back to article Judge: Top Gear did not libel Tesla

BBC merchandise cash cow Top Gear did not libel e-car maker Tesla, the English High Court ruled this week. In March, Tesla sued Top Gear over Jeremy Clarkson's 2008 coverage of the Tesla Roadster. The presenter said on air at the time that the e-car would run out of power after just 55 miles, well below Tesla's claimed 200- …


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  1. The Infamous Grouse

    Heheh... Tugendhat

    Sorry to resort to schoolboy humour, but the judge's name sounds like one of those portmanteau insults one would expect to find in the pages of the Profanisaurus. A complete and utter Tugendhat.

    In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Clarkson made a similar reference if this decision gets any airtime on the next series of Top Gear.

  2. Ralthor

    All that needs to be said....

    ... was eloquently said by the Stig.

  3. jake Silver badge

    For the record ...

    A friend of mine, total green-a-holic, bought one of these things. He's completely disappointed in it, says he can only get about 85 miles of "spirited" street driving out of it before recharging. In his own words "What good's a sports car that can't drive Hwy 1 from Bodega Bay to Mendocino without a stop for a recharge?"

    That's just under 100 miles ... He made the trip once, just out of curiosity, with an over-night recharge at a friend's house in Manchester both ways. That's four days/three nights on the road (including an overnight in Mendocino) for less than a 200 mile round-trip.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    At least for now

    Common sense prevails! about time too me thinks!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Remember the Fuel Consumption episode

    This was no different to an episode a while back where they were talking about fuel economy. Then set up a race around the track between 5 supercars where each was only given a gallon of fuel. I seem to recall the Ferrari died after about a lap. Since that Ferrari has about a 20-30 gallon tank (I think), it would probably have about 1/2 the range of the Tesla on the top gear test track.

    Remember in the same episode they also did an economy race between a Prius and a BMW M Series (I think). The idea was that the Prius went flat out around the track, and the M3 had to keep up. They checked fuel consumption after 10 laps and the M3 won. They then said the moral was fuel consumption was more to do with how heavy your right foot was, not what car you own.

    My impression of Clarkson et al is that they have been very fair to electric cars. When they reviewed the Nissan Leaf and Peugeot Ion they said that there were a lot of things about the cars that they liked. Just not the price tag, the range, or the length of time it takes to charge them.

  6. Lance 3

    "[This is] so great that no reasonable person could understand that the performance on the track is capable of a direct comparison with a public road."

    In the US Tesla would have prevailed. After all, a "reasonable person" would be suing over something like this anyway. In the US, you can sue for spilling hot coffee on yourself, even when the cup says that it is hot and steam is coming out of it.

    1. Not That Andrew

      The case in America was not about hot coffee. It was about scaldingly hot coffee just below boiling point miss-sold and miss-lalbed as hot coffee. It caused 2nd and 3rd degree burns to the woman in question and she needed re-constructive surgery.

      1. Naughtyhorse
        Thumb Down

        utter bollocks

        scalding hot/hot whatever If you just bought it you'd expect it to be hot and try not to spill it (not least because the purchasing of said beverage implies an intent to drink it), they got sued cos their customer was a clumsy fuck - but a clumsy fuck with a good lawyer.

        and the whole world pisses itself as merkin lawyers screw the whole country with it's pants on

        what a joke

      2. lotus49

        McDonald's coffee

        This is both more and less stupid than it seems.

        The stupid aspect is that the woman had a cup of hot coffee wedged between her thighs while driving (she was actually the passenger but the point stands). Apparently, if you pour boiling water all over your vagina, it hurts and isn't very good for you - who knew?

        This strikes me as idiotic beyond belief and I have zero sympathy for her.

        The slightly less stupid aspect is that there are regulations in US about the maximum temperature that retailers can sell coffee. Apparently, people in the US don't know that coffee is hot, so in order to protect them from their own idiocy (see above) they can only buy lukewarm coffee. McDonalds sold coffee that was above this temperature. The rule may be daft, but McDonalds was in breach of the regulation, which is why the silly cow was successful in her legal action.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          You've never heard the phrase

          Never let the truth stand in the way of a good story have you :)

          I've always avoided finding out the real reason for this woman winning as I like to pontificate about how silly merkins are on suing each other over such things.

          you've runied it for me. ;-)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yep, dumb move - and presumably the end of the free publicity and pretty filming Top Gear are famous for.

      Most of the petrolheads(?) likely to buy one watch Top Gear and they don't care what Clarkson thinks, part of the joke is how little he actually knows. Its pretty obvious that all the stunts and races are staged, most wouldn't be possible otherwise.

      I like Top Gear, but its Last of The Summer Wine with cars not a serious motor show - in the UK that would be Fifth Gear which is far more earnest - though hardly anyone watches it as a result.

      1. IBM3270

        "I like Top Gear, but its Last of The Summer Wine with cars" - LOL. Absolutely spot on.

  7. teebie

    Food isn't supposed to be dangerous.

    If spilling a foodstuff on you requires extensive surgery then the foodstuff is too hot.

  8. Edward 2
    Thumb Down

    "The presenter said on air at the time that the e-car had run out of power after just 55 miles, well below Tesla's claimed 200-mile range."

    No he didn't. Clarkson said:

    "Although Tesla say it will do 200 miles we worked out that on our track it would run out after just 55 miles"

    And by "we", he meant calculations made by the Tesla engineers, for driving under race conditions (as the Judge pointed out).

    I dare say lots of people came away with the impression that the car ran out of battery power, which is fundamentally what this lawsuit is about, but on the evidence I've seen, Top Gear didn't misrepresent the facts -- unlike this Reg article, and many similar write-ups.

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