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The Courts Transportation United Kingdom

Top Gear Fights Back At Tesla 369

An anonymous reader writes "Top Gear's producer Andy Wilman responds to Tesla's lawsuit: 'We never said that the Tesla's true range is only 55 miles, as opposed to their own claim of 211, or that it had actually ran out of charge. In the film our actual words were: "We calculated that on our track it would run out after 55 miles."' Interesting points, and as far as I can remember also correct. But I'm assuming Tesla is going the get the PR they want on this regardless of any court rulings."
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Top Gear Fights Back At Tesla

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  • by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Sunday April 03, 2011 @12:11PM (#35700100)

    A lot of the reporting seems to focus on claim it would only go 55 miles.

    A claim whose figure was from Tesla's staff. Should be interesting court.

    Top Gear was spot on about the real world implications - refueling time is one area electrics need to improve to be viable replacements, as opposed to short trip around town, vehicles.

  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Sunday April 03, 2011 @12:36PM (#35700254)
    The battery of the Tesla Model S can be swapped in 5 minutes [autoblog.com]. I don't suppose that's true of the roadster though.

    I would really like them to go one step further, and divide the battery into about 4 separate packs, so they could be lifted by a single person, but just as importantly so you can only carry 1 or 2 packs if that's all you need. It would greatly reduce the weight of the car, increasing efficiency and performance. My commute is only 20 miles round trip, which is about the national average IIRC.

  • Hurrah for BBC! (Score:4, Informative)

    by rogerdugans ( 902614 ) on Sunday April 03, 2011 @12:40PM (#35700270) Homepage

    It is great to see the BBC not succumbing to pressure from fools.

    I for one would not have been able to use a Tesla as a daily driver once in the last 15 years: between driving to work and travel during the day, 250 miles is not enough range. I would have been stuck someplace I could charge for the night at least half the time. And if anyone tells me I can fully charge an electric car on 120v US standard household current in 30 minutes I will call you a liar at this time in their development.

    The cars stopped functioning normally. That means "broken." If you have an internal combustion engined car with 2 of 4 spark plugs fouled and not firing is your car still fine but just operating with reduced power? No. It is broken and needs to be fixed. Next question!

    And the brakes were broken, end of story. How easy the fix was is irrelevant: the brakes broke. Done.

    As for a previous comment including Motor Trend as an example of "honest" reporting- seriously? That comment alone makes everything else you say suspect by association, man.

    If you watch the Top Gear segment remembering who is doing it- an entertainment show that loves fast cars that handle well, you will actually see that they LIKE the car but don't feel it (or any other pure electric) is ready for use by most of the motoring public.
    Which is a very accurate assessment.
    For the money, a Lotus (which the Tesla was based on) is a far more practical, useful and reliable vehicle and leaves plenty of money left for fuel and purchasing "carbon credits" for those who so desire.
    And yes, it goes faster too.

  • by Joao ( 155665 ) on Sunday April 03, 2011 @01:14PM (#35700498) Homepage

    A little disclaimer: I'm an environmentalist, I work for an international environmental organization, bicycle commuter, haven't owned a car in over 15 years, and spend my vacations volunteering at animal rescue facilities.

    I've been reading a lot of "the Top Gear guys are petrolheads who only care about big petrol engines" and such comments. One thing a lot of people seem to be forgetting about this case is that, on the same episode where they tested the Tesla, they also tested the Honda Civic Electric Fuel Cell. And guess what? They had nothing but high praise for the Honda.

    One may argue that they didn't push the Honda nearly as hard as they pushed the Tesla, but that is because they were holding each car to the candle of what each manufacturer claims. Honda claims their car is just a Honda Civic. Reliable user-friendly everyday transportation. So that's how it was tested it. Just like every other reliable user-friendly everyday transportation vehicle they test on the show. The Tesla on the other hand describes their car as a supercar. So they did the tests the same way they do all other supercars. On the track at high speeds. The Honda succeeded as reliable user-friendly everyday transportation. Yet the Tesla failed miserably as a supercar. That is all there is to it.

    So no, this has nothing to do with Clarkson being a petrolhead. Yes, he is a petrohead and an ass. Vey funny, but an ass nevertheless. I highly disagree with most of his opinions about just about anything. But I think both tests were spot on.

  • by chebucto ( 992517 ) on Sunday April 03, 2011 @02:42PM (#35701162) Homepage

    They didn't say "this car ran out of charge", but they showed the car stopping on the track, accompanied by the sound of the engine dying... they heavily implied it and it is disingenuous and weasely to pretend they didn't mean to show the car running out of charge.

  • by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Sunday April 03, 2011 @04:00PM (#35701816) Journal

    Now, I'm going to flip this on you a bit: You've been hurting from the gasoline prices lately, yes? Pretty much everybody is.

    Sorry to burst your bubble but, according to wikipedia [wikipedia.org] the battery pack for the Tesla model in question costs $36k and has a lifetime of 100k miles which is 36 cents/mile travelled to which you can add about 3 cents/mile in electricity costs (86kWh per full charge at 200 miles/charge and assume 7 cents/kWh). Current US petrol prices seem to be about $3.55 per US gallon [doe.gov] so for a petrol car to have the same fuel costs as the Tesla it would need to have a fuel consumption worse than 9.1 miles per gallon...which is about comparable to a hummer [wikipedia.org].

    So, unless the cost of petrol gets very significantly higher (by x3-4) or the cost of batteries drops considerably the fuel cost of an electric vehicle is significantly higher than a petrol driven one. I wish that were not the case but sadly, for now, it is.

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.