In the middle of autumn of 2008, Top Gear aired there regularly scheduled weekly car show where the Tesla Roadster was reviewed as part of the program. Jeremy Clarkson, the presenter who reviewed the roadster, generally praised the roadster’s quick acceleration, smooth handling and overall competent performance as a sports car. Jeremy Clarkson was even quoted saying,
“God almighty! Wave goodbye to the world of dial-up, and say hello to the world of broadband motoring!"
But according to the show, Clarkson ran out of charge 55 miles into his review, resorting to have to push the roadster back to the garage to be recharged.
Tesla’s spokesperson responded to the show’s segment by pointing out that the Tesla Roadster’s provided to the BBC never had a charge below 20% and, according to the show, never had a brake failure. After the controversy hit the BBC and major U.K news outlets, the BBC issued a statement saying how,
“The tested Tesla was filmed being pushed into the shed in order to show what would happen if the Roadster had run out of charge. Top Gear stands by the findings in this film and is content that it offers a fair representation of the Tesla's performance on the day it was tested”
Even Jeremey Clarkson admitted that the whole filming was a bit disorganized. To add insult to injury, the original episode was still re-aired a few months later.
On March 29, 2011, Tesla sued the program over libel and malicious falsehood, while simultaneously launching the website TeslaVsTopGear.com. On Oct. 19, 2011, the High Court in London rejected Tesla's libel claim. And just yesterday, the appeal court judge that looked over the case one more time agreed with the lower court’s decision,
“Viewers would recognize that Top Gear's high-speed track testing was quite different to a normal driving style.It would be obvious to a reasonable viewer ... that the range derived from track testing was not in any meaningful sense the car's 'true range"
Top Gear has two jobs, test cars and review them as well as provide entertainment. If Tesla didn't want their cars to be reviewed by them, then they shouldn't have allowed them on the show. A lot of cars have had bad publicity on Top Gear, and I don't think it is their faults, they simply give their opinions.
Nevertheless, you can’t fault a passionate CEO (Elon Musk) for trying everything he can to bring a good name to his company. He has his shareholders to answer to at the end of the day. In the meantime, Top Gear should reevaluate there standards of journalism as they stand.
Source: Silicon Valley Mercury News