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Tesla Motors Loses Appeal Against BBC's Top Gear

timothy posted about a year ago | from the plus-they-had-to-drive-it-left-handed dept.

Television 385

TrueSatan writes "In a highly detailed decision, the UK Court of Appeal has rejected Tesla's appeal against an eartlier ruling by a lower court that, too, rejected Tesla's case. Reading through the decision it is clear that the judge saw Tesla's case as lacking sufficient detail and specific instances of proof to support each claim. The judge stated that that Tesla's chances of a successful appeal, should the case have gone to trial, were insufficiently high to justify holding a trial. He stated that Tesla's case had no real chance of success and in many notes picked appart Tesla's legal team's arguments. That said, he did not say that Top Gear were right or justified in portraying Tesla's vehicle in the way they did — merely that there wasn't a legal case for an appeal. One of the key flaws in Tesla's case, according to the judicial decision, was Tesla's inability to show that actual pecuniary harm, with detailed financial figures, had occurred."

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uh... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43078315)

spellcheck much?

Re:uh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43078923)

What's worse is the submitter assuming we know that he's talking the exchange between Musk and the NYT. O doubt anyone outside Britain even heard of the first lawsuit, but it isn't mentioned until almost the last sentence. That's really REALLY bad writing, TrueSatan. You'd have been better off (and more true to your username) if you'd just plagairized the first sentence of TFA.

Tesla need to stop being such girls (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43078321)

All companies get a hammering on top gear at some point, even the most prestigious on the planet. If the pricks at Tesla thought their overweight lotus mod would be a free advert, they deserve to be fired.

Tesla don't make the news for their product, they make it from the constant whining. It's no wonder no one buys their cars.

Re:Tesla need to stop being such girls (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43078453)

It's no wonder no one buys their cars.

Son, you did not just go there. I'm so going to sue you. I'm logging this exchange.

E. Musk

Re:Tesla need to stop being such girls (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43078483)

Use "girls" as a pejorative? Really?

Re:Tesla need to stop being such girls (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43078779)

Use "girls" as a pejorative? Really?

Really. Get over it.

Re:Tesla need to stop being such girls (2, Funny)

Dishevel (1105119) | about a year ago | (#43079137)

Use "girls" as a pejorative? Really?

Really. Get over it.

She can't. Women do not just "Get over" things.

Re:Tesla need to stop being such girls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43079139)

It strikes just the right level of maturity.

Re:Tesla need to stop being such girls (1, Insightful)

Dr. Tom (23206) | about a year ago | (#43078517)

Well, this counts as free advertising, however, I totally agree, companies like Tesla should stop trying to legislate their profits, which just makes them look like dicks, and put in the work to make the product better.

Fire all the lawyers.

My god. Try visting reality. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43078713)

Where, precisely is this "legislate their profits" coming from?

Someone makes shit up (faked, lies, whatever you want to call it) to pretend a car is less useful than it is.

And you think stopping lies is "legislating their profits2??? Sorry, unless Tesla are making you BUY their cars by having it mandated by law, they aren't doing that. They're trying to get redress for lies against them.

Is the problem that they don't burn petrol?

Re:My god. Try visting reality. (4, Interesting)

Dishevel (1105119) | about a year ago | (#43079151)

Have you ever watched Top Gear.
This is not a show like Motor Week. Their testing is stupid, pointless and very funny.

Re:Tesla need to stop being such girls (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43078799)

Yeah, Tesla is totally wrong to protest when people stage events and lie about their car to make them look bad, and get ratings.

You are a total prick, you old, bearded piece of shit.

Re:Tesla need to stop being such girls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43079029)

They're trying to legislate a fair shake, like any other company would. Do you really think Apple would just roll over if a reviewer claimed the latest iPhone performed X, Y, and Z negative actions during an official, solicited review of the product, when there are logs and other data which prove the claims to be wholly untrue? Would you, if it were your product, allow somebody to outright lie about their experience, knowing full-well that the result will be undeserved skepticism of your own claims about said product?

People will be quoting the TopGear and NYT articles for years because they earnestly believe those sources to be largely unbiased and professional. That belief deserves to be challenged, especially under such egregious circumstances.

Re:Tesla need to stop being such girls (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43078667)

"It's no wonder no one buys their cars."

Yeah, when a bunch of retard MAMIJ (Middle Aged Men In Jeans) talk shit about your cars and idiots believe them, then it's no wonder people don't buy their cars.

The court case was to punish these barnpots for lying and damaging their company.

I guess you prefer politicians who lie, right?

Lots of cheap publicity (4, Insightful)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about a year ago | (#43078393)

With some of the costs paid by the UK taxpayer and the BBC license fee payers, Tesla really got lots of mileage (see what I did there?) out of this one.

I agree that the amount of pecuniary harm this did them is probably zero - they were already selling out their full production capacity of Roadster vehicles. Top Gear was not limiting their profits, their production capacity was.

But now their product and brand has had a great deal more exposure.

Re:Lots of cheap publicity (4, Interesting)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about a year ago | (#43078651)

With some of the costs paid by the UK taxpayer and the BBC license fee payers *snip*

Top Gear is fully funded from its own revenue streams, such as live shows and sales to syndication - its a huge profit center to the BBC, and funds itself rather than needing funding from the BBC license fee.

Re:Lots of cheap publicity (0)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#43078847)

So it started off making a profit and never use any resources from the BBC? [WONKA]

Re:Lots of cheap publicity (5, Insightful)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about a year ago | (#43078985)

Nope, it was one of a long series of programmes that get made because of the licence fee. Some don't make a profit and get canned, some don't make a profit and stick around because the BBC are legally obliged to broadcast them (educational, religious, political and news programming for example), and some are syndicated around the world, or sold for remake under licence (Doctor Who, Top Gear, Red Dwarf's original series etc). The latter subsidises the former - remember, we're only paying about US$150 per household per year, and there is pretty much zero advertising to fund it or get in the way of us actually enjoying a whole episode of something. Pretty good deal really. I'm with Mitch Benn on this. [youtube.com]

Time to read the NYT review (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43078837)

If you swallowed the misdirections and outright lies Tesla spewed against NYT, now is the time to actually read the NYT review and ask yourself why Elon isn't trying to sue them, if what he claims is true:


"The new charging points, at service plazas in Newark, Del., and Milford, Conn., are some 200 miles apart. That is well within the Model S’s 265-mile estimated range"

"A Tesla agent brought the car to me in suburban Washington with a full charge"

"After a short break in Manhattan, the range readout said 79 miles; the Milford charging station was 73 miles away. About 20 miles from Milford, less than 10 miles of range remained. I called Tesla again, and Ted Merendino, a product planner, told me that even when the display reached zero there would still be a few miles of cushion. "
This is a lie.

"At that point, the car informed me it was shutting off the heater, and it ordered me, in vivid red letters, to “Recharge Now.” "
Ted lied.

"I drove, slowly, to Stonington, Conn., for dinner and spent the night in Groton, a total distance of 79 miles. When I parked the car, its computer said I had 90 miles of range, twice the 46 miles back to Milford. It was a different story at 8:30 the next morning. The thermometer read 10 degrees and the display showed 25 miles of remaining range — the electrical equivalent of someone having siphoned off more than two-thirds of the fuel that was in the tank when I parked. "

It loses charge in the cold.

"I called Tesla in California, and the official I woke up said I needed to “condition” the battery pack to restore the lost energy. That meant sitting in the car for half an hour with the heat on a low setting."

Telsa lied again.

"The Tesla people found an E.V. charging facility that Norwich Public Utilities had recently installed....I located the proper adapter in the trunk, plugged in and walked to the only warm place nearby...Tesla’s experts said that pumping in a little energy would help restore the power lost overnight as a result of the cold weather"

Telsa lied.

" “Car is shutting down,” the computer informed me. I was able to coast down an exit ramp in Branford, Conn., before the car made good on its threat. "

Elon Musk says it never ran out of charge, this is a lie.

Spin it however you will, it's a $92000 car that can't go 200 miles and can't survive a Top Gear review without being pushed into the shed and blowing a fuse.

Re:Time to read the NYT review (4, Informative)

DrXym (126579) | about a year ago | (#43078883)

Tesla enabled logging in the car and it more than confirms their version of events. Given how some journalist's have it in for Tesla this seems like a sensible move by them. The journo was lying through his teeth and was caught in his lie.

Tesla don't deny any of the facts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43079165)

No, Elon Musk didn't deny any of the key facts at all. He raised straw men and knocked them down.

You have not stated on single item of the key points that is wrong in any way.

Did it not lose charge overnight? Did the Tesla man not clear them after 1 hour of charge? Did they not supply it fully charged? Did it not say 247 miles range? Was it not shut down, with its brakes locked when they towed it?

All of these things are true. The car really did that.

Then there was this:

"A small group of Tesla fans decided to see for themselves. Meeting in DC over the weekend, seven drivers from the Tesla Motors Club forums banded together to recreate the reporter's infamous trip to Tesla's Milford Connecticut Supercharger, minus the Manhattan detour. "

Also minus the overnight rest stop in the cold. And with warm clothes, but that's not what bother me the most, its this:

"The long and short? The team made the trip successfully, albeit with some minor hiccups. Most of the drivers had no trouble topping off their Tesla's at max range, ensuring they had enough charge to complete each leg of the trip -- but one car stubbornly refused to top off at a Delaware Supercharger....After about an hour of troubleshooting, Tesla pushed a firmware update to the vehicle, found and diagnosed another bug and got the car back on the road."

A bug that only affected on car and stopped it reaching the topped off state? No, Elon I don't believe it, I think the firmware stopped the car going on the 'range' overcharge state because the battery condition wouldn't permit it.

Re:Time to read the NYT review (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43079081)

Uh.. Yeah. Data logs from the car and subsequent tests by other papers and tesla owners proved you narrative is a complete crock of shit, weeks ago.
At best, the reporter lied to make a controversial story. More likely he's on the take from the oil industry and is in gross violation of journalistic ethics.

It's a good thing you posed AC, huh?

Re:Lots of cheap publicity (1)

tippe (1136385) | about a year ago | (#43078937)

Not cheap publicity at all, actually. It would have been cheap if Tesla had just let things go, but instead they decided pay some expensive lawyers a bunch of money to go to court. I bet you those lawyers were more expensive than a gigantic advertising campaign would have been. They should have just had a shouting match with the BBC/Top Gear on various blogs over this issue, called Jeremy Clarkson an electricity hating, anti-diesel-ite, petrol-head cock, and just left it at that. That would have been cheap publicity.

Re:Lots of cheap publicity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43078967)

For those with a metric upbringing:

With some of the costs paid by the UK taxpayer and the BBC license fee payers, Tesla really got lots of kilometrage (see what I did there?) out of this one.

Re:Lots of cheap publicity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43079127)

You understand that in the UK we don't use kilometres for road distances, or kph for speed, right?

Re:Lots of cheap publicity (1)

Grayhand (2610049) | about a year ago | (#43079079)

The hit could be on stock value since it questioned the reliability of the car and the stock has fallen inspite of the cars selling out. I knew Clarkson was trying to make the Tesla look bad when I saw the episode but I was outraged when I found out the breakdowns were scripted ahead of time. The episode was irresponsible at best and more likely malicious intending to harm Telsa because Clarkson has a hatred of electrical vehicles which he often mentions. I used to love the show and was a Clarkson fan but I did stop watching the show after the story came out so it did more damage to the reputation of Top Gear than it did Tesla to me personally.

Irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43078397)

I fail to understand why pecuniary harm is relevant.

Re:Irrelevant (1)

Antipater (2053064) | about a year ago | (#43078447)

I don't know about UK law, but in the US it's only libel if actual harm can be proven.

Re:Irrelevant (-1, Flamebait)

jbrandv (96371) | about a year ago | (#43078625)

Never heard of the RIAA huh?

Re:Irrelevant (4, Informative)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year ago | (#43078733)

RIAA has never to my knowledge filed a libel suit. Their suits are about copyright infringement, which is neither the same thing nor relevant to the conversation.

Re:Irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43078499)

A natural person can sue over other kinds of damage (personal injury, emotional harm), but Tesla Motors is a corporation.
Money is all that it has.

How do you prove harm to reputation? (5, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year ago | (#43078443)

Because that's all it is really. And to a certain extent I sympathise with Tesla somewhat - Top gear did represent the car as a bit of a dud whereas in fact they weren't 100% truthful with what happened. But then I suppose if you let your car be tested on what is effectively a car based comedy show you shouldn't expect unbiased reviews.

Re:How do you prove harm to reputation? (1, Interesting)

PortHaven (242123) | about a year ago | (#43078545)

I think what Tesla did constitutes fraud and libel. Why can't companies be held to libel as easily as individuals?

Re:How do you prove harm to reputation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43078977)

What did Tesla do that constitutes fraud and libel?

Re:How do you prove harm to reputation? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43079185)

Fuck off you cunt. Tesla should've won this, too bad their lawyers aren't worth a fuck.

Re:How do you prove harm to reputation? (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about a year ago | (#43078675)

Tesla have thrown their toys out of the pram here, and it didn't go in their favour - Top Gear routinely say outrageous things about cars, but I've never seen a Vauxhall Astra blow up (despite Clarkson claiming that as a common fault with them) etc etc etc.

Its an entertainment show, nothing more.

Re:How do you prove harm to reputation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43078943)

I got one because of it and was seriously disappointed when it didn't.

Re:How do you prove harm to reputation? (1)

DrXym (126579) | about a year ago | (#43079119)

I think you'd throw your toys out of the pram too if your billion dollar investment was unfairly dragged through the mud and harmed for the sake of a review with "colour". See also the NYT review. I suppose the only silver lining for Tesla was they learned not to trust journos to tell the truth and enabled logging.

Re:How do you prove harm to reputation? (5, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#43078873)

Top Gear is always far more harsh to American cars then any other countries cars, and they always misrepresent electric cars.

I enjoy the show, but I am sure to have a grain of salt...the size of me head.

Re:How do you prove harm to reputation? (4, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about a year ago | (#43078881)

Top Gear is an entertainment show, not a documentary. I wouldn't believe the results of any of the "testing" they do on there if I were looking to buy a car.

The kind of people who buy the cars featured on Top Gear couldn't care less about whether it was panned on Top Gear or not.

Re:How do you prove harm to reputation? (1)

91degrees (207121) | about a year ago | (#43078949)

The dishonesty didn't affect the fundamental points though. They did have a brake failure. The cause of the brake failure may have been a blown fuse, but presumably the circuit is there for a reason.

And they said they'd get about 55 miles of track time from a full charge. This seems to be true. Are Tesla claiming that the remaining charge would have given the car 145 more miles on the track?

Exaggerations (5, Insightful)

RazorSharp (1418697) | about a year ago | (#43078459)

The people at Tesla should have watched an episode of Top Gear before they let those guys drive their car. Clarkson trashes anything he disapproves of -- that means most American cars, Japanese cars, and anything 'eco-friendly.' It was obvious they were exaggerating when it came to the Tesla but they had a valid point. You can't drive that thing balls-to-the-wall around the track without running out of juice super quick, and it takes a long time to recharge. That makes it a no-go for track enthusiasts, precisely the crowd it could appeal to.

For most people, going to the track is an expensive and time-consuming activity. They don't have time to wait for their electric car to recharge, they want to get the most out of their weekend at the track as possible. A muscle car or Italian super car may go through fuel like mad, but filling it up takes mere minutes. That's the point Top Gear was making, they were just being real mean about it. Anyone who thinks that Clarkson and the boys don't bullshit for the sake of entertainment just haven't seen the show. It's pretty obvious when they are exaggerating or staging something. In the end, the opinions they give are genuine, however full of bias they may be.

Re:Exaggerations (3, Informative)

Psyborgue (699890) | about a year ago | (#43078581)

They didn't have a valid point. The car did not run out of power. The show portrayed the car begin pushed, as i if it actually had. That may not have been an explicit lie (i mean, you can push a car that's full of gas, too), but it sure as shit is a misleading, asshole move. The car, fully charged, will get you over 300 miles, as I understand it, though less so at very high speeds. It can fast charge in an hour or so to 80%, which isn't so bad, even long distance. In a pinch you can charge it off a regular power outlet, though that takes a lot longer. The point being that unless you're trying very hard and ignoring the car's very clear warnings, it will not leave you stranded any more than a gas car will.

Re:Exaggerations (3, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about a year ago | (#43078705)

Yes, it will leave me stranded more than a gas car will - with an electric car, I have to plan my journey well ahead of getting into the car, while with a petrol or diesel powered car I can make sudden, unplanned 300 mile journeys without thinking about it.

That might change in the future, but right now its the balls bare reality of electric car ownership.

Re:Exaggerations (2)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#43078981)

But you could not have done that when petrol cars where new either.
Also, super charging station are being put through the UK, and on the West cost of the US. That means a full chard in an hour. So it's getting their.

All that is besides the point. The CLEARLY implied the car was out of juice when it wasn't.
For the VAST majority of car drivers, not being able to take a 300+ mile road trip without stopping does not apply to them.

Re:Exaggerations (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | about a year ago | (#43079183)

Petrol cars aren't new though. Thus the contrast.

There were no charging stations in the UK when the programme was made. Can you point at a single "super" charging station now?

That model had a 200 mile claimed range, not 300. You've just added 50% because, bawww, that's why.

Re:Exaggerations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43079155)

Yes, it will leave me stranded more than a gas car will - with an electric car, I have to plan my journey well ahead of getting into the car, while with a petrol or diesel powered car I can make sudden, unplanned 300 mile journeys without thinking about it.

Yeah, you're right. All we have to do to keep dino-juice cheap enough to fill up your gas-guzzler is to plan to keep sending our kids to sudden, unprovoked, and pointless wars to die.

Gotta say, that's a pretty fucked-up view of "cost".

Re:Exaggerations (4, Interesting)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about a year ago | (#43078729)

Also, does it really matter that it didn't actually run out of power? Should the Top Gear production crew have driven the car around the track for another 30 minutes just to get it to die, so they could get the shot legitimately when the point was the same?

Re:Exaggerations (2)

captainpanic (1173915) | about a year ago | (#43078731)

It is a TV show. They fake lots of stuff. They test cars, then report on that in a very subjective way. Anyone can see that.
All Tesla are essentially claiming is that it is the wrong subjective way. It's a stupid and empty claim. You might as well sue Sesame street for portraying people as having spherical orange and yellow heads.

The show is from the UK, which is in Europe, which means you do not get a disclaimer or a warning with every little detail. The show pretends to be objective, but is completely fake. And also, it is not a free advertisement for the cars they borrow (they will borrow cars from private owners of the cars, not necessarily from the manufacturers). Deal with it.

Re:Exaggerations (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#43079011)

Except the point of contention wasn't subjective. The STRONG implied the car ran out of energy when it didn't. That is not subjective in the least.

Re:Exaggerations (1)

91degrees (207121) | about a year ago | (#43079101)

If Clarkson had driven the extra 5-20 miles and actually run out of power, and they actually had to push it back, would Tesla's sales have suffered less?

Re:Exaggerations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43078751)

If you run out of fuel, can you walk a mile or two to the nearest station and pick up a can electricity to dump in the tank?

Re:Exaggerations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43078913)

Statistically, most people do not run out of fuel within walking distance of a petrol station. And you should be able to recharge a Tesla with jumper cables, using the battery of another car.

To turn your argument around: can you refuel your car at home?

Re:Exaggerations (5, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year ago | (#43078789)

They certainly did have a valid point. They weren't even trashing the car, I've seen that episode half a dozen times and they rave about the acceleration, the quality of the interior, the handling... But, at the very end, they go on to say But! We had all of these maintenance problems. The breaks failed, the charger failed, the battery ran out of juice after 60 miles... etc... I believe he even said "It's just not ready yet" and a truer statement could not have been made. In the future, electric cars will be great. They are not great now. They took the car on a racetrack, that's what they do... this car sucks on a racetrack. This car is priced in the range of Porsche, Mazaradi, etc... it was compared to them and found lacking.

Mod parent up! (Re:Exaggerations) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43078953)

My kingdom for a mod point....

Re:Exaggerations (2)

hedwards (940851) | about a year ago | (#43078895)

It was a valid point, and anyways, it was hardly the only problem they had with the car, remember the brake failure? The one that isn't really a brake failure because apparently, having a wheel seize up isn't a brake failure if it's just the fuse. Or some bullshit like that.

And, from what others have done, the battery gauge is just as inaccurate as in any other device, remember the other feud that Tesla is having with the NYT over its review of the car?

The point is, that it was Tesla's figures that estimated how far the car would go without a charge, not Top Gear's and they have a finite amount of time in which to film an episode which requires them to schedule thing like this. The brake failure though was 100% real. Which is probably why they didn't run it around the track a few more times to fully run it out of power.

Re:Exaggerations (1)

Motard (1553251) | about a year ago | (#43078991)

They said they worked out that on their track the car would be out of juice after 55 miles (or whatever). That was the point. After that they'd have to put it away. They never drive cars of any type into their garage. They're always pushed in. This was simply demonstrating that without going through the unnecessary step of actually running it out.

They didn't have a fast charger. So that wasn't an option. They did note that they could charge it but it would take something like 16 hours with their outlets.

Re:Exaggerations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43079071)

Give it up, they had two cars at the Top Gear track, both failed. Granted, they weren't out of power, but one gear/software problem and another braking issue rendered both cars inoperable until Tesla's small army of engineers nursed them back. You and I will not have that luxury in the real world.

Re:Exaggerations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43079099)

It might get 300 miles if you drive at 55 the entire way. If you're driving around a track, braking hard then accelerating at full power to speeds approaching 100, many times a lap, you're going to get a range that isn't even comparable. Perhaps, say, 55 miles. Just a number I'm pulling out of the air there. That's 30 laps around the Top Gear test track. Maybe an hour of driving.

They could easily have driven it to exhaustion, they just didn't want to dedicate the time to it. It's still a big, real problem with driving the car on the track, and simulating it is a perfectly fine way to highlight that.

Sorry your darling electric car isn't perfect in every way.

Re:Exaggerations (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | about a year ago | (#43079159)

Congratulations, you just added 50% to the claimed range of that model. That may not have been an explicit ...

Re:Exaggerations (1)

eigenstates (1364441) | about a year ago | (#43079253)

Annnd you didn't watch the segment on Top Gear. The brakes broke on the first one. Charging the battery back to full takes -far- longer filling a tank of gas. When they drove it hard around the track, I don't know, like a sports car, the batteries didn't make it very long. The weight distribution with all those batteries in the middle is atrocious. The things they said happened did happen and they are all valid points. They did tart some of it up to get good shots.

In that same episode May points out the correct method of powering a car of the future, with hydrogen. Not toxic, useless, ancient battery technology.

Re:Exaggerations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43078599)

Yes, the TOP GEAR crew can be very unpleasant in their evaluations, but they do so from the view point of "gear heads" that are the ones that want bang for their bucks [pounds, euro]. Why Didn't Telsa give the vehicle to the US version of TOP GEAR? Because only a small group watch that lame show, will UK TOP GEAR is an international success.

Re:Exaggerations (1)

DrXym (126579) | about a year ago | (#43078907)

Who drives a thing balls to the wall around a track though? It's a totally artificial test of the manner in which the car would be typically used.

Re:Exaggerations (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#43078941)

That makes it a no-go for track enthusiasts, precisely the crowd it could appeal to.

This is where you fell on your ass. This is not a car for track enthusiasts, who are willing to spend a lot more. Because you can't afford one, you think that all the people who can afford one are in some sort of mystical class that doesn't exist.

It could only do 55 miles on the track (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43079009)

No, it's not an exaggeration, it is the exact fact, the figure of 55 mile on the track came from Tesla themselves.

The claim from Tesla came from a willful misinterpretation of the *FACT* Clarkson stated. The claimed that Clarkson had implied that the car would only go 55 miles on the road.

The judge look at it and said no. 55 miles on the track is not 55 miles on the road and nobody would confuse the two.

They had no case, the lawsuit was simply to attempt to suppress bad reviews. Top Gear won and would never have lost.

To Gear response to Elon Musks attack on them:


" We never said that the Tesla’s true range is only 55 miles, as opposed to their own claim of 211, or that it had actually ran out of charge. In the film our actual words were: “We calculated that on our track it would run out after 55 miles”."
Elon Musk had tried to raise a straw man to knock down.

"We never said that the Tesla was completely immobilized as a result of the motor overheating. We said the car had “reduced power”. This was true."
Indeed it was true.

"Tesla claims we were lying when we said the brakes were “broken”. They now say that all that had happened was that the fuse to the vacuum pump had failed, which meant that the brake just had to be pushed down much harder than usual. Well – to my mind, if the brakes are broken, then they’re broken, and if this happened to your car, you’d take it to the garage to get it fixed. Odd it seems so trivial to Tesla now, because on the day of filming they insisted on repairing the fuse before we could carry on driving the car."

You know, many of you swallow the straw man arguments Elon Musk puts forward as if they are true. They're not, he *pretends* a critic has made claim X, because claim X is easier to knock down, than the unpleasant truth they actually said.

Re:Exaggerations (1)

SecurityGuy (217807) | about a year ago | (#43079205)

That makes it a no-go for track enthusiasts, precisely the crowd it could appeal to.

I don't get this at all. An electric car makes no sense to me for track enthusiasts. I'm not one, but if I were, I think I'd want something that goes really fast, sticks to the ground through the turns like it's on rails, and yes, refuels quickly if I want to play for a long time. I can't think why I'd want an electric for this purpose.

It's like reviewing the world's best dump truck. Tesla's not building a track car any more than they're building a dump truck. Expecting it to be good at something it wasn't designed to be good at isn't journalism, even at the automotive gearhead level, it's just stupid.

So many typos (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43078465)

Aghh...so many typos. Does no one proof read!

Good for Top Gear (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43078509)

Perhaps the best show in Television.

Battery powered cars ARE rubbish.

Tesla is nasty! (2)

Thrill Science (2845693) | about a year ago | (#43078513)

Say anything negative about them, and they may sue! Sadly, most electric car people are whiny holier-than-thou cultist types. I drive a Volt and I've had LEAF people walk up to me in parking lots, unsolicited, to tell me that my car isn't really an electric car or to gloat about their "all electric" car. I'm embarrassed to be part of the "electric car" community.

Re:Tesla is nasty! (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#43078649)

Is the Volt worth its price? How long can you go on the battery alone, on your average week?

Re:Tesla is nasty! (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | about a year ago | (#43079097)

Before I moved last year, the Volt would have more than covered my daily commute (and then some) assuming I charged it every day. My commute WAS 20-miles round trip and the Volt gives 30-38 miles per charge. Even with shopping, the battery alone would have covered my daily driving... plus it has the gas generator onboard.

Now my commute is like 45-miles round trip, so I'd have to use a little bit of gas each day just for work.

Personally, I like the concept of the Volt. OK, it's not perfect and not full electric. But you know what, it does "good enough" in my opinion for a lot of average drivers: full electric for most of what you'd need, gas generator for longer hauls.

A lot of people "mock" it because it's not pure electric of whatever. But for a lot of people, it works just fine. In some cases, better. Some people would rather have both motors so they're not reliant on running out of charge before they reach their destination.

Personally, I'd love a rapid-charge full-electric car. But the infrastructure isn't in place yet. And I'd give ThrillScience a "thumbs up" if I ever saw him.

Re:Tesla is nasty! (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#43078827)

Say anything negative about them, and they may sue!

I drive a Volt and I've had LEAF people walk up to me in parking lots, unsolicited, to tell me that my car isn't really an electric car or to gloat about their "all electric" car. I'm embarrassed to be part of the "electric car" community.

Point out 2 things -

Manufacturing electric cars creates twice the pollution as manufacturing similar, conventional autos [guardian.co.uk]


the "fuel" from their vehicles most likely comes from pollution-belching coal and gas fired power plants.

That should shut them up.

Re:Tesla is nasty! (1)

wchin (6284) | about a year ago | (#43079037)

That article has been completely debunked because of outlandish starting assumptions. The amount of metal they modeled for a car electric motor was orders of magnitude off. Even a brief scan of that study reveals just complete and utter incompetence that I wonder if it was a high school project.

As for electricity generation, the beauty is that the mix of energy sources for electricity generation can change over time. It can be oil, coal, natural gas, nuclear, geothermal, hydro, solar, biogas, tide, wind, or more. For a gasoline car, it's basically oil + a bit of ethanol for the entire lifespan of the car. Even as it stands, where coal and natural gas are the primary sources of fuel, electric vehicles have lower pollution levels and lower greenhouse gas emissions (mainly due to a shift to natural gas as the predominate producer). It also matter where the pollution occurs, and power plants are typically not downtown. Further, in the U.S., a larger percentage of the energy mix for electricity is domestically produced and not subject to the pricing whims of other governments that are not friendly to the U.S.

Re:Tesla is nasty! (1)

wchin (6284) | about a year ago | (#43078965)

Slander/defame anyone, and they might sue! Including you! I bet there are scenarios where you would be willing to go to court for redress. No need to pretend you wouldn't do the same thing in a similar situation.

Your embarrassment and association is completely in your head. Whether or not someone is a jackass is their problem - there are plenty of jackasses out there with any number of issues. It might even be you at times.

hurray for objective analysis (1)

fermion (181285) | about a year ago | (#43078515)

Objective analysis is not always the best. It does, however, provide an opinion that is unavailable on advertiser supported review publications where the writers depends on the firms who product they review for revenue, if not kickbacks and straight out bribes. Something like this indicates a level of credibility.

If only the same decision was made when consumer reports told us that the Suzuki was unsafe to drive. Gain, an objective but not necessarily unbiased publication that stated the test methods and results. If only the courts did not believe tests results bought by Suzuki. While at the time all SUVs were dangerous, and people were not yet used to driving them, I cannot tell you how many SUVs I used to see toppled over on the side of the street where they were turning too fast into a driveway, Of course at the end of last year, after many people died in unsafe Suzuki's, they filed for bankruptcy in the US.

There is no reason that companies should not be allowed to make unsafe or subpar products, or that people should not be allowed to buy them, but we at least need to have the right to state that products are not up to par, and why we think so.

Proof? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43078539)

How does one prove, even with data, that sales that might have happened didn't happen?

Re:Proof? (1)

ledow (319597) | about a year ago | (#43078781)

You don't.

You proof that, since the Top Gear review, sales have decreased by a noticeable amount.

Or that some of your suppliers/investors raised concern over the issues presented that might hit upon their bottom line.

Or you interview potential buyers anonymously (e.g. through market research companies) and ask if the episode had affected their buying habits.

Basically, anything except go to a court - as an expensive, paid-for professional lawyer who's been told what they need to prove - and whine that you are right without any significant evidence to back up your assertion.

You don't need to prove the impossible. You just need to get off your arse and provide data that suggests there could be some link enough that might, possibly, one-day, in the right mood, convince a jury.

The fact that Tesla didn't probably means that Tesla couldn't, which probably means it didn't happen and Top Gear had nothing to do with their sales at all (i.e. the episode had no effect, or people were already steering clear).

And it was right to do so.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43078547)

All Tesla was doing was whining that they were 'environmental' (whatever that means) and so they ought to be allowed to have a clear shot at people's wallets.

Electric cars are a walking disaster area - they don't even do what they claim, and what they claim isn't what people want. That's why so few get sold - they are only bought by rich lefties who want to make up their environmental street-cred with other lefties.

In fact, the whole 'environmental' movement is slowly slipping into the sea, as people start to realise that most of it is a big scam, like Global Warming, and what isn't a scam is highly exaggerated. It's a strange mixture of fascism and Luddism, constantly preaching despair and catastrophe in a future which never seems to come, and I, for one, will be happy to see the back of it. I remember the predictions for a collapsed world made in the 1970s - by now we should be knee-deep in corpses. They don't exists, but that doesn't stop environmentalists continually spouting lying made-up statistics while feathering their own nests.

Re:And it was right to do so.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43078623)

" they don't even do what they claim, and what they claim isn't what people want. That's why so few get sold - they are only bought by rich lefties who want to make up their environmental street-cred with other lefties."

So it's like guns with raving mad right-wing lunatics. Got it.

Re:And it was right to do so.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43078857)

Yup - pretty accurate. In both cases we have someone buying an expensive and pointless toy that is of little use in its intended purpose.

Electric cars are crap at real-life traveling along real roads, unless you can find one which has chargers every mile. Similarly, assault weapons would be useful if you lived in Beirut or Somalia, and were part of a militia. If you use them for target practice, I can think of much more sensible target rifles. They are really just for hanging on the wall - and the Tesla is just for parking on the car-port...

Bah (1)

sunking2 (521698) | about a year ago | (#43078593)

A show that has run its course. I even went to bed early and didn't even finish last nights episode. It's really not been very entertaining the last 2 seasons and it seems forced.

Tesla, beginning of the end (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43078629)

with all these "they slated our car, lets sue them" lawsuits
simply nobody is ever going to objectively review their cars again !, they forget their friends are supposed to be the auto press, right now they are enemies and the journalists will be digging for dirt, what else do have Tesla to hide if they do this so early into their career ?, dig deeper

Re:Tesla, beginning of the end (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43078909)

Wow... you really completely let this one go right over your head.

Top Gear was not objective. At all. Some point to the fact that they are never objective and there was no reasonable expectation for them to be objective. But nevertheless, they aren't objective.

Similarly, the NYT article was sloppy. We expect better from the NYT. When Mr. Broder is sloppy and then mischaracterizes the situation, it does have a material impact. It is completely right for Tesla and Mr. Musk to object when they are mistreated, especially at this critical time. For NYT to be held in a high regard, they have to earn it each and every time. That's the nature of journalism and NYT has to live by that.

Elon Musk should get terminal cancer soon (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43078631)

It would be well deserved.

No surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43078699)

Don't mess with Jezza. (ask Piers Morgan)
That is all.

I'd still buy one (1)

tippe (1136385) | about a year ago | (#43078863)

(if I could afford it) even if all of the "bad" publicity was based on truth. The sheer automotive sex appeal of this car could smash through far more (so-called) negative publicity than this car has seen, so based on that I think the judge was correct in denying the appeal. If anything, anyone familiar with the car who is in the position to buy the car and who has heard the negative publicity (from TopGear, or more recently the NYT) has also heard the flip side of those stories and knows that they are (or could be) bogus. Tesla aren't losing any money because of this, and as others have pointed out, they are getting a lot of free (actually, not so free since instead of letting things go they decided to pay some lawyers to go to court) advertising.

Mixed feelings (2)

kannibal_klown (531544) | about a year ago | (#43078929)

Tesla is getting the shaft. They're doing some interesting things, and there was a point I could actually afford and want one of their cars... but I live in an area without lots of charging options.

On one hand, that newspaper review was borderline libel. They have the records backing them up and proved the newspaper reporter was a liar... though somehow the writer is trying to defend himself.

But Top Gear... I only watch it every now and then and it's pretty clear that a lot of their "reviews" are a bit sensationalized / comedic / petty. My "favorite" was when they found out the Cadillac CTS-V was actually a decent sports car... so they had to harp that the bell constantly chimed when the door was open. He showed the bit like 5+ times throughout the review and whined that "yes we know the door is open." Yet they failed to mention they left their KEYS in the ignition so the bell/chime was really saying "dude you left your keys in a car with an open door" At least the guy had to say "I can't believe I am going to say this, but this car is actually decent"

There have been others. The guys often have their minds made up about how much they dislike a car/company early on and decide to do comedy bits about this-or-that.

So really, you can't really be surprised that Top Gear decided to mock the Tesla for no reason. It's like if you decided to appear on on one of those old day talk shows like "Jerry Springer" and are surprised they decided to hit you with a "gotcha" or surprise pregnancy... what did you THINK was going to happen?

Tesla/Musk went after more journalists? (1)

guanxi (216397) | about a year ago | (#43079033)

I see a pattern here. Poor Tesla; such bad luck that journalists always pick on them.

Wow Musk needs to grow a pair quickly (0)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year ago | (#43079075)

Never seen such a spoiled brat in business in all my life. Its like he just assumes he has created the best product in the world and then anybody that doesn't think so needs to be sued out of existence.

First, Tesla may have created a nice looking vehicle but it is completely priced out of the range of the average person and so has no real world testing and performance numbers. Driving it in the "most ideal way" possible is not the way the average driver will drive this car, and until Tesla gets several hundred thousand vehicles on the road they have no right to claim the performance numbers they do. Instead of attacking people for claiming that it doesn't perform according to your website, embrace the criticism and start working on Gen 2 products that will meet, and better yet exceed, real life expectations.

Second, Musk needs to grow a set of big brass balls because people are going to criticize his car and company and he is just going to have to learn to take it. Shows like Top Gear don't like any car in existence, particularly electric vehicles, the show is built around the idea of ripping all cars to shreds. Top Gear is not a real car review show anyways, its a comedy show that involves cars.

Musk is going to have to realize he created a very expensive commuter vehicle. The argument made by Top Gear is that all electric vehicles have poor range and if you don't happen to be near one of those rapid charge stations when you are running out of power then you are spending hours charging your vehicle to get only another few hundred kilometers range. Whether that number is 400 or 300 or 200, it's irrelevant, it's still a limited amount of range compared to gas powered cars and therefore is not a valid alternative to gas powered cars unless all you are doing is running errands or driving to work.

Free speech prevails for once (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#43079143)

Always a good thing. Nobody was forced into believing anything. Libel and slander laws must be abolished. It is the action taken in bad faith that must be sanctioned, or at least ridiculed.

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