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Tesla sues Top Gear over rigged race

Discussion in 'Tesla' started by GrumpyCabbie, Mar 31, 2011.

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  1. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    Tesla are suing Top Gear (BBC) over claims a race between a petrol powered Lotus and the Tesla EV was rigged;

    BBC - Newsbeat - BBC denies rigging Top Gear Tesla Roadster car race

    This particlar race occured back in 2008 and a quick search from the forum shows that this race was contraversial back then;

    http://priuschat.com/forums/tesla/56813-bbc-top-gear-admits-tesla-didnt-run-out-juice.html

    I'm not entirely sure this is a good thing for Tesla to do as Top Gear is a UK programme (did you get this particular episode in the US?) and people over here don't like being sued willy nilly. I think it could create more bad press than Tesla thinks. There again, maybe the Top Gear 'claims' have had a negative effect on sales. We all remember the ridiculous race between the Prius and a BMW M3 where Clarkson claimed the BMW was more economical afterwards - I remember it as some bright spark customers of mine will always refer to it.

    Perhaps Clarksons biased big gob is going to get him in trouble at long last! :eek:
  2. telmo744

    telmo744 HSD fanatic

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    I'm not a bog fan of TopGear. I do give a laugh sometimes when watching it, but many other times, I find it boring, because they are very biased, restricted, and why not saying so, a bit clowny for a reputed programme. And it is interesting to find that they do know something about technical aspects of the cars - so it is for some purpose, that deviated way.
  3. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't think this is a willy nilly lawsuit at all. There are millions of people worldwide who watch Top Gear. Most of them are car fanatics. Many of them might have enough money to buy a Tesla. Some of those might have been persuaded by the episode.

    By that - round-about - logic, Tesla could argue that their reputation and the performance of the vehicle was slandered in a way that negatively impacts their business.

    Here's another article about it: Top Gear sued by Tesla Motors over 'rigged' electric car test | Mail Online
    If you can get past that picture of Jeremy, pay attention to the reference of a script which was written before the car was even delivered to the set. The script called for the car to be pushed into the hanger and Clarkson to deliver the line about it just not working in the real world.

    Top Gear can't have it both ways: they can't act like a serious car review show while at the same time acting like it's all just good clean fun and don't take it seriously. And in this case, fanning the flames of range anxiety by faking a situation is careless and, yes, slanderous.
  4. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    +1.

    They act like prats, but then expect to be taken seriously. That's the part that really bothers me. There is no method in their science.

    Tom
  5. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    Who said it was a serious car review show?

    I thought their reviews are their own personal opinions.

    Didn't two Tesla's break down? I've just sat and watched the clip of the show on the dailymail link and Clarkson was biased in my biased view! ;)

    He said "Tesla say it will get 220 miles range but we only got 55 miles out on our track." That was because you were hammering the arse off it Mr Clarkson! He didn't balance this on the clip. He could have said we only got 55 miles BUT you are likely to get more in everyday use. Clarkson also called it "An astonishing technical acheivement but in the real world it doesn't seem to work" which again is biased. It didn't seem to work on the Top Gear track BUT that ISN'T the real world!

    I still don't think Tesla should go to the courts as that is very American and won't gain them any friends anywhere in the rest of the world. What they should have done is re-approached TopGear and put their point across in a 'Top Gear' challenge, but humourous way. Maybe the boss of Tesla should have gone on with the car and raced Clarkson but also corrected the range issues. Perhaps a 'race' from London to Brighton and back etc.

    But jumping to the lawyers first will just gain them ill feeling round the World and I personally think that any company suing as quickly as this usually has something to hide.
  6. cit1991

    cit1991 New Member

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    They test the range using some EU standard test and get 211 miles. Great. Everyone knows that range is not some number set in stone. If you drive it hard, you use more energy. Range will drop.

    Top Gear did a good job of pointing out that with the Tesla, this effect drops the range to 55 miles. They are, after all, selling it as a sports car. I, for one, was curious what happens if you actually drive it like a sports car, as advertised. Answer, 55 miles of range.

    There is a statement in the owners manual that says taking the battery below 20% SOC can damage it, necessitating replacement. So, Top Gear stopped at 20% SOC. Now they say Top Gear is dishonest because it still had 20%. Who's being dishonest?

    The brakes failed because of a blown fuse. True, that's relatively small failure, but who cares. The brakes failed. It may be a non-event for a development engineer, but for an average driver, a brake failure is a very big deal.

    Maybe, Top Gear should have run it fully out of power at 70 miles, and really pushed it into the garage fully discharged...having damaged the battery. Then they could say...Run it out of juice at 70 miles (not 211), you destroy the multi-thousand pound battery, the brakes go out totally since the computers shut down, you spin off the track, and have to push it back to the dealer. Would they really have preferred that "more honest" report?

    Top Gear's not alone either. Car and Driver also did an article where a driver tried to drive from Ann Arbor to Saginaw and back (total 181 miles) and it did not make it. He had to find a hotel and charge it back up to get home. Tesla got all bent out of shape over that one too. Tesla

    I like my Prius because they said it'd get 50 MPG, and I drive it like a regular car and it gets 50 MPG. No excuses.

    I'd love a practical electric car. But, building one with a 120-mile real-world usable range, and telling me it does 210+ is not what I have in mind.

    They also abused a Mercedes C63, then said the tires only last 40 miles which would be inconvenient if you lived 45 miles from work. Mercedes didn't sue them. Pretty sad when the Germans can take a joke and we can't.
  7. PriusSport

    PriusSport senior member

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    Top Gear is a BS entertainment show. You don't go there for facts.
  8. JimN

    JimN Let the games begin!

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    What would the reaction be if Top Gear drove a Prius at top speed until it ran out of gas then drove it on battery as far as they could then dragged it the rest of the way to the garage then said, "We could only get 35mpg on the track and now the dealer has to recharge the battery which is probably damaged so this just won't work in the real world."?
  9. cit1991

    cit1991 New Member

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    A Prius won't let you damage the main battery. And it'll go a lot farther than 55 miles. That would be a boring segment. We drove a Prius very fast for 200 miles and it ran out of gas and stopped just like a regular car.
  10. JimN

    JimN Let the games begin!

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    The Gen2 & the Gen 3 act differently when run out of gas. The Gen3 will become a paperweight. The traction battery in the Gen2 can be pushed to slowly move the car about a mile. If pushed again it may go a bit further. Push enough times & it won't go at all. After such a discharge it's going to need to be resussitated at a dealer & the traction battery may need to be replaced.
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  11. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    Top Gear and Rush Limbaugh are the same sort of bottom dwellers. They want to be heard and carry influence, but hide behind the "we just entertain" excuse when the BS is challenged.

    Tesla will get publicity, and if they are real lucky one of the hosts will start a show by saying "we set up the Tesla as a joke. It was fuuuuny." I'll bet what really pissed off Tesla was agreeing to send them a car only to have it unfairly ridiculed. Other car companies should take note.
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  12. xs650

    xs650 Senior Member

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    The vast majority of Americans don't get British humor. I would also bet that the majotity of complainers don't watch Top Gear on a regular basis.

    The damaging part of the show was the unspoken fact that a Tesla can't run enough miles on a charge to complete a typical fun track day on a road course. 5 sessions of about 20 minutes and something over 100 miles.

    The other damning bit was that it's handling looked pig like. The numbers weren't bad but it wouldn't be fun the herd it around a road course.
  13. giora

    giora Active Member

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    I am a citizen of "the rest of the world" and do not agree.
    If they faked the test, if they twisted the facts or findings to fit some preset "conclusion" - they deserve a law suit, no matter if the fake was to create a climex to the show or for any other reason.

    Giora.
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  14. Flaninacupboard

    Flaninacupboard Senior Member

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    Did the comment about the C63 limit it's sales? No.
    Did the comment about the Roadster limit it's sales? Tesla believe so.

    They have a case worth hearing, but i don't expect them to win.
  15. xs650

    xs650 Senior Member

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  16. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    Nice defense, but didn't the Top Gear producer ignore the part where they pushed the Tesla into the garage instead of drive it to imply that the battery was depleted even though that was not the case ?
  17. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    I suppose it depends where the case will be held. If it's in the UK it'll be laughed off with Tesla being called cry babies. If it's held in California then Tesla will be awarded $500 million for hurt feelings and then will go bust in 18 months time because despite all the law suits the car still doesn't handle like a supercar should (imho).
  18. Flaninacupboard

    Flaninacupboard Senior Member

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    Grumpy, have you -seen- the Model S? I don't care how it drives, i want it's electric babies.
  19. cycledrum

    cycledrum PSOCSOASP

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    I watched the Top Gear episode where they basically ripped the Tesla a new one -

    link in TonyP's post.

    I wonder what kind of tires they had on it during the laps. Hmmm.
  20. cycledrum

    cycledrum PSOCSOASP

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    Wait a sec, did Tesla ever take a Roadster out to Laguna Seca, hammer it to get some idea what range it can get driven full out?

    If not, that would be an oversight. Roadster is a sports car. People take sports cars to trackdays all the time. Motorcycles too.

    I think it's a good thing to find out what the Roadster can do at the track. They will always be compared to fuel burning cars. There is no way around that. Tesla will have its strengths and weaknesses. There is no perfect car.

    I wouldn't find it too difficult to imagine the car ran out of juice at 55 miles if driven to the max. But I don't know. The range must be less than 200 miles in that case.

    Can't build an electric sports car and just talk about how far it will go when tiptoed through the tulips or even driven moderately.
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