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High Court Rules In Favor of Top Gear Over Tesla Remarks 328

Posted by timothy
from the we-all-win-when-top-gear-wins dept.
esocid writes "In 2008, BBC's 'Top Gear' aired an episode featuring the Tesla Roadster. One of the show's car reviewers, Jeremy Clarkson, gave a less-than-flattering analysis of the vehicle, sparking a legal case with the automaker that doesn't seem to be working out in Tesla's favor. Now, it looks as though Tesla is losing this battle after a full-day hearing yesterday at the high court in London. 'In my judgment, the words complained of are wholly incapable of conveying any meaning at all to the effect that the claimant [Tesla] misled anyone,' said [Mr. Justice] Tugendhat. 'This is because there is a contrast between the style of driving and the nature of the track as compared with the conditions on a public road [...] are so great that no reasonable person could understand that the performance on the [Top Gear] track is capable of a direct comparison with a public road.' The hearing now continues on Tesla's claim that 'Top Gear' made five other false accusations about the Roadster. Tugendhat has postponed judgment on Tesla's malicious falsehood claim, and is expected to deliver a verdict in the coming weeks."
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High Court Rules In Favor of Top Gear Over Tesla Remarks

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  • Tesla (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 0123456 (636235) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @06:07PM (#37784200)

    Don't seem to realise that Top Gear is a comedy show.

    • Re:Tesla (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ackthpt (218170) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @06:10PM (#37784256) Homepage Journal

      Don't seem to realise that Top Gear is a comedy show.

      Top Gear allows us nobody/poor sods the vicarious thrill of watching a sports car race a fighter jet. I for one praise them for it.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Top Gear is great, but it also shoulders the blame for the creation of Top Gear USA. To make up for that we need more good segments and less reviews of normalish cars.

        • What the hell is wrong with Top Gear USA?

          Top Gear UK sucked until oh, season 4. At Season 2 they're doing much better than TG UK was doing at S4. Plus I really do like Adam and Rutledge. I've warmed up to Tanner, but...

          • by digitig (1056110)

            What the hell is wrong with Top Gear USA?

            Top Gear UK sucked until oh, season 4

            That would be about 1980? I think you have to come to something far more recent.

          • Re:Tesla (Score:5, Insightful)

            by slimjim8094 (941042) <slashdot3@@@justconnected...net> on Thursday October 20, 2011 @10:01PM (#37786628)

            Top Gear USA can't piss off their (car company) sponsors *too* much. Top Gear UK is funded by the BBC, so they don't give a rat's ass about making fun of or otherwise demeaning the car companies. It's what gives them their power.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Don't seem to realise that Top Gear is a comedy show.

      Yes, but you don't seem to realise that the Brits take their humour *very* seriously.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by blair1q (305137)

      Nor do many of its viewers.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anaerin (905998)
      Really? Because they've been nominated for, and won, several BAFTAs in the "Factual" sections.
    • by sjbe (173966)

      Don't seem to realise that Top Gear is a comedy show.

      It's a comedy show much like The Daily Show is a comedy show. Both are genuinely funny but both also make some very serious points while making you laugh as well.

      Honestly though, I can't imagine any car manufacturer honestly expecting to get a fair shake from Clarkson and company. I believe the opinions they give are actually honest (it's what makes the show genuinely interesting) but they also come into car reviews with strong prejudices about the likely outcome. They tend to typecast car manufacturers

  • ... high up in the food-chain at Telsa Motors should read this wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect [wikipedia.org]
  • So Jeremy said some unflattering things - take those and use them the make improvements, or at least perceived improvements.

    Buick made a car, about 25 years ago that had buckets of power but handled like a cow - they still sold them out. How? General Motors appealed to the emotions and egos of would-be drivers, not their rational minds.

    Tesla would do well to take a page from that book. Their car doesn't need to be perfect, just satisfy the ego-massage of would be owners.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by h4rr4r (612664)

      Or they could make a good car.

      GM should not be an example to anyone.

    • by newcastlejon (1483695) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @07:20PM (#37785142)

      It wasn't just what Clarkson said, it's also what was shown: a Tesla being pushed into a garage, ostensibly running out of power mid-test. I was very disappointed with Aunty when I learned this was staged*. Between that, the overly farcical "accidents" and a dearth of tests on normal cars I could ever buy I just stopped watching.

      *I'm not a complete idiot; I know batteries run out, but was an accurate portrayal of the car's range really too much to ask?

    • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Thursday October 20, 2011 @07:38PM (#37785338)

      He also said some downright false things, for example that it had run totally flat and had to be pushed back into the garage by the crew to be recharged before they had finished filming when in reality the car had 20% charge at minimum, as logged by the onboard computer - in other words, they didn't manage to run it flat during the shoot, but the script (which Tesla saw) called for the ending of the piece to show the car "limping" off the track under human propulsion.

      I saw the piece when it originally aired (I'm a Top Gear fan), but they really went for the throat at the end. The review was reasonably fair up to that point - they had a lot of positives to say about the car, along with some downsides. There was no need for them to lie at the end.

      They did something similar in the latest electric car piece (with the Leaf and some other car [possibly a Peugeot]) where they "comically" ran out of juice in the middle of a town with nowhere to recharge after "setting off for a day's driving" - it was revealed that they set off with low charge in the cars to begin with.

      Their position on electric cars seems to be "say some nice things, but then make sure we ram home the point that they have batteries that need to be charged, herp derp!".

      Like I say, I'm a fan of the series and have been since before the current Clarkson/May/Hammond setup, but the stuff about anything that runs on alternative fuels is just getting tiresome.

      • by Lord Crc (151920)

        He also said some downright false things, for example that it had run totally flat and had to be pushed back into the garage by the crew to be recharged [...]

        He said no such thing, at least in the episode I watched. What he did say was

        This car then really was shaping up to be something wonderful. But then... [cuts to shot of the Tesla losing power followed by the car being pushed into the garage] Although Tesla says it does 200 miles, we worked out that it would run out after just 55 miles.

        Emphasis and errors are mine.

        So yeah, the images were overly dramatic which makes the whole thing seem bigger than it is, but that's not really that uncommon in the news world now is it.

        Reference: http://www.topgear.com/uk/videos/electric-shocker [topgear.com]

        • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Thursday October 20, 2011 @08:52PM (#37786036)

          I saw the episode when it first aired. He said "[we wanted to do some more shots] but look what happened" in the VO that showed the car being pushed into the garage by hand, strongly implying that the battery was flat when it could easily have driven off the track under its own power, since it had 20% left.

          They faked the battery being flat, in other words. They just didn't *say* "the battery went flat", which seems to be have all they needed to do to ensure they were legally "not lying".

          • by Lord Crc (151920) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @09:28PM (#37786336)

            I saw the episode when it first aired. He said "[we wanted to do some more shots] but look what happened" in the VO that showed the car being pushed into the garage by hand

            I saw the episode when it originally aired as well, and I quite distinctly recall mentioning to my buddy that it was silly to estimate the range by the usage on a race track, since nobody would, or should, drive like that on public roads.

            I think you're mixing it up with the part that comes a bit later, where he says

            And it appears you don't get much in the way of reliability either.
            [Shot of Tesla driving slowly along track] Oh I don't believe this, the motor's overheating and I got reduced power.
            [Exterior shot] While it cooled down we went to get the silver car out again.
            [Shot of silver Tesla in garage with doors open] Only to find that while it was being charged it's breaks had broken. So then, with the lights fading, we had no cars at all.

            I haven't followed the case closely, I have no idea how this specific segment holds up.

      • . . . the Tesla review was really nothing compared to the rock-throwing attack they tried to fake in Alabama:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdOpKv9D7rA [youtube.com]

      • by Solandri (704621)

        He also said some downright false things, for example that it had run totally flat and had to be pushed back into the garage by the crew to be recharged before they had finished filming when in reality the car had 20% charge at minimum, as logged by the onboard computer - in other words, they didn't manage to run it flat during the shoot, but the script (which Tesla saw) called for the ending of the piece to show the car "limping" off the track under human propulsion.

        This particular episode of Top Gear was

  • by Dunbal (464142) * on Thursday October 20, 2011 @06:11PM (#37784272)

    1. Receive half a billion dollars [thedailygreen.com] in federal grant money.

    2. Spend it on expensive lawyers to defend your "brand" overseas in the UK despite having sold less than 2000 cars in the whole world since the company started.

    3. ???

    4. Er, profit? It will take off any minute now. I promise.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      That is a loan not a grant. You have to pay back loans, not grants.
      2. This is what every company does
      3. build Model S and Blue Star
      4. Profit or be bought out by Toyota

      • by Dunbal (464142) *
        It's only a loan if they pay it back. However that doesn't look good [jalopnik.com]. But look on the bright side, for 400+ million dollars the company created 900 or so jobs. So, about half a million dollars per job, you're happy with that are you? Government efficiency.

        This is what every company does

        No, other car companies make money. Besides GM I mean.

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          You might want to consider Chrysler too.

          If you got a sweet heart loan would you not ask for another?

          Government efficiency has nothing on the waste I see in the private sector every day. Big business is big business, private or public it is all the same racket.

          • by Coolhand2120 (1001761) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @06:57PM (#37784842)
            There is no profit shark at the government, they have no interest in turning a profit, being efficient or saving money, if it's not efficient so what? The government can't go broke they just tax, print, borrow. Look up "base line spending" if you don't agree. The government has trillions of dollars in debt and is taking in less tax revenue but in the last 5 years has increased spending by 33%. If a private business behaves like the government for too long it will cease to exist.

            If a private company had a 401K plan like the government has social security, and the CEO borrowed money from the 401Ks like the government constantly borrows from SS, the CEOs would be in federal prison for a very long time. The government has no metric for success, they do stuff just because. It doesn't matter if people actually benefit from what the government does, they get paid anyway. Not the case with private business. It doesn't matter if it's a total abject failure that kills people and brings misery, it's still "a good thing" because the government is doing it, the "war on drugs" is a wonderful example of this. If it took too long for the pizza to get to your house do you get your money back? (yes) If it took too long for the cops to get to your house when you dial 911 do you get your taxes back? (no). If a private person or business wrongs you there is recourse in the courts. If the government wrongs you, you're just fucked (sovereign immunity)

            So ya, huge difference.
            • The DMV is often held up as a synonym for government inefficiency. And yet I can be in and out of Santa Clara DMV in under 20 minutes when I need to renew my license, less if I have an appointment. And with each passing year they add more services to their website, so the crowds going to the physical office keep getting smaller. Not bad for a place where you had to bring a good book and resign yourself to spending half the day only ten years ago.

              On the other hand I've been known to be kept waiting in a bran

            • by Forbman (794277)

              But a shareholder like Carl Icahn (note, he hasn't done this...) could come in, buy enough shares, enough to put his own crew on the board, perhaps hire a new president, and do just that, all in the name of "increasing shareholder value", in this case, sucking idle cash out of the company. Oh, wait... that DID happen in the 80's with leveraged buyouts, etc.

              • by Firethorn (177587)

                One thing about 'leveraged' buyouts - These guys would borrow the money to buy the company, using the company's assets as security for the loan. Just like buying a house or car - the company being bought became the collateral. Thus the usage of the term 'leveraged'.

            • . The government has no metric for success, they do stuff just because. It doesn't matter if people actually benefit from what the government does, they get paid anyway.

              Their metric for success is getting reelected, if we vote them out, they are out of a job. The fact that we aren't that great at picking leaders (much like the shareholders of HP or Yahoo) is hardly their fault and entirely ours.

        • by BasilBrush (643681) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @06:58PM (#37784860)

          I've worked in many jobs over the years, mostly private sector, some public sector. In my experience the private sector is far less efficient than the public sector. Your misconception is common and comes from confusing efficiency with making a profit.

          The private sector's objective is to make a profit, and they'll tend to limit themselves to those activities that can make a profit. The public sector deals with those things that still need doing regardless of whether there's money to me made.

      • That is a loan not a grant. You have to pay back loans, not grants.

        Well, usually. If the company goes bankrupt, then the loan is likely to be written off. There is a fairly common dodge that goes something like this:

        1. Set up two companies.
        2. Company A gets massive government loan and invests it in R&D.
        3. Company A goes bankrupt.
        4. Company B buys the IP and other assets cheaply from the receivers
        5. Government and other investors get the small amount that company B paid and write off the rest of the loan.

        This is one of the reasons why bank loans to startups are either at a v

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          Sure, but we gave all the banks a grant in the same way. Loans below market value. If you are rich it seems you can get lots of free money this way.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      Despite the current stupidity, Tesla has come a long way in making affordable electric cars a reality. The Roadster went for $109k and the Model S is expected to go for only $60k or there abouts. The cost is in my view expensive, but there's a fair number of people out there even now that could afford to spend $60k on a car.

      The more significant thing is that they can charge it in a few hours on household current.

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        The cost is in my view expensive, but there's a fair number of people out there even now that could afford to spend $60k on a car.

        Sure, but that doesn't mean they'd want to spend $60k on a car that's less capable than a $30k Honda Civic or a $60k BMW.

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          Define less capable. It looks nicer and surely out performs the Civic on the 1/4 mile. Anyone who would buy a Model S would not be seen dead in a Civic.

          • by locust (6639)

            It looks nicer and surely out performs the Civic on the 1/4 mile.

            For the same money you could actually go out and buy a lotus elise, not just a car that looks like one.

            • As I understood it, the Tesla Roadster *was* a Lotus Elise, albeit hacked to pieces to fit the electric engine, batteries, etc. in place of the typical internal combustion engine and gas tank.
            • For the same money you could actually go out and buy a lotus elise, not just a car that looks like one.

              And in doing so end up with a car that is a FAR less interesting than the Tesla. Not like the Lotus is a practical vehicle either.

        • by hedwards (940851)

          Well for starters there are the folks that would prefer not to be subsidizing terrorism via paying for gas.

      • by GrahamCox (741991) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @07:00PM (#37784896) Homepage
        The more significant thing is that they can charge it in a few hours on household current.

        The roadster has a 53kWh battery. Thus to charge it in a "few", (say, 3) hours will need ~17kW, which is 70A at 240V, assuming you have 240V, which is not the standard voltage in the US, I know. I don't know many homes that would be capable of handling that amount of current, so the claim looks unreasonable.

        More realistically, if you had a 240V/35A supply, you'd be looking at 6-7 hours charging. Not so bad, but that's still a very hefty current you're pulling- it's like having an electric oven on full blast for 7 hours. Your bills are going to go through the roof, though I guess it could still work out cheaper than petrol.

        A 240V/13A supply will need 17 hours to recharge. That's a typical "household current" socket in the UK, Europe and Australia, but I don't really call that a "few" hours.
        • by mjwalshe (1680392)
          and if a lot of houses put there cars on charge over night its going to do terrible things to the national grid.
        • by Forbman (794277)

          Hmm... anyone with an electric clothes dryer in the US or Canada probably already has at least one 240V 40 or 50 amp circuit in their house...

        • by kf6auf (719514)

          Yes, the original poster isn't quite right, but you are ignoring the fact that EVs are basically designed to be topped off every night instead of only filled when it gets near empty, as is typically done with gas cars. GP should have said that you can charge it from empty overnight on household power (240V/35A). Even most US houses have this anyway because electricity is delivered on +120V and -120V wires, and it's just that most appliances that aren't electric ovens, dryers, and/or air conditioners, run

          • Yes, the original poster isn't quite right, but you are ignoring the fact that EVs are basically designed to be topped off every night instead of only filled when it gets near empty, as is typically done with gas cars. GP should have said that you can charge it from empty overnight on household power (240V/35A).

            One word: Garage.

            Unless you have an enclosed garage which is not filled with bikes/lawnmowers/detritus, you have nowhere to charge it. Electric cars are perfect for city dwellers. But frequently c
  • by TWX (665546) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @06:12PM (#37784280)

    I don't know if Tesla submitted the vehicle to Top Gear themselves or if Top Gear sought one from an intermediary, but anyone building an automobile must expect that television shows that review automobiles will probably review theirs, in their own way, and will probably state exactly how they feel about it. Top Gear in particular won't hold anything back if they don't like a vehicle, and are known for being biased, usually in a humorous, way, but still biased.

    If Tesla wants positive reviews, they need to build a car that gets those reviews from testers. For the most part Top Gear uses the types of tracks that are available to companies that build cars, so if they want to excel at a specific type of track they have the option to engineer with that in mind.

    If not, there's always Motor Week...

    • by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @06:16PM (#37784352)

      It was nothing about the track or the cars actual performance. Clarkson hates electric cars and is the sort of dimwit that thinks hydrogen power is going somewhere. He will use any reason real or imaginary to knock any electric car. They should have known that going in.

      • by sdguero (1112795)
        I didn't read this particular article but was following the case before and I thought the issue was that the car Top Gear tested did not meet the manufacturer claims regarding miles per charge.

        Oh, and the capabilities of electric cars ARE way lame right now. I hope they get better, but manufacturers lying about their performance metrics isn't going to make me like them more.
        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          I agree completely, but Clarkson hates electrics and they should have known that before they sent the car over.

          I do disagree about the term capability though. They have lots of torque and power, range is the issue.

          • by sdguero (1112795)
            Don't forget time to charge. Having to wait 8 hours every time you need more energy sucks... :(
          • by SenseiLeNoir (699164) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @07:00PM (#37784894)

            Wrong, clarkson does not hate electric, he actually likes the idea of them. He has pointed out this in many places, just google it.

            His problem is:
            The batteries are currently bulky yet have poor range.(he has concerns on the safety of Li.ion in huge sizes in a car)
            And...
            It takes too long to charge

            So short range with ages to charge means its not practical for many uses, except in town for short journeys.

            This is also why he likes hydrogen fuel cell, because it's still electric, but the "capacity" is greater, and filling up is quicker, making it more practical.

        • Clarkson and the Top-Gear team are the ones that do the lying. Have you never seen the show? If you think they're giving accurate appraisals, particularly of vehicle types they have distain for, they you're very gullible.

          • by sdguero (1112795)
            Yeah. I like the show. They are car guys with a tendency towards the old school... Like me.

            If they don't like something, they say so. I appreciate that, even if I don't always agree with them (but I usually do...:)
            • by fiannaFailMan (702447) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @08:25PM (#37785766) Journal

              I actually disagree with a lot of what Clarkson says, but I still enjoy listening to him, particularly when he's gushing over an Aston Martin or the latest "Jaaaag". My only gripe is that when he's coming up with blatant mistruths or reading from dubious "trains cause more pollution per passenger mile than cars" research, I wish James May would act like his hippie character and call him on it. The banter between the characters is supposed to be a means of conveying technical information in an entertaining manner, I wish they would use it when it comes to the positive side of alternative power sources.

              • by sdguero (1112795)
                Well he certainly takes an "ahem" unpopular view when it comes to the ICE and his idea of modern conveyance. Personally I'm more like Clarkson, and I am usually dubious of any "green" claims about efficiency. I'm not particularly familiar with the train stuff you're talking about but I will say that trains are awesome for cargo, especially in a large country like the USA. But when it comes to people, not so much, other than trollies and subways in urban areas (I so ride the trolly in San Diego a couple time
      • by EdZ (755139)
        No, it's more about arguing terminology. Tesla claim that the car did not 'run out of power', meaning the batteries did not go flat. Top gear claim it did run out of power, because it hit the 20% battery charge limit and throttled down to a speed that was unusable for track testing. Tesla claim the brakes did not fail. Top Gear claim that the power assist shutting down and requiring the driver to step HARD on the pedal was a failure (especially during track testing).
        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          They have driven cars on that track that lacked power brakes at all, so that seems a bit harsh.

      • by eepok (545733)

        Hydrogen fuel cell is electric. Clarkson has said in the past that hydrogen fuel cell cars are the *best* electric option to his (then) knowledge because it doesn't require plugging in for hours and draining an already strained power grid while still burning fossil fuels to power the cars. Of course, I don't think he fully understood the difficulty of obtaining and transporting hydrogen (most recent research and breakthroughs excluded).

        He thinks the electric cars need to be made un-fun to be made green (loo

        • by subreality (157447) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @08:30PM (#37785830)

          There's no problem obtaining and transporting hydrogen. You make it at the fueling station from water and electricity - the exact inverse reaction that occurs in a fuel cell. Of course, that electricity comes from the grid, the same as it would if you were generating the hydrogen at a central station.

          With either batteries or hydrogen, the grid is capable of supporting 90% of our transportation needs, right now, no upgrades required, even in California. The trick is that we have to do the bulk charging / electrolysis off-peak. Why is that a deal-killer?

          • There's no problem obtaining and transporting hydrogen. You make it at the fueling station from water and electricity - the exact inverse reaction that occurs in a fuel cell.

            Unfortunately, that's only almost true. Electrolysis is not very efficient, so it's not the exact inverse reaction.

            In any case, a hydrogen economy does not solve our fossil fuel problem; it merely moves where they are burned.

            • Moving where it's burned is worthwhile as long as we're being efficient, which batteries are, relatively. Power stations are cleaner than cars.

              It DOES solve the problem if we generate electricity from non-carbon sources. Wind and nuclear are good choices, but solar has some problems if we need to charge batteries at night.

              • by LingNoi (1066278)

                If you look up solar heating of salt and storage it seems pretty viable for some places. I've only recently been looking at it, they focus light into one spot which will heat anything up over 3600 degrees. They heat some kind of salt up to this temperature and can store it for many hours at this temperature too meaning they can generate electricity throughout the night.

          • The majority (99%) of the worlds hydrogen is made from hydrocarbons believe it or not (natural gas). Hardly a solution! Yes you can make it from water - but it is not efficient - and you would be better off using that electricity to charge a battery vehicle.

      • by mjwalshe (1680392)
        Really hydrogen fuel cells have a lot of advantages - we have a network of petrol stations which could be converted - and at the levels of power required to recharge electric cars in a relatively quick time your going to have a lot more horrific accidents.
      • by tompaulco (629533)
        Clarkson makes fun of many different cars on the show. The difference is that making fun of electric cars is not allowed. Just like how people make fun of Jesus all day long, but if you make fun of Mohammed, then suddenly you've got a death warrant out on you.
    • will probably state exactly how they feel about it. Top Gear in particular won't hold anything back if they don't like a vehicle

      They can talk about how they feel all they want, and they should mock the hell out of actual failings, but they shouldn't lie or mislead.

      The judge is right, none of their words are lies. However, look at the theatrical presentation: After a short time on the track, they show the car decelerating, then being pushed back into the garage. No, they didn't say the battery died on them, but they started talking about the fact that it would go far less than it's rated mileage on the track (which is true; you don

    • by evelo (1786080)

      If Tesla wants positive reviews, they need to build a car that gets those reviews from testers.

      That will never fly here for the same reason that the American Top Gear will never come close to the spirit of the original. This is a BBC thing: sponsors don't pay for the show... people do. Without worry of offending sponsors or friends of sponsors or potential future sponsors, Clarkson can pretty much express any personal opinion he wants. We have a word for that here in TVland: "terrorism".

  • Follow Koenigsegg (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eepok (545733) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @06:25PM (#37784460) Homepage

    Koenigsegg put a super car on Top Gear. It was not good enough. There was not enough down force in the rear, the car lost control, and it crashed. Top Gear said, "This thing REALLY needs a spoiler."

    Koenigsegg sued Top Gear. Just kidding, they put a spoiler on it and sent it back to Top Gear. They took it around the track again and it got an amazing time. No crashes.

    No, I'm not saying that Top Gear can instantly diagnose car problems and their words should be heeded at all times. What I'm saying is that Koenigsegg made off with massive good PR by taking criticism from some of the most watched television personalities in the world, improved their car, and, showing no hard feelings, gave the car back to them. They didn't call mommy and daddy claiming their driver crashed their car. They didn't claim slander. They knew that they had the opportunity to show how dedicated they were to making an amazing car and took it.

    Tesla, well... We breed them litigious here.

    • Koenigseegseegsiegsiegesg said that what caused the crash wasn't just the lack of down force, it was the chassis and suspension setup, but they threw the spoiler on there anyway and the Stig set a hell of a time.

      Your point stands.

    • Re:Follow Koenigsegg (Score:5, Interesting)

      by subreality (157447) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @07:23PM (#37785178)

      The Koenigsegg had a design flaw, so they fixed it and resubmitted it.

      The Tesla performed without problems, but they made it look like the battery died unexpectedly. What's Tesla supposed to do? Put a bigger battery in and resubmit it so the show can complain that the extra weight makes it harder to push back to the garage?

      • The Tesla broke down. Both of them. Top Gear stated so on the show. This was before Top Gear got footage that addressed their concern over battery life and charge time, which were legitimate. So they used existing footage while talking about the problem. This is after they explained both cars had broken down for other reasons.

        Top Gear acted responsibly within the constraints they found themselves in. Because both Tesla cars had broken down.

        Did I mention that both the Tesla cars broke down?

    • by jo_ham (604554)

      So the criticism they need to act on is "your car ran out of power"?

      "But it has 20% left in the batteries, see this computer monitors the car, or didn't you think we'd look at the car's systems?"

      "whatever, it ran out of power!"

      Top Gear modification: reports 0% charge when there is 20% left. Genius!

      (I am a fan of the show, but they were serious dicks over this whole thing).

      • by eepok (545733)

        The criticism (faked or not) is that electric cars driven like super sports cars do not last long enough on the track. Regardless of how it played out on television, Tesla could have sent a response to Top Gear saying, "While we hope our regular drivers will not need to drive like Clarkson does on the track, we understand the demand for longer run time and are working on further extending the drive. We're not through, yet."

        Clarkson would have praised that. And thus his audience would have praised that. And

        • by jo_ham (604554)

          How long does a Veyron last when driven like that on the track? It's not long, I assure you!

          They're claiming a double standard in that case, since a high performance track car is going to guzzle fuel and you can "limp it off the track" on empty and refill it, certainly, just like you can roll the Tesla off the track and plug it into a high-cap charger to fill it up again. Yes, it takes longer to recharge the Tesla than it does to "recharge" a Veyron or an Elise etc, but it's not the 13 hours they like to su

    • by ShakaUVM (157947)

      >>Tesla, well... We breed them litigious here.

      I watched the episode, and then read what actually happened. To be fair, Top Gear really did fake their results and report that the Tesla is shit as a result.

      This lawsuit has let Tesla tell its side of the story, which is the most important thing. (Without it, people on /. would be claiming Teslas are shit cars and linking to the TG story...)

      • by eepok (545733)

        I hold Slashdot to a much higher standard than you do, then. I think Slashdotters would assert that Teslas, driven like combustion sports cars on a track, are shit. I really don't think they would omit that very important qualifier because that's the only thing Clarkson tested-- track performance relative to a combustion sports car.

        For further reference, check out the episode where a BMW M3 gets better mileage than a Prius.

        Test conditions:
        Both cars fill up and do 10 laps.
        Prius was driven as fast as possible

  • Lies / Truth (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tirefire (724526) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @07:07PM (#37784978)
    Top Gear used lies to tell the truth.

    Tesla used the truth to tell lies.

    This whole thing is ridiculous.
    • If Tesla treats a BBC show this way. I'd hate to think what will happen to a new Tesla owner when he brings back his car for some warranty work. I can just imagine the Tesla employee at the counter yelling his lungs out, liar!! Liar!!! You wrote that the brakes were bad on the intake form!!! The brakes were not bad!!! It's the fuse to the brakes that got blown, that's why they didn't work!! This root cause makes a huge difference!! I think you just put 'brakes' down to create some kind of drama. You're such

  • by O('_')O_Bush (1162487) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @07:27PM (#37785202)
    I'm convinced that Tesla is run by weasels.

    They know they produce an inferior car to most well below their price points in terms of performance, but instead of being honest and working hard to improve the car or lowering the price, they sue those that call them out on it.

    As far as I have seen, their strongest ad campaign has been through drag races against the Dodge Viper and the Porsche GT and those are very apples-to-oranges races. The Porsche and Viper are 180mph+ cars and are geared to do so; the Roadster is geared to do about 125mph.

    Low gearing will allow many weak cars get to 60 quickly, and the motor's weak performance really shows in the quarter mile (12.7s@104mph <Viper is 12.9s@113mph first gen, 10.92@127mph current gen>).

    Its no surprise that the rest of the car is lackluster as well, but a lot of their problems could be solved if they lowered their profit margin a bit (or raised the price) and created a product that stood on its own without the smoke and mirrors tactics.

    Being thin-skinned is an understatement. In my opinion, they go out of their way to be liars and cheats and it seems they will do anything to hide that behavior.
    • by sjbe (173966) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @09:41PM (#37786450)

      They know they produce an inferior car to most well below their price points in terms of performance...

      Any car that costs more than about $50,000 is well into diminishing returns on the price. Nobody buys a $100,000 car because it is a rational economic decision. You are well into conspicuous consumption territory which has nearly nothing to do with any reasonable evaluation of performance per dollar.

      As far as I have seen, their strongest ad campaign has been through drag races against the Dodge Viper and the Porsche GT and those are very apples-to-oranges races. The Porsche and Viper are 180mph+ cars and are geared to do so; the Roadster is geared to do about 125mph.

      I have a truck that is geared to do about 125mph but I'm pretty sure it won't beat a Viper in any race. Fact is that electric motors should be very good at drag races and the Tesla bears this out. And frankly who the hell cares if a car can go 180mph? You will never, ever drive it that fast. In fact I'd wager to say that close to no one who reads this has been much over 140mph unless they actually race cars or live in Germany. I guess it makes for good marketing but it's a retarded statistic. Like buying a first generation Hummer when you live in the suburbs - it makes no sense whatsoever.

  • Tugendhat - is he related to Tophamhatt? Together, they seem to have cornered the ground locomotion market. The barons are back!!!

Somebody ought to cross ball point pens with coat hangers so that the pens will multiply instead of disappear.

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