matter how good their insurers are. Top Gear also regularly rakes much bigger auto manufacturers over the coals when they don't play by Clarkson's rules.

In a recent episode, Bentley (iirc) refused to lend a car for a road test segment Top Gear did in Albania. In it's place they bought a dirt old Yugo for probably on the low side of $500 and proceeded to call it a Bentley for the rest of the segment, piling on withering criticism the entire time. Chrysler refused to provide a test vehicle for a trip to Bonneville, so Top Gear just went and *bought one* (charger)....and proceeded to make fun of Dodge the rest of the show.

Tesla is about to find out what it's like to be the heckler in a club with a good comedian. Think Ru Paul v. Milton Berle. Are they gonna get high fives from their buddies or is Don Rickles about to tear this company a new asshole?

Re:Whatever happened to no publicity is bad public (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674352)

Yeap I'm betting they do one of there epic races from the south of Italy to the north of England against the Tesla to show how long it would take everytime they have to beg for electricity when the battery dies.

That's part of the show! (1)

AnonymmousCoward (2026904) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674312)

This is one of my favorite shows of all time, and I think that is partly because of the idiotic and insensitive nature of the hosts. It is entertaining because they are not afraid to make fun of each other or anyone else on the show; and they certainly never hesitate to point out their own perceived shortcomings of certain vehicles. Without being able to do this freely, the show would certainly be far less amusing.

Why is Top Gear so against electric? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674378)

I hate how Top Gear is so against ANY electric or hybrid car. Yes, some hybrid and electric cars are weak, but that doesn't mean they all are. Good hybrid cars are often better then their gas counterparts in turns of performance. And if you've ever seen a Tesla, it's a kick-ass car!

Re:Why is Top Gear so against electric? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674434)

When they make a hybrid or electric worthy of Top Gear's Praise they will praise it.

Two years later... (4, Informative)

locust (6639) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674418)

So here's what clarkson had to say at the time. From the times online [timesonline.co.uk] :


Phone calls were made. Editorial policy wallahs were consulted. Experts were called in. No “i” was left undotted. No “t” was left uncrossed. No stone remained unturned in our quest for truth and decency.

Tesla could not complain about what was shown because it was there. And here’s the strange thing. It didn’t. But someone did. Loudly and to every newspaper in the world.
..

This was weird. Tesla, when contacted by reporters, gave its account of what happened and it was exactly the same as ours. It explained that the brakes had stopped working because of a blown fuse and didn’t question at all our claim that the car would have run out of electricity after 55 miles.

You would figure that if these claims were so outrageous, tesla would have contradicted them at the time.

top gear is worthless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674462)

top gear is worthless anyway ... they just advertise for whoever pays them the most ... or in this case advertise against alternative fuel cars because someone with interests in petroleum paid em to. that show is nothing but a glorified op-ad

Its like jackass with cars (1)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 3 years ago | (#35674510)

The subject pretty much sums it up.

Except Top Gear is entertaining, at least the Brit version. The US version is more like Jackass, i.e. a bunch of annoying shit-kickers. And yes even the Tanner seems to have turned into a shit-kicker; I guess it was the time he spent as a stunt driver on the Dukes of Hazard.

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