For all the fun and hilarity Top Gear has given us for the better part of a decade, the show has also been a lightning rod of controversy as evidenced by the countless number of complaints and law suits the show – and BBC as a network – has received from just about everybody it has ‘offended’ since the show became a worldwide phenomenon.
Apparently, one of the recipient’s of Top Gear’s sometimes brash and swaggering wrath has decided to bite back.
Two years ago, the British show caused quite a stir on one of their shows for their sharp and pointed criticisms of the Tesla Roadster . Understandably so, it didn’t sit well with the folks over at Tesla Motors and after a few back and forth barbs with the British show, the California-based automaker decided to turn the other cheek – with the strong arm of a lawsuit.
According to Tesla, Top Gear’s whole review of the Roadster was predicated on their pre-existing grounds that electric cars don’t work – if you watch the video, you’re going to notice James May tease a future segment later on in the episode, debunking the notion of electric cars being the future of the auto industry – and in turn, giving viewers a distorted image of the Roadster as a completely unreliable and irrelevant car.
Tesla’s VP of Communications, Ricardo Reyes, elaborated on the issue through the company’s blog site. In it, he wrote that “the show’s script, written before the cars were tested, has host Jeremy Clarkson concluding the segment by saying, "in the real world, it doesn’t seem to work."
Top Gear has ruffled a lot of feathers on its show, but Tesla seems to be taking this very seriously. Whether BBC decides to engage in a sartorial volley with the American automaker is totally in their character, but in this instance, it looks like they may have to play nice and put on a serious look before facing an automaker that’s throwing libel charges at them.
Or, they could just avoid all the hoopla and just stop rebroadcasting the episode in question and set the record straight about the car. But knowing Top Gear and BBC, what are the chances of that happening?
Check out the controversial Top Gear segment after the jump.
Tesla Motors has based their whole business model on batteries. They kind of have to since, after all, they sell electric cars. Tesla’s Roadster contains 6,831 lithium ion laptop-style batteries and the company’s up and coming 2012 Model S will have around 8,000 lithium ion laptop-style batteries. This is why it’s such a surprise to hear Tesla CEO Elon Musk say that he doesn’t think batteries will be part of the breakthrough that really pushes electric vehicle transportation into the mainstream.
While speaking at Cleantech Forum in San Francisco, Musk said, “If I were to make a prediction, I’d think there’s a good chance that it is not batteries but capacitors [that will facilitate the breakthrough].”
Musk might be onto something. One of the biggest drawbacks to electric vehicles is the “range anxiety” caused by the very batteries that electric vehicles need to store their energy. Batteries not only take a long time to charge up, but the state of their charge is largely dependent on ambient temperatures.
Capacitors are a lot like batteries. They’re commonly used now in consumer electronics to maintain power while the batteries are charging. Capacitors can also release quick bursts of electricity and since they can withstand more charging cycles than batteries, they should last longer. The only thing that batteries have on capacitors is that they can store more energy.
Now we’re not engineers, but if Tesla was somehow capable of combining large capacitors with a battery, so that the capacitors could both run the car and charge the battery when the battery is depleted, and supplement it with regenerative braking and solar panels, they might just be onto something BIG. In theory, that could be a real self-sustaining car. That could also be just the breakthrough that Tesla needs to remain viable into the 21st century auto industry.
Tesla is out to prove that there is not such thing as a Grinch where they are concerned. In order to show appreciation to the hundreds of people who went out and purchased the Tesla Roadster , the California-based electric car manufacturer is filling Santa’s bag up with radio-controlled versions of the sports car and delivering them just before Christmas. Each owner received a Radiant Red Roadster with tan seats and a lovely Christmas card to go along with it. Now that’s customer appreciation!
Of course, the RC version won’t be able to hit the 0-60 mph in 4 seconds and it doesn’t feature the same electric drivetrain producing 248 HP, but it’s still a pretty faithful replica to the real thing, and one that can entertain the child in all of us for quite some time!
We don’t like to say it too much out of fear that we’d lose ‘cool guy’ points from all of you, but we figure that there’s no harm in saying it now. We enjoy and appreciate art, so much so that nothing gets us more excited than to see two of our favorite subjects being designed together to create one beautiful piece of automotive artwork.
Designed by artist Laurence Gartel, this Tesla Roadster Sport Art Car was covered In a psychedelic vinyl wrap with a colorful digital swirl design. This kind of artwork is right up Gartel’s alley, whose history with digital art goes all the way back to its seedling stages in the 70’s. With over 30 years of experience under his belt, Gartel was the perfect choice for Tesla and as evidenced by his work, the electric automaker really hit this one out of the park.
At this year’s Race Of Champions, Tesla wanted to prove that electric cars could race too, so they brought a racing version of their famous electric Roadster. Not much was done to the car in preparation for the race because, well, the Tesla can already make it to 60mph in less than four seconds and has a top speed of 125mph. All Tesla needed to do was prepare the interior for a safe and proper race.
The Tesla Roadster racing version received a rollcage, special signalized tow elements, and an electric circuit kill switch, while the driver and passenger seats were stripped out. A new driver’s seat made of carbon fiber was added to complete the interior.
"I’m lucky to have had a ride in the Tesla Roadster and I was really impressed. It’s silent but blindingly quick! I’m proud that The Race of Champions is leading the way in promoting green technologies in motorsport and it was fantastic to see – but not hear – such great drivers pushing the Tesla hard around this track," said IMP President Fredrik Johnsson.
Piloting one of the first ever electric vehicles to race in the Race of Champions was Formula 1 World Champions Sebastian Vettel and Alain Prost.
As a relatively new brand in the auto industry, Tesla has, for the most part, been a local US brand. But don’t sleep on the boys from California just yet; the brand has taken a big step in becoming more globally recognized after opening its first showroom in Asia.
The showroom, which is located just outside of Tokyo, is the brand’s first in the Asian continent. Opening its first store in Japan is a very sensible choice for Tesla considering that it puts them closer to their corporate partner, Toyota , who recently made a $50 million investment on the California-based automaker while also inking another $60 million deal for Tesla to help Toyota in the development of an electric RAV4 SUV .
Yet despite the opening of the store in Tokyo, the company is tempering their expectations as far as how many cars they’re going to sell. The only model that is currently available in the Tokyo dealership is the Roadster and the price tag attached to it - $150,000 – is two/thirds more expensive than what it costs in the US. That being said, Tesla has one thing going for it in Japan: electric vehicles are tax-free and eligible for government incentive cash payments in the country thereby curtailing the Roadster’s price tag by $40,000, giving it an end price of somewhere similar to its retail price in the US.
When we look back on our lives, we can clearly remember the day when we fell in love with the automotive industry. Although our experience was wonderful, this little boy’s adventure in aTesla Roadster 2.5 tops it.
In this video, a kid was taken out for a spin by his dad in their Tesla Roadster 2.5 and despite not knowing anything about the inner workings of the Roadster, the kid gives out a genuine shriek of both excitement and fear as soon as the dad pushed on the accelerator even calling for his mommy at one time, much to the amusement of the dad.
We know that the Tesla packs some power and we’ve had our share of exciting moments in one, but we never felt like this before. At this moment, this young fella just earned his wheels.
The Roadster 2.5 packs 288 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, helping it hit 60 miles per hour in just 3.7 seconds, although it seems like those two were going a bit faster that just 60 mph.
In a time where we see videos of supercars on a daily basis, this video is undoubtedly one of the best we’ve seen this year.
Well, it’s now official; Tesla Motors has just revealed that it has signed a deal with Toyota to develop electric powertrain components of the new RAV4 EV . Tesla will work on developing the battery, power electronics module, electric motor, transmission, and software for the crossover.
Below is Tesla’s filing with the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission:
On October 6, 2010, Tesla Motors, Inc. ("Tesla") entered into a Phase 1 Contract Services Agreement (the "Agreement") with Toyota Motor Corporation ("TMC") for the development of a validated powertrain system, including a battery, power electronics module, motor, gearbox and associated software, which will be integrated into an electric vehicle version of the RAV4. Pursuant to the Agreement, based on preliminary specifications, TMC will pay Tesla approximately $60 million for the development services to be provided by Tesla . The parties will mutually agree to the final specifications, deliverables and payment amounts and schedule within 60 days of the execution of the Agreement. This amount will be paid in various installments during the term of the Agreement.
Count Tesla in among the growing number of manufacturers that have seen their car models get subjected to one form of recall or another.
The California-based electric carmaker has issued a voluntary safety recall of the Roadster 2.0 and 2.5 models over fears of a potential fire hazard with the electric vehicle’s auxiliary power cable.
According to Tesla, the problem arose after the company discovered that the auxiliary cables had the propensity to chafe against the edge of a carbon fiber panel in the car, which could potentially lead to a fire behind the right front headlamp of the car.
As a result, Tesla has issued the voluntary safety recall of 439 affected models of the Roadster while assuring the owners that the recall is purely a precautionary measure and that the company is doing just to be on the right side of any potential accidents.
Owners of affected vehicles are being instructed to make an appointment for a Tesla service staff to inspect the auxiliary cable and fix the necessary problems to avoid further complications.
In the latest episode of Jay Leno’s garage, the King of Late Night was presented with the2010 Tesla Roadster Sport 2.5 . The electric roadster is powered by an electric motor (obviously) that delivers around 295 lb-ft of torque to the wheels via a single-speed transmission. The Tesla may carry an electric motor, but that doesn’t mean it can’t produce some incredible performance numbers. In fact, the Roadster Sport can make the 0 to 60 mph sprint in 3.7 seconds.
Compared to a standard Roadster , the Sport 2.5 version receives a new look including a new front fascia with diffusing vents and a rear diffuser reflecting the future of Tesla design. The roadster also receives new seats with improved comfort, larger more supportive bolsters, a new lumbar support system, and improved interior sound reduction with a new front fender liner material that makes the cabin even quieter.
Check out the two videos to see what Jay Leno had to say about the electric roadster.