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High Court Rules In Favor of Top Gear Over Tesla Remarks

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the we-all-win-when-top-gear-wins dept.

The Courts 328

esocid writes "In 2008, BBC's 'Top Gear' aired an episode featuring the Tesla Roadster. One of the show's car reviewers, Jeremy Clarkson, gave a less-than-flattering analysis of the vehicle, sparking a legal case with the automaker that doesn't seem to be working out in Tesla's favor. Now, it looks as though Tesla is losing this battle after a full-day hearing yesterday at the high court in London. '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,' said [Mr. Justice] Tugendhat. '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 now continues on Tesla's claim that 'Top Gear' made five other false accusations about the Roadster. Tugendhat has postponed judgment on Tesla's malicious falsehood claim, and is expected to deliver a verdict in the coming weeks."

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Tesla (2, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | about 3 years ago | (#37784200)

Don't seem to realise that Top Gear is a comedy show.

Re:Tesla (5, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | about 3 years ago | (#37784256)

Don't seem to realise that Top Gear is a comedy show.

Top Gear allows us nobody/poor sods the vicarious thrill of watching a sports car race a fighter jet. I for one praise them for it.

Re:Tesla (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#37784418)

Top Gear is great, but it also shoulders the blame for the creation of Top Gear USA. To make up for that we need more good segments and less reviews of normalish cars.

Re:Tesla (2)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 3 years ago | (#37784962)

What the hell is wrong with Top Gear USA?

Top Gear UK sucked until oh, season 4. At Season 2 they're doing much better than TG UK was doing at S4. Plus I really do like Adam and Rutledge. I've warmed up to Tanner, but...

Re:Tesla (1)

digitig (1056110) | about 3 years ago | (#37785066)

What the hell is wrong with Top Gear USA?

Top Gear UK sucked until oh, season 4

That would be about 1980? I think you have to come to something far more recent.

Re:Tesla (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37785266)

What the hell is wrong with Top Gear USA?

Top Gear UK sucked until oh, season 4

That would be about 1980? I think you have to come to something far more recent.

More like 2003ish. BBC series are typically only 6 episodes long, and they run several series per year. That's why they call them series instead of seasons.

Re:Tesla (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about 3 years ago | (#37785394)

Top Gear was usually nearer ten episodes per series/season, and it first started in the late seventies, which is probably the source of some confusion here.

Re:Tesla (1)

rrossman2 (844318) | about 3 years ago | (#37785650)

The old top gear yes, but it was more a car review show than anything. The modern show is nothing like the old show

Re:Tesla (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37785348)

What the hell is wrong with Top Gear USA?

It's a show of three douche-bags driving cars doing attempting to be funny or, at least, entertaining and usually failing.

Re:Tesla (2, Informative)

recrudescence (1383489) | about 3 years ago | (#37784286)

Don't seem to realise that Top Gear is a comedy show.

Yes, but you don't seem to realise that the Brits take their humour *very* seriously.

Re:Tesla (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37784680)

Brits take their humour *very* seriously

You would think that John Cleese killing Graham Chapman in that knife fight would have made that clear to the world.

Re:Tesla (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37784902)

Do we? I suppose that explains why I find Two and a Half Men unwatchable, detest Friends and shun most of what Seth Macfarlane puts out. Toilet humour and double entendres do not good comedy make, especially if they're just dropped in for no good reason.

Re:Tesla (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37785400)

Do we? I suppose that explains why I find Two and a Half Men unwatchable, detest Friends and shun most of what Seth Macfarlane puts out. Toilet humour and double entendres do not good comedy make, especially if they're just dropped in for no good reason.

Seems like ur a bit uptight for your own good.
I don't like scatlogical humor either but if you
think that is ALL Seth is putting out, you got your
blinders on too tight. South Park now, yeah, my
g/f just tried to get me to watch it again... with the
promise "it's better", first minute and a half, fart
sounds. I told her, previewing might have helped
your cause. I like their political stuff but when they
go so base, I just can't rationalize putting up with it.

-@|

Re:Tesla (1)

sqldr (838964) | about 3 years ago | (#37785642)

Two and a Half Men

yup..

Friends

amen

most of what Seth Macfarlane puts out

WHOA HORSEY... Family Guy rocks!!

Re:Tesla (1, Insightful)

blair1q (305137) | about 3 years ago | (#37784354)

Nor do many of its viewers.

Re:Tesla (2, Funny)

Anaerin (905998) | about 3 years ago | (#37784362)

Really? Because they've been nominated for, and won, several BAFTAs in the "Factual" sections.

Re:Tesla (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37785440)

Qi is a comedy show too...

Re:Tesla (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37785668)

They've won, and accepted, those, then joked about the irony on the show.

Sounds like the trial is a comedy, too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37785676)

With all due respect to Mr. Justice Tugendhat: was Sir Topenhat not available to rule that day?

Beeb, are you listening?

Somebody who is... (2)

theVarangian (1948970) | about 3 years ago | (#37784218)

... high up in the food-chain at Telsa Motors should read this wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect [wikipedia.org]

Re:Somebody who is... (3, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | about 3 years ago | (#37784348)

... high up in the food-chain at Telsa Motors should read this wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect [wikipedia.org]

Indeed. They are in great danger of making Jeremy an authority on the weaknesses of their product.

Anyone remember how poorly Chevrolet handled a minor handling problem with the Corvair and virtually made Ralph Nader?

*knock* *knock* Hi, History here, I'm repeating!! Hello?!? Anyone home?

Re:Somebody who is... (2)

coolgeek (140561) | about 3 years ago | (#37785050)

Streisand Effect, somewhat. I think this will be called the Tesla Effect, which will be known as a sure fire method to alienate any media outlets that might seek to promote your products.

What Tesla doesn't get is Marketing (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 3 years ago | (#37784230)

So Jeremy said some unflattering things - take those and use them the make improvements, or at least perceived improvements.

Buick made a car, about 25 years ago that had buckets of power but handled like a cow - they still sold them out. How? General Motors appealed to the emotions and egos of would-be drivers, not their rational minds.

Tesla would do well to take a page from that book. Their car doesn't need to be perfect, just satisfy the ego-massage of would be owners.

Re:What Tesla doesn't get is Marketing (1, Flamebait)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#37784278)

Or they could make a good car.

GM should not be an example to anyone.

Re:What Tesla doesn't get is Marketing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37784364)

Step up and do the right thing? God forbid. Today's approach to success is to cry and bitch until someone gets sick of hearing it and hands you what you want. Trying to pull yourself up by your bootstraps is often seen as unnecessarily hard work and our legal system backs that way of thinking by rewarding the lazy and irresponsible.

Re:What Tesla doesn't get is Marketing (3, Insightful)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about 3 years ago | (#37785142)

It wasn't just what Clarkson said, it's also what was shown: a Tesla being pushed into a garage, ostensibly running out of power mid-test. I was very disappointed with Aunty when I learned this was staged*. Between that, the overly farcical "accidents" and a dearth of tests on normal cars I could ever buy I just stopped watching.

*I'm not a complete idiot; I know batteries run out, but was an accurate portrayal of the car's range really too much to ask?

Re:What Tesla doesn't get is Marketing (5, Informative)

jo_ham (604554) | about 3 years ago | (#37785338)

He also said some downright false things, for example that it had run totally flat and had to be pushed back into the garage by the crew to be recharged before they had finished filming when in reality the car had 20% charge at minimum, as logged by the onboard computer - in other words, they didn't manage to run it flat during the shoot, but the script (which Tesla saw) called for the ending of the piece to show the car "limping" off the track under human propulsion.

I saw the piece when it originally aired (I'm a Top Gear fan), but they really went for the throat at the end. The review was reasonably fair up to that point - they had a lot of positives to say about the car, along with some downsides. There was no need for them to lie at the end.

They did something similar in the latest electric car piece (with the Leaf and some other car [possibly a Peugeot]) where they "comically" ran out of juice in the middle of a town with nowhere to recharge after "setting off for a day's driving" - it was revealed that they set off with low charge in the cars to begin with.

Their position on electric cars seems to be "say some nice things, but then make sure we ram home the point that they have batteries that need to be charged, herp derp!".

Like I say, I'm a fan of the series and have been since before the current Clarkson/May/Hammond setup, but the stuff about anything that runs on alternative fuels is just getting tiresome.

When Was The Script Written? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37784234)

I thought the problem was that the script was written, in which the car ran out of power, before the episode was actually shot. In other words, it was a prefabricated lie. No?

Re:When Was The Script Written? (2)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37784316)

No, Tesla is claiming that, but IIRC they had only scripted out parts of the show. But supposedly the only prescripted bits were the ones they knew they needed to get due to limited light. The things that involved actually driving the vehicles hadn't been written ahead.

Or at least that's my understanding of the matter.

Re:When Was The Script Written? (1)

somersault (912633) | about 3 years ago | (#37784544)

Jeremy drove a few cars til they were out of fuel too. Even if they pre-scripted it, it would only be to make a point - that filling up the battery takes longer than filling up with fuel. Some people may have not considered that point. For others, it isn't that relevant. Being able to top up your reserves at home instead of at a fuel station is a big bonus for most probably.

Your tax dollars at work (2)

Dunbal (464142) | about 3 years ago | (#37784272)

1. Receive half a billion dollars [thedailygreen.com] in federal grant money.

2. Spend it on expensive lawyers to defend your "brand" overseas in the UK despite having sold less than 2000 cars in the whole world since the company started.

3. ???

4. Er, profit? It will take off any minute now. I promise.

Re:Your tax dollars at work (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#37784304)

That is a loan not a grant. You have to pay back loans, not grants.
2. This is what every company does
3. build Model S and Blue Star
4. Profit or be bought out by Toyota

Re:Your tax dollars at work (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 3 years ago | (#37784422)

It's only a loan if they pay it back. However that doesn't look good [jalopnik.com] . But look on the bright side, for 400+ million dollars the company created 900 or so jobs. So, about half a million dollars per job, you're happy with that are you? Government efficiency.

This is what every company does

No, other car companies make money. Besides GM I mean.

Re:Your tax dollars at work (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#37784468)

You might want to consider Chrysler too.

If you got a sweet heart loan would you not ask for another?

Government efficiency has nothing on the waste I see in the private sector every day. Big business is big business, private or public it is all the same racket.

Re:Your tax dollars at work (3, Informative)

Coolhand2120 (1001761) | about 3 years ago | (#37784842)

There is no profit shark at the government, they have no interest in turning a profit, being efficient or saving money, if it's not efficient so what? The government can't go broke they just tax, print, borrow. Look up "base line spending" if you don't agree. The government has trillions of dollars in debt and is taking in less tax revenue but in the last 5 years has increased spending by 33%. If a private business behaves like the government for too long it will cease to exist.

If a private company had a 401K plan like the government has social security, and the CEO borrowed money from the 401Ks like the government constantly borrows from SS, the CEOs would be in federal prison for a very long time. The government has no metric for success, they do stuff just because. It doesn't matter if people actually benefit from what the government does, they get paid anyway. Not the case with private business. It doesn't matter if it's a total abject failure that kills people and brings misery, it's still "a good thing" because the government is doing it, the "war on drugs" is a wonderful example of this. If it took too long for the pizza to get to your house do you get your money back? (yes) If it took too long for the cops to get to your house when you dial 911 do you get your taxes back? (no). If a private person or business wrongs you there is recourse in the courts. If the government wrongs you, you're just fucked (sovereign immunity)

So ya, huge difference.

Re:Your tax dollars at work (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | about 3 years ago | (#37785686)

The DMV is often held up as a synonym for government inefficiency. And yet I can be in and out of Santa Clara DMV in under 20 minutes when I need to renew my license, less if I have an appointment. And with each passing year they add more services to their website, so the crowds going to the physical office keep getting smaller. Not bad for a place where you had to bring a good book and resign yourself to spending half the day only ten years ago.

On the other hand I've been known to be kept waiting in a branch of that paragon of private sector competitiveness, Bank of America, for over half an hour for relatively straightforward services. And God help you if you need to call up their customer service helpline; I needed to stop a recurring payment that was coming out of my account in error thanks to a bug in their inept website and was kept on the line for over an hour being passed around to six different people and with each incompetent rep I had to start at the top from proving who I was and regurgitating the same story, none of which I ever had to do with the HSBC bank.

There are efficient and inefficient government operations, there are efficient and inefficient private operations. The "public sector bad, private sector good" doctrine gets kinda tiresome after a while.

Re:Your tax dollars at work (5, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 3 years ago | (#37784860)

I've worked in many jobs over the years, mostly private sector, some public sector. In my experience the private sector is far less efficient than the public sector. Your misconception is common and comes from confusing efficiency with making a profit.

The private sector's objective is to make a profit, and they'll tend to limit themselves to those activities that can make a profit. The public sector deals with those things that still need doing regardless of whether there's money to me made.

Re:Your tax dollars at work (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 3 years ago | (#37784534)

That is a loan not a grant. You have to pay back loans, not grants.

Well, usually. If the company goes bankrupt, then the loan is likely to be written off. There is a fairly common dodge that goes something like this:

  1. Set up two companies.
  2. Company A gets massive government loan and invests it in R&D.
  3. Company A goes bankrupt.
  4. Company B buys the IP and other assets cheaply from the receivers
  5. Government and other investors get the small amount that company B paid and write off the rest of the loan.

This is one of the reasons why bank loans to startups are either at a very high interest rate or require the directors to take personal liability in the event that the company fails. The loans to Tesla were at a very low interest rate. They have received grant of several million dollars even if they do repay everything, just from the difference between the interest that they pay the government and the interest that they would have paid any other lender (a 1% difference in interest works out at over four million dollars per year at the amounts Tesla has borrowed).

Re:Your tax dollars at work (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#37784714)

Sure, but we gave all the banks a grant in the same way. Loans below market value. If you are rich it seems you can get lots of free money this way.

Re:Your tax dollars at work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37784952)

You have to pay it back until you file for bankruptcy.

Re:Your tax dollars at work (2)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37784368)

Despite the current stupidity, Tesla has come a long way in making affordable electric cars a reality. The Roadster went for $109k and the Model S is expected to go for only $60k or there abouts. The cost is in my view expensive, but there's a fair number of people out there even now that could afford to spend $60k on a car.

The more significant thing is that they can charge it in a few hours on household current.

Re:Your tax dollars at work (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 3 years ago | (#37784470)

The cost is in my view expensive, but there's a fair number of people out there even now that could afford to spend $60k on a car.

Sure, but that doesn't mean they'd want to spend $60k on a car that's less capable than a $30k Honda Civic or a $60k BMW.

Re:Your tax dollars at work (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#37784498)

Define less capable. It looks nicer and surely out performs the Civic on the 1/4 mile. Anyone who would buy a Model S would not be seen dead in a Civic.

Re:Your tax dollars at work (1)

locust (6639) | about 3 years ago | (#37784804)

It looks nicer and surely out performs the Civic on the 1/4 mile.

For the same money you could actually go out and buy a lotus elise, not just a car that looks like one.

Re:Your tax dollars at work (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | about 3 years ago | (#37785026)

As I understood it, the Tesla Roadster *was* a Lotus Elise, albeit hacked to pieces to fit the electric engine, batteries, etc. in place of the typical internal combustion engine and gas tank.

Re:Your tax dollars at work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37785182)

They actually raced a Tesla Roadster against an Elise. The Elise crept up on the Roadster in the first few corners. Then the roadster SMOKED the elise on the straight. O:-)

Re:Your tax dollars at work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37784998)

"Anyone who would buy a Model S would not be seen dead in a Civic."

What a load of bullshit.

Smart people drive whichever car they like, and don't care what anyone else thinks of it.

Re:Your tax dollars at work (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 3 years ago | (#37785296)

Smart people usually aren't rich enough to have much of a choice.

Re:Your tax dollars at work (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about 3 years ago | (#37785314)

Smart people drive whichever car they like, and don't care what anyone else thinks of it.

That would explain the Fiat Multipla [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Your tax dollars at work (2)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37784550)

Well for starters there are the folks that would prefer not to be subsidizing terrorism via paying for gas.

Re:Your tax dollars at work (3, Informative)

GrahamCox (741991) | about 3 years ago | (#37784896)

The more significant thing is that they can charge it in a few hours on household current.

The roadster has a 53kWh battery. Thus to charge it in a "few", (say, 3) hours will need ~17kW, which is 70A at 240V, assuming you have 240V, which is not the standard voltage in the US, I know. I don't know many homes that would be capable of handling that amount of current, so the claim looks unreasonable.

More realistically, if you had a 240V/35A supply, you'd be looking at 6-7 hours charging. Not so bad, but that's still a very hefty current you're pulling- it's like having an electric oven on full blast for 7 hours. Your bills are going to go through the roof, though I guess it could still work out cheaper than petrol.

A 240V/13A supply will need 17 hours to recharge. That's a typical "household current" socket in the UK, Europe and Australia, but I don't really call that a "few" hours.

Re:Your tax dollars at work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37785014)

The roadster has a 53kWh battery... Your bills are going to go through the roof, though I guess it could still work out cheaper than petrol.

53kWh is less than $5 where I live. No idea what the efficiencies are, but they'd have to be pretty damn bad for that to be worse that fueling up a sports car with enough gas to go 200 miles.

Re:Your tax dollars at work (2)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 3 years ago | (#37785100)

and if a lot of houses put there cars on charge over night its going to do terrible things to the national grid.

Re:Your tax dollars at work (0)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 3 years ago | (#37785188)

The more significant thing is that they can charge it in a few hours on household current.

And that's exactly the sort of green-washed bullshit that needs called out, because lies like that are what are going to create the negative press that will keep the Model S relegated to the garages of wealthy ecomentals.

Tesla's own best-case claims [teslamotors.com] are that their weediest 160 mile range (with lights, heater/AC and other electrics off, right?) Model S will take 2.58 hours to charge from a "high-amperage 240-volt outlet", whatever that means. I'm going to go ahead and assume that you're talking about 120VAC "household current", so let's think more in the region of 5+ hours, if your household can supply the wattage, which I'd question. Five is not "a few", except in marketspeak. If you disagree, go ahead and charge your Tesla for 2 hours, and see how far you get. Physics isn't marketing's bitch.

Look, I like the idea of electric vehicles. I'm gagging for a usable electric motorcycle (and no, the Zero isn't usable yet). But we (for "we" substitute any country in the world) need to substantially upgrade the grid and every single city, neighbourhood, street and home before they'll be usable as more than urban shopping trolleys.

A bit thin-skinned... (4, Interesting)

TWX (665546) | about 3 years ago | (#37784280)

I don't know if Tesla submitted the vehicle to Top Gear themselves or if Top Gear sought one from an intermediary, but anyone building an automobile must expect that television shows that review automobiles will probably review theirs, in their own way, and will probably state exactly how they feel about it. Top Gear in particular won't hold anything back if they don't like a vehicle, and are known for being biased, usually in a humorous, way, but still biased.

If Tesla wants positive reviews, they need to build a car that gets those reviews from testers. For the most part Top Gear uses the types of tracks that are available to companies that build cars, so if they want to excel at a specific type of track they have the option to engineer with that in mind.

If not, there's always Motor Week...

Re:A bit thin-skinned... (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#37784352)

It was nothing about the track or the cars actual performance. Clarkson hates electric cars and is the sort of dimwit that thinks hydrogen power is going somewhere. He will use any reason real or imaginary to knock any electric car. They should have known that going in.

Re:A bit thin-skinned... (1)

sdguero (1112795) | about 3 years ago | (#37784632)

I didn't read this particular article but was following the case before and I thought the issue was that the car Top Gear tested did not meet the manufacturer claims regarding miles per charge.

Oh, and the capabilities of electric cars ARE way lame right now. I hope they get better, but manufacturers lying about their performance metrics isn't going to make me like them more.

Re:A bit thin-skinned... (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#37784694)

I agree completely, but Clarkson hates electrics and they should have known that before they sent the car over.

I do disagree about the term capability though. They have lots of torque and power, range is the issue.

Re:A bit thin-skinned... (1)

sdguero (1112795) | about 3 years ago | (#37784758)

Don't forget time to charge. Having to wait 8 hours every time you need more energy sucks... :(

Re:A bit thin-skinned... (4, Informative)

SenseiLeNoir (699164) | about 3 years ago | (#37784894)

Wrong, clarkson does not hate electric, he actually likes the idea of them. He has pointed out this in many places, just google it.

His problem is:
The batteries are currently bulky yet have poor range.(he has concerns on the safety of Li.ion in huge sizes in a car)
And...
It takes too long to charge

So short range with ages to charge means its not practical for many uses, except in town for short journeys.

This is also why he likes hydrogen fuel cell, because it's still electric, but the "capacity" is greater, and filling up is quicker, making it more practical.

Re:A bit thin-skinned... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37785310)

+5 to this please. The parent posts are just misleading information/FUD.

Re:A bit thin-skinned... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37785164)

Just range? What about price, safety and environmental impact? What can happen if the batteries after a crash rupture and leak? Are they safer than current gas tanks or hydrogen ones? I'd like to know honestly, some engineer around here able to clarify the pro's and con's of each?

What about the environmental impact on producing compressed hydrogen vs lythium (or whatever becomes the norm) batteries?

Re:A bit thin-skinned... (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 3 years ago | (#37784906)

Clarkson and the Top-Gear team are the ones that do the lying. Have you never seen the show? If you think they're giving accurate appraisals, particularly of vehicle types they have distain for, they you're very gullible.

Re:A bit thin-skinned... (1)

sdguero (1112795) | about 3 years ago | (#37785016)

Yeah. I like the show. They are car guys with a tendency towards the old school... Like me.

If they don't like something, they say so. I appreciate that, even if I don't always agree with them (but I usually do...:)

Re:A bit thin-skinned... (1)

EdZ (755139) | about 3 years ago | (#37784676)

No, it's more about arguing terminology. Tesla claim that the car did not 'run out of power', meaning the batteries did not go flat. Top gear claim it did run out of power, because it hit the 20% battery charge limit and throttled down to a speed that was unusable for track testing. Tesla claim the brakes did not fail. Top Gear claim that the power assist shutting down and requiring the driver to step HARD on the pedal was a failure (especially during track testing).

Re:A bit thin-skinned... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#37784732)

They have driven cars on that track that lacked power brakes at all, so that seems a bit harsh.

Re:A bit thin-skinned... (1)

itsenrique (846636) | about 3 years ago | (#37785378)

Indeed, power-assisted braking is not known to be that beefy in race cars. Actually: they don't usually have it at all.

Re:A bit thin-skinned... (1)

eepok (545733) | about 3 years ago | (#37784808)

Hydrogen fuel cell is electric. Clarkson has said in the past that hydrogen fuel cell cars are the *best* electric option to his (then) knowledge because it doesn't require plugging in for hours and draining an already strained power grid while still burning fossil fuels to power the cars. Of course, I don't think he fully understood the difficulty of obtaining and transporting hydrogen (most recent research and breakthroughs excluded).

He thinks the electric cars need to be made un-fun to be made green (look at the Nissan Leaf). And when he saw and first drove the Tesla, he was excited at being wrong... but then he figured out that he can't drive it as hard as a combustion car for too long.

But I don't think electric cars are the future either. It may have to do with my ground level experience in transportation and infrastructure, but if electric-battery vehicles are going to be a part of our future, they're going to have to be hybrids. Either plug-in fossil fuel, plug-in diesel, plug-in hyrdrogen, etc. But the main source of fuel cannot be our electrical grid. The grid can only be a means of topping off the batteries during off-peak hours.

All I ever hear... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37785022)

... is how the electric grid can't handle more, and how it's under-delivered now. This has been talked about for decades, especially in places with poor infrastructure like California. Is the free market really incapable of delivering a solution to this problem?

Re:All I ever hear... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37785572)

Do you really think a "free market" is going to save our energy problems in places like California? I don't know about you but I don't see any companies setting up shop here trying to get extra energy going.

Re:A bit thin-skinned... (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 3 years ago | (#37785136)

Really hydrogen fuel cells have a lot of advantages - we have a network of petrol stations which could be converted - and at the levels of power required to recharge electric cars in a relatively quick time your going to have a lot more horrific accidents.

Re:A bit thin-skinned... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37784722)

They submitted two cars, and a crew to maintain them. They still failed to keep them operational.

Tesla as merely using the world's most popular car show to leverage publicity for their company. The reality it, those interested in cars, aren't going to but a way over priced modified Lotus Elise running of laptop batteries, other than rich dweeb attention seekers.

Re:A bit thin-skinned... (1)

subreality (157447) | about 3 years ago | (#37785128)

will probably state exactly how they feel about it. Top Gear in particular won't hold anything back if they don't like a vehicle

They can talk about how they feel all they want, and they should mock the hell out of actual failings, but they shouldn't lie or mislead.

The judge is right, none of their words are lies. However, look at the theatrical presentation: After a short time on the track, they show the car decelerating, then being pushed back into the garage. No, they didn't say the battery died on them, but they started talking about the fact that it would go far less than it's rated mileage on the track (which is true; you don't expect your gas-powered car gets its EPA rated mileage on the track, do you?); then are shown pushing the car back to the garage; then go into a segment talking about how long it takes to recharge.

Outright lies? No, but it's misleading: the way it was presented certainly looks like the battery unexpectedly died in the middle of their tests, and somewhat suggests the 200-mile rated range is untrue. That's damaging to Tesla who's trying to build a reputation for building cars that perform better than promised (which they do, according to owners).

Re:A bit thin-skinned... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37785638)

I'm a big Top Gear fan but it was one of my least favorite episodes because I'm also a Tesla fan and I could tell the episode was designed to make the car look bad because of Clarkson's hatred of electrical and hybrid cars. Where they went off the rails for me was finding out the breakdowns were scripted before they even received the cars. I stopped watching the show for months and even sent an e-mail complaining about the fact the episode was scripted and not a reflection of the car's performance. I started gradually watching it again but I ignore the car reviews and even at times turn off the sound for them. The show is fun but it's obvious that the reviews are so biased that they are completely worthless. One of my complaints about the Tesla episode when I first saw it was Clarkson pointing out that it ran out of juice fairly quickly when run flat out and only did something like 50 miles on a charge. He failed to mention that flat out a McClaren 722 will run it's tank dry in something like 16 or 18 minutes. You might as well say an F16's tank only holds a few minutes of fuel because you can drain it that fast running the afterburners constantly. The point is if you set out to make a car fail there are lots of ways to do it. The episode was a total fiction meant to make the Tesla look bad and to me it destroyed the show's reputation all over Clarkson's vendetta against non gasoline cars. And yes I'm normally a big Clarkson fan but he has that one blind spot so anything he says on the subject isn't worth listening to due to his bias.

Re:A bit thin-skinned... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37785716)

What I don't understand about this whole thing, is that it seemed like a comparatively favourable review to me. They weren't happy with the price point and the range, but they got it round the track in a time comparable to the 911 GT3 or the DBS and thought it looked good, and clearly outperformed the Elise on which the design was based.

Citation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37784350)

I've watched that segment of Top Gear numerous times, can anyone actually point out and quote any specific statements made that were lies? I can't find any.

Re:Citation (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#37784380)

The claim is that the car did not actually run out of power, and that Top Gear pretended it did. You would think telsa would have been smart enough to place some sort of monitoring system in said vehicle.

Re:Citation (5, Informative)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 3 years ago | (#37784690)

They did. That's why they're claiming outright fraud with respect to the "the car is dead" segment - according to the car's logs, the car never ran out of power.

Re:Citation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37784502)

They showed the cars running out of energy, but Tesla had instrumented the vehicles and could show that they did not in fact run out.

Re:Citation (1)

bbn (172659) | about 3 years ago | (#37784554)

You are proof that the judge is wrong. Either that, or you are not a "reasonable person". Because he said that Top Gear did lie but noone reasonable would believe what they said as true...

Re:Citation (2)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37784568)

The breaks technically didn't fail, the fuse for the breaks failed. But, personally, I wouldn't consider that to be a lie as I wouldn't give a damn why the brakes weren't functioning if they were stuck in one position or the other.

Re:Citation (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#37784760)

The brakes would still work then, just not the power brakes. I have driven a car without power brakes, you would not want to use it on the track but it is not a braking failure. Just a power braking failure.

Re:Citation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37784866)

Funny how race cars often dotn have power assist brakes. In fact both of mine dont and they are heavyish AWD'

Instead of suing (0)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 years ago | (#37784372)

anyone that might not have a nothing but praise opinion, you should work on the faults. Then maybe your cute little wanna be race car wont shit out on the track.

Follow Koenigsegg (5, Insightful)

eepok (545733) | about 3 years ago | (#37784460)

Koenigsegg put a super car on Top Gear. It was not good enough. There was not enough down force in the rear, the car lost control, and it crashed. Top Gear said, "This thing REALLY needs a spoiler."

Koenigsegg sued Top Gear. Just kidding, they put a spoiler on it and sent it back to Top Gear. They took it around the track again and it got an amazing time. No crashes.

No, I'm not saying that Top Gear can instantly diagnose car problems and their words should be heeded at all times. What I'm saying is that Koenigsegg made off with massive good PR by taking criticism from some of the most watched television personalities in the world, improved their car, and, showing no hard feelings, gave the car back to them. They didn't call mommy and daddy claiming their driver crashed their car. They didn't claim slander. They knew that they had the opportunity to show how dedicated they were to making an amazing car and took it.

Tesla, well... We breed them litigious here.

Re:Follow Koenigsegg (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37784730)

Tesla, well... We breed them litigious here.

Tesla is doing all this as a PR stunt for their core customer segment: Lawyers.

Re:Follow Koenigsegg (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 3 years ago | (#37784884)

Koenigseegseegsiegsiegesg said that what caused the crash wasn't just the lack of down force, it was the chassis and suspension setup, but they threw the spoiler on there anyway and the Stig set a hell of a time.

Your point stands.

Re:Follow Koenigsegg (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37784948)

The Koenigsegg car actually crashed. This court case was about whether Top Gear faked a breakdown in the case of the Tesla.

Re:Follow Koenigsegg (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37784984)

The difference between Tesla and Koenigsegg therefore seems to be the love. Koenigsegg loves making cars while Tesla, as a company, loves money.

Re:Follow Koenigsegg (4, Interesting)

subreality (157447) | about 3 years ago | (#37785178)

The Koenigsegg had a design flaw, so they fixed it and resubmitted it.

The Tesla performed without problems, but they made it look like the battery died unexpectedly. What's Tesla supposed to do? Put a bigger battery in and resubmit it so the show can complain that the extra weight makes it harder to push back to the garage?

Re:Follow Koenigsegg (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37785446)

You call the actual problems highlighted as without problems? Pull your head out of your ass, the actual problems may well not have been on the car but the problems are in truth there and they were demonstrated. Which the judge clealy gets.

Re:Follow Koenigsegg (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37785320)

There is one relevant difference: The Koenigsegg really did crash. Top gear faked the Tesla running out of batteries. I'm not sure Tesla should have to fix a fictional problem.

Don't know why I'm bothering to type this nothing I submit actually gets posted due to bugs...

Re:Follow Koenigsegg (1)

jo_ham (604554) | about 3 years ago | (#37785430)

So the criticism they need to act on is "your car ran out of power"?

"But it has 20% left in the batteries, see this computer monitors the car, or didn't you think we'd look at the car's systems?"

"whatever, it ran out of power!"

Top Gear modification: reports 0% charge when there is 20% left. Genius!

(I am a fan of the show, but they were serious dicks over this whole thing).

Re:Follow Koenigsegg (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about 3 years ago | (#37785468)

>>Tesla, well... We breed them litigious here.

I watched the episode, and then read what actually happened. To be fair, Top Gear really did fake their results and report that the Tesla is shit as a result.

This lawsuit has let Tesla tell its side of the story, which is the most important thing. (Without it, people on /. would be claiming Teslas are shit cars and linking to the TG story...)

No Teslas for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37784668)

After this, I won't be buying one.

What assholes.

Lies / Truth (3, Insightful)

tirefire (724526) | about 3 years ago | (#37784978)

Top Gear used lies to tell the truth.

Tesla used the truth to tell lies.

This whole thing is ridiculous.

Tesla Roadster, car by weasels (2)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about 3 years ago | (#37785202)

I'm convinced that Tesla is run by weasels.

They know they produce an inferior car to most well below their price points in terms of performance, but instead of being honest and working hard to improve the car or lowering the price, they sue those that call them out on it.

As far as I have seen, their strongest ad campaign has been through drag races against the Dodge Viper and the Porsche GT and those are very apples-to-oranges races. The Porsche and Viper are 180mph+ cars and are geared to do so; the Roadster is geared to do about 125mph.

Low gearing will allow many weak cars get to 60 quickly, and the motor's weak performance really shows in the quarter mile (12.7s@104mph <Viper is 12.9s@113mph first gen, 10.92@127mph current gen>).

Its no surprise that the rest of the car is lackluster as well, but a lot of their problems could be solved if they lowered their profit margin a bit (or raised the price) and created a product that stood on its own without the smoke and mirrors tactics.

Being thin-skinned is an understatement. In my opinion, they go out of their way to be liars and cheats and it seems they will do anything to hide that behavior.

Negative reviews are not slander. (0, Troll)

Mal-2 (675116) | about 3 years ago | (#37785292)

They liked some things about the vehicle, and not others. It doesn't matter if they drove it differently, because at least a certain proportion of real-world drivers are going to do the same. Tesla needs to swallow their pride and take criticism as an opportunity to improve the product.

But (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37785410)

I don't really think 'reasonable people' are Tesla's main market.

Tesla should fight back saying stupid people are their primary market.

TG (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37785420)

The question isn't whether Top Gear lied - they did. Top Gear showed the battery running down and the car coming to a stop, which never actually happened because Tesla checked the car's computer and showed that the battery was never run down. The only question is whether Top Gear should be financially liable for damaging Tesla's reputation.

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