Tesla Loses Court Battle Against Top Gear


Tesla's much-publicized but ill-advised lawsuit against Top Gear has been in part shot down.

Score one for common sense. London high court Justice Tugendhat ruled that no reasonable person would have taken Jeremy Clarkson (who has in the past suggested that people who drive a Renault Espace are serial killers and those who obey the speed limit on motorways are pedophiles) completely seriously in his review of the Tesla Roadster. This part of the lawsuit centered around Clarkson's statement that he got just 55 miles of range from the battery.

Since this figure is so far below the figure quoted by Tesla, their claim was that Clarkson was implying that they had lied about the range. Tugendhat pointed out that Clarkson was driving on a track, and that conditions were not those found in the real world, making any range figures quoted irrelevant. There is still another part to the suit that is pending judgment, the claim that Top Gear staged the mechanical problems which the Roadster suffered from. Top Gear may yet lose this part, but it now seems unlikely.

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Frankly, we are not impressed by Telsa's behavior throughout this proceeding. Tesla also went after Car and Driver (albeit, not with a lawsuit) over a cold-weather test of the Roadster that yielded some pretty poor range figures. Thankfully, Nissan has set a much better example by issuing a simple statement that the events depicted in a Top Gear test of the Leaf EV weren't exactly as they appeared.