Appeals Court Dismisses Tesla Libel Suit Against BBC’s Top Gear (Video)



The Gavel Dropped on Tesla...It's Over

The Gavel Dropped on Tesla…It’s Over

It appears that the Tesla libel suit against BBC’s Top Gear is finally over.

Earlier this morning, a UK appeals court dismissed the libel suit from Tesla Motors against BBC’s  “Top Gear.

The court rejected Tesla’s claim that Top Gear’s on-screen representation of the Tesla Roadster was “libel” and full of  “malicious falsehood.”

Tesla Motors claims Top Gear faked a scene (which is, of course, entirely accurate) that showed a Tesla Roadster running out of charge.  Tesla says the on-screen antics led to lower sales of the Roadster in Europe.

But, as we all know, Top Gear “fakes” most of it show.  That’s why Martin Moore-Bick, an appeals court judge in London, ruled against Tesla, saying that a “reasonable viewer” would not have believed that the Tesla Roadster’s range was less than the automaker’s estimate of “200 miles under normal driving conditions.”

Andy Wilman, executive producer of Top Gear, released this statement in response to today’s ruling:

“I am pleased that the Appeal Court has upheld the previous ruling and the case has been struck out.  I’d also like to apologize to the judges for making them have to watch so much Top Gear.”

Way back in 2008, Top Gear tested a Tesla Roadster.  With some camera trickery and foolish actions, Top Gear managed to “fake” the vehicles range.  The show claimed that the Roadster ran out of juice after only 55 miles, which we all know is inaccurate.

That’s why Tesla Motors struck back by filing a lawsuit.  Tesla claims to have lost out on some $171,000 in sales due to Top Gear’s fake review.

Finally, this lengthy and money-consuming ordeal seems to be over.

Note to self…Don’t sue Top Gear.

Please check out Top Gear’s questionable review of the Tesla Roadster prior to dropping a comment below.

Category: Tesla

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11 responses to "Appeals Court Dismisses Tesla Libel Suit Against BBC’s Top Gear (Video)"
  1. vdiv says:

    Another note to self, do not trust the media.

    1. Brian says:

      That shouldn’t just be a note – it should be engrained into your very soul 😉

  2. David Murray says:

    So does this give Top Gear a carte-blanche to just go fake some more reviews, then?

    1. vdiv says:

      It nullifies the libel laws in the UK. Now anyone can say, oh we just badmouth X because we sell entertainment.

  3. Bill Howland says:

    “…..Tesla claims to have lost $171,000 of sales on the fake review…”

    They sued Top Gear due to the loss of One Roadster sale? How much did the law suit cost Tesla?

    I’ll have to watch the Top Gear review. I would imagine they find all the flaws in the vehicle that we Roadster Owners find after living with the car for a while.

    I would imagine you would have to drive the car VERY HARD to get the battery to go dead in 55 miles. It does not have the same trouble in cold weather that the Model S has.

    One feather in the Roadster’s Cap is that it is currently, even though out of manufacture, its the ONLY PURE EV that you can take on a short roadtrip, in very cold weather, without plugging in.

    1. GeorgeS says:

      I thought the roadster also will heat the batteries if not plugged in in cold weather. Also I read that when the Roadster first came out that it used huge amounts of juice when plugged in to condition the batteries (be it A/C or heat) and Tesla had to work quite hard to get the losses down to where they are now.

      So could you please explain to (a non Tesla owner) how the Roadster does not have the problems of the S?

      1. Bill Howland says:

        @George S

        Incidentally, I called tesla on this and Battery heating while not plugged in will occur at -4 degrees when you start the car. I’ve never yet gotten the entire battery this cold (that’s the key, its really hard to do since the battery in the Roadster is in a square ish box), and its mostly in the passenger compartment, but it will take anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes to preheat before the car is driveable, so I’m told, and that’s perfectly acceptable since it loses not much whilst idle

        If the car is plugged in, it will as you say either heat the battery first (could take as long as 6 hours if plugged into 110 since by some strange anomoly the plugin heater only draws 8 amps, either at 110, 200, or 240). At 240, battery heating will typically take between 1/2 hour and 3 hours depending on how cold it is to start with. (The battery is heated at the start of charging when ever it is 35 degrees fahrenheit or less).

        The Model S ‘s battery is in a huge baking pan only a few inches thick. There’s an enormous amount of surface area here, and its basically uninsulated. Therefore, a Model S cannot charge outside using only the 120 volt cord in cold weather since the battery heat loss is greater than 1400 watts. The Ny Times driver lost 65 miles overnight in cold weather)..

        The car’s design defect, if you will, is that they overlooked putting some refrigerator foam around the thing. I’d fully expect this “lowtech” solution in S 2.0.

      2. Bill Howland says:


        “….when the Roadster first came out that it used huge amounts of juice when plugged in to condition the batteries…….Tesla had to work quite hard to get the losses down…..”

        Well, I don’t know the degree of effort required to tweek parameters in an existing working program (the engineer who wrote the code was probably one of the guys who met an untimely death unfortunately), but you are correct that they did upload a new slightly different program, mainly to take care of a changeout of a separate fan motor for the Inverter and Drive Motor, respectively… The new supposedly more reliable centrifugal blower set is a dual shaft 1/8 hp ???? motor (just guessing by the size and the noise) that runs 2 centrifugal blowers, and the 2 aux outputs from the inverter box that used to run two separate 1/16 hp motors now ‘track’ each other since the 2 outputs are parallelled (via wire nuts) to the single motor. I never had a problem with the old arrangement but supposedly Tesla did this so called “Class A” change on all Roadster owners who initially had the two seperate blower motors.

        Incidental to this change, they seemed to shut off the water pumps for the battery much sooner.. Before, the pumps seemed to run down to about 30-35 % SOC (state-of-charge),but now they shut off at around 80%, and also the quiescent battery drain seems to go down to almost nothing at this point. There is still a big inefficiency here (perhaps intentionally). If you charge the battery up to “max range” (244 miles), the ‘system’ will drain the battery down to 80% SOC over 5 hours or so to get the resting charge long tern under 80%. I read somewhere that high charges tend to shorten battery life, so I would imagine any battery string ballancing resistors (generating heat) are turned on to purposely drain the battery down to 80% SOC if you don’t drive off right away for battery longevity. Its a bit of a pain for me, since sometimes I’ll charge my Roadster up to 100% and then switch my 30 amp evse over to my volt, ( I only have one 220 volt evse for the 2 cars) , but then the Roadster will self discharge by the time i’m already to drive it . I have the same complaint with my Volt in that I’m smart enough to be able to afford the amount of moneys required to purchase the cars, yet I’m not trusted to make any independent decisions myself. This is especially unnerving when dealing with designed in defects with the vehicles, and you end up scratching your head trying to find a work around since the engineering depts of both Tesla and GM won’t talk to you since they assume you’re too dumb. I could have personally saved Tesla considerable embarrassment with the Model S, had they taken my advice. But that’s another story. I’ve mentioned it here before, but if you’re interested I’ll go into how my EVSE initially didn’t work at all with the Tesla Roadster and what I did to get it working, with no help from Square D (the EVSE brand), nor Tesla, although Tesla was cheerful about it at least, “Jeez! We hope you work it out Bill!! Of course, if you can’t figure it out, we do have our own Tesla Brand products to fall back on!!! HEHE…

  4. Bill Howland says:

    @Eric Loveday

    WE all know 55 mile range is inaccurate? You are including yourself? Are you a Roadster Owner yourself or have you driven the car for days on end?

    I guess what I’m queasy about here is How do we all know something? I have 21,000 miles on my roadster, and although the mileage is much better than that, I could easily conceive of hard test driving that would run the battery out in 55 miles. Therefore, I never understood how Tesla could have a case against Top Gear in this aspect at least. And there are plenty of embarrassing faults with the car that they probably highlighted.

  5. Nelson says:

    In other words Top Gear broadcast is a waste of time to watch.

  6. Bill Howland says:

    Just watched the video. Man I don’t see what all the excitement and Uproar from Musk was all about.

    Other than the usual amount of perfunctory British Arrogance and dissing of Coal Generating Plants ( I happen to in general, approve of our clean ones in the States ), I thought the review was actually quite fair, being very impressed at the acceleration but not so impressed with the brakes, handling or price. There were several other defects they weren’t either aware of , or were too nice to mention.

    How did anyone at Tesla think there was anything to Sue in this report? I thought, that if anything, they went easy on the car. No wonder Tesla Lost the lawsuit twice.