Tesla sues BBC’s Top Gear for libel

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.

Source: Tesla Motors

What do you think?
Show Comments


  (762) posted on 07.1.2011

Yeah, I agree that electric cars are not reliable! And it seems that Tesla doesn’t react that much about this issue! Well, Top Gear UK has come back for all new season. I hope to watch more critic on Tesla’s production vehicle!hehe

  (429) posted on 07.1.2011

Well, I really agree on them when they say that this electric car is not reliable. Well, I guess their episode for the Nissan Leaf support on what they are talking about.

  (580) posted on 06.10.2011

Errr, What’s the real proof of accusation? I really can’t believe that Top Gear boys are into this kind of situation. Maybe Tesla has been very sensitive lately to some issues they are dealing today.

  (380) posted on 04.15.2011

Even if it sound so biased,I have the same opinion just like what Top Gear has said. Electric cars are just a lame production and needed a lot of research to be more reliable!

  (345) posted on 04.6.2011

I have read the arguments that Top Gear presented in their defense. These actually are reasonable assertions, but Tesla also has some good points.

  (407) posted on 04.5.2011

Well, as I have said, this one is going to be quite lengthy, Top Gear has also aired their side already. But it seems that both sides isn’t going out easily on this.

  (142) posted on 04.2.2011

Top gear exaggerates when talking about cars. Tesla is a good car, its not made to speed and burn tires all day long. Its still one of the first of its kind. There’s not many cars that do what Tesla does with electricity. Tesla roadster is only a beginning.

  (449) posted on 04.1.2011

Well, I do believe on the point of the Top Gear boys, that electric car doesn’t work ! And I think not only them but a lot of experts out there will say the same. I think TESLA has been doing this because of popularity sake. 

  (559) posted on 04.1.2011

The episode was like aired two years ago right? So why is it only now that Tesla is acting up? But then again, they have all the right to go up on this one.

  (434) posted on 04.1.2011

Yeah, I do agree that the hosts of Top Gear already have a preconceived notion that electric cars don’t work at all. You can easily notice that when they review a new electric vehicle.

  (498) posted on 03.31.2011

Well, this is certainly one deep mess that the boys have gotten themselves into. I think they have yet to deal with finality the whole Stig-gate brouhaha last year and this pops up.

  (25) posted on 03.31.2011

At least someone raised a voice on the misguiding show. These shows go to any heights to increase their popularity and at least they should have made their research properly before coming to any conclusion. after all they are creating impressions on millions.

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