Tesla Sues Top Gear Over Roadster 'Lies'

By · March 30, 2011

Tesla has notified the BBC of its intent to sue the television show Top Gear for libel over what it says are misleading claims made about the Tesla Roadster in an episode that was first broadcast more than two years ago. In a blog post on its website, the carmaker said it was fine looking the other way when the show first aired, but that repeat broadcasts have persisted without any effort to correct what it called “lies and misinformation about the Roadster’s performance, behavior and reliability."

The specific charges, as quoted from Tesla's website:

1. The Roadster ran out of charge and had to be pushed into the Top Gear hangar by four men.

2. The Roadster’s true range is only 55 miles per charge (not 211).

3. The Roadster’s motor overheated and was completely immobilized.

4. The other Roadster’s brakes were broken, rendering the car undriveable.

5. Neither of the two Roadsters provided to Top Gear was available for test driving due to these problems.

This isn't the first time that the Roadster has crossed paths with the BBC concerning distorted claims about electric vehicles. Earlier this year, BBC reporter Brian Milligan made a successful four-day journey of 484 miles from London to Edinburgh in a Mini E—stopping along the way to recharge as needed. To emphasize the power of currently available electric cars to achieve vasty superior ranges to that of a BMW-produced test car that was never intended to go to market, a British Roadster owner jumped into his vehicle during the last leg of the reporter's journey and beat him to Edinburgh in less than a day.

The BBC says it will fight the suit.

If you'd like to watch the Top Gear segment and judge for yourself, check it out below:

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