- CREDIT: Top Gear

Did Top Gear Try To Ruin Tesla Back When They Reviewed the Roadster?

Elon Musk Reveals Some Insight on the Roadster Segment

3y ago

Way back in Series 12, Episode 7, Top Gear had a segment where Jeremy reviews the then new Tesla Roadster. If you recall the segment, the overall view of the Roadster wasn't very flattering, with numerous breakdowns and a false claim on the supposed road range, leading to a lawsuit in 2011.

Jeremy claimed in the segment that even if you engage in very spirited driving, the Roadster has a range of 200 miles between charges. He then took to the track to test the range but ended up with with a distance of only 55 miles before the batteries ran out of juice.

Tesla, understandably, was quite upset with Top Gear for defamatory comments because they had "intentionally or recklessly grossly misled potential customer purchases."

Tesla eventually lost that case, but that was then, and this is now. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has now come forth with some new information, stating that Top Gear had prepared a script for the segment before even taking delivery of the Tesla, which essentially prepared the part with the car breaking down.

Musk mentions in the video that when they dropped the Roadster off, they saw the script sitting on the table, which revealed the planned "breakdown" of the Roadster.

Musk said that particularly in Europe, investors kept asking why the car was breaking down on Top Gear, and to add salt to the wound, they kept repeating that episode.

So the big question here is: can these claims be believed? I am most certainly not pointing any fingers at Top Gear or Elon Musk here; I wasn't there so I can't prove what was written or said.

I suppose another question remains: What reason would Top Gear have to sabotage Tesla? Sure they haven't been shy about their dislike for electric cars, but the Tesla Roadster segment actually started off in a very flattering manner. At the end of the day, this really boils down to a "he said, she said" situation.



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Comments (28)

  • Surely this script would have been mentioned in the lawsuit, not just randomly remembered later. Case was thrown out, Tesla has a reputation for sour grapes.

      3 years ago
  • Okay, seriously, if he saw the script laying there and it talked about the car breaking down....then why in Gods name did he leave the car there with them? What a stupid argument. He lost, in court. Sour grapes for sure.

      3 years ago
    • Exactly!

        3 years ago
    • Tesla and Musk have a reputation for being ridiculously overprotective and for shouting down anyone who dares to say the cars have issues or faults.

        3 years ago
  • Question is not weather they fake it, the question is what else they faked??🤔

      3 years ago
  • I read some kind of interview of Clarkson about the event a long time ago. Essentially, yes they did script in the breaking down, but there is a catch. The car did break down on them on multiple occasions when they happened to not be filming which is what prompted them to script it in. Also, just ask George Clooney about his Tesla Roadster. He's been very candid about how many times it left him on the side of the road.

    I'm really annoyed that Tesla is put up on this holier than thou pedestal that can do no wrong. All of their products have been horribly unreliable... yes, this includes the Model S which has taken years of re-engineering nearly every part of it to get right. Model X had a horrendous launch and is still not there yet. They recently declined to hand over customer data to JDPower for initial quality survey because they knew it would be a PR nightmare.

    A buddy of mine recently bought a used 2013 Model S. I warned him up and down to review history of the car with Tesla forward and back to make sure they fixed everything. He blew me off, but later came back with the history report to share the results. He said, well, you're right, it looks like almost every part of the car has been replaced at some point, including the motor twice.

      3 years ago
  • As much as I like and look forward to Top Gear and Grand Tour , the "boys" always have been slanted toward high end fast Euro Cars. The more exotic the better . Even the Hampsters Opel got a better review , It hasn't been until Grand Tour that U.S. made autos got much attention and even then they are the more high performance vehicles . In all fairness Americas "Big Three", or two as the case may be , had it coming for resting on their reputations and producing disposable cookie cutters on wheels . Not since the 60s has the U.S. really stood out and only then because there were so few imports . That changed Detroit didn't

      3 years ago
    • EU not always anti US regarding cars just very different markets and once add in LHD only and a much higher price point all the advantages fade away. New RHD mustang spot on. Not quite M3 in ability but lovely V8 and cheaper. What's not to like

        3 years ago