Ex-Top Gear Co-Host Jeremy Clarkson Changes His Tune About Tesla


DEC 12 2017 BY EVANNEX 72


Jeremy Clarkson and the controversial 2008 Top Gear segment featuring the original Tesla Roadster (Image: Autoblog via BBC)


In 2012, BBC’s TV show, Top Gear, became the most widely watched TV program in the world. Part of the reason for the show’s wild success was it’s outspoken, controversial co-host, Jeremy Clarkson. However, the controversy came to a head in 2015 when he was fired from Top Gear. Over the course of Clarkson’s career, one of his most publicized, albeit ill-conceived, targets was Tesla.

Clarkson has since reunited with the old Top Gear gang for The Grand Tour, a relatively new show on Amazon entering its 2nd season..

And RadioTimes reports, “Tesla will appear in the second series of The Grand Tour, almost ten years after Jeremy Clarkson’s infamous Top Gear Tesla car review that resulted in a three-year legal battle. Tesla attempted to sue the BBC show for libel following Clarkson’s Top Gear film on the Tesla Roadster in 2008.”

Although the automaker didn’t win the lawsuit, the Roadster’s problems portrayed in Top Gear’s segment were fabricated/scripted into a skit as “entertainment” even though it didn’t reflect reality.

In any event, regardless of the previous bad blood, “Clarkson has revealed that his Amazon series will feature a new Tesla car, with The Grand Tour presenter saying it was time to ‘revisit’ what the company has been getting up to.” Clarkson explained, “We have got a Tesla in this series, the first one for a long time. We got it by ‘other means’. We didn’t borrow it from Tesla.” This week, Mashable released a short teaser from Clarkson, see below.

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Matt Pressman.

Above: Jeremy Clarkson could be rethinking Tesla (Youtube: Mashable Daily)

Referring to the automaker’s lawsuit, Clarkson said, “You know they sued and lost, then appealed and lost that again? The courts found in our favour. I did a very fair and honest – cruel, but honest – report on how terrible that first Tesla was. Since then they’ve changed a lot, so we thought it was time to revisit and see where they are now. And in many ways it’s extremely impressive that new Tesla.”

What is Elon Musk’s take on Jeremy Clarkson? In 2013, he told the BBC that the automaker was, “… in the worst possible position for someone like Clarkson. Clarkson’s [Top Gear] show is much more about entertainment than it is about truth… I think most people realise that but not everyone. I’ve actually enjoyed a lot of his shows. It’s not as though I just hate Top Gear or anything. He can be very funny and irreverent. But he does have a strong bias against electric cars. His two pet peeves are American cars and electric cars, and we’re an American electric car. We’re in the worst possible situation for someone like Clarkson.”

Above: Elon Musk reflects on the Top Gear incident and discusses Jeremy Clarkson (Youtube: BBC Newsnight)

Now, it appears Clarkson may (finally) be reconsidering his views. Top Gear certainly has — the show has since featured the Model X. Did Top Gear have a different opinion on Tesla after Clarkson’s departure? One of the new hosts, Rory Reid, went so far as to proclaim that the Model X is, “an electric car that might just do to petrol and diesel what the Ford Model T did to the horse.”

Of note:  In the first episode of this season, the all-electric Rimac Concept_One destroyed was pitted against a Lamborghini and a Honda NSX – check out that head-to-head match-up here.

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX, Check out the site here.

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72 Comments on "Ex-Top Gear Co-Host Jeremy Clarkson Changes His Tune About Tesla"

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Yes, the Tesla is a great car when you are in a hurry to go 400 meters.

And at most all other times too.

Apparently there is a new rule on InsideEVs: The first comment to any Tesla-related article must be from a Tesla-hating troll kl?wn.

🙄 🙄 🙄



..and the second comment must be from a Tesla Cult member accusing the first commenter of being a Tesla hating troll … and so on and on …

Trolling has consequences. If you don’t like the consequences, don’t troll.

To Stir the Pot….

And already above any US or UK speed limit.

Ooh, good one!

What’s the 400 meters about?

You know they sued and lost, then appealed and lost that again? The courts found in our favour. I did a very fair and honest – cruel, but honest – report

This isn’t very accurate. The court said the show was entertainment and didn’t allow Tesla to win because as entertainment, is wasn’t {ever} an entirely accurate assessment of ANY vehicle.

These are the same guys that raced a G-Wiz against a serious sportscar and while it was in the lead off the line, they blew the G-Wiz up.

Didn’t allow Tesla to try the case. No court has evaluated the truthfulness of the story. Tesla claims their employee stole the script from the set, and afterwards discovered the breakdown and everything described in the script before Top Gear received the car. Which is entirely plausible by the way; the show is carefully scripted and was never meant to offer guidance, just entertainment. They often had fun with folks who didn’t get the concept, making satirical “tests” of practicality (such as whether the car could drive upside down in the ceiling of a tunnel, jump across a gap when you’re too late for the ferry, …) and near-random opinion stuff like the “cool board” (moving the same car from “sub-zero” to “seriously uncool” or the other way around, saying all BMWs were uncool for one season and switching to Audi the next) where typically Richard and Jeremy would have opposing views and Jeremy settle the matter by placing a car high on the board where Richard couldn’t reach it… So yeah, it’s not difficult to believe that what you see in the program is staged 100%. The only problem with it really is that it wasn’t obvious to viewers,… Read more »

This Agenda Driven , Bold Faced Liar, should be Banned from doing any analysis or reporting on cars.

I believe he SHOULD be allowed to give his opinions, but what he did was NOT opinion, it was sabotage. The deliberate manipulation of facts to elicit negative opinion. The fact that he pretends otherwise is MORE than disingenuous.

The one thing TG forgot about was the car’s telematics. So when the TG episode featuring the Roadster showed it running out of charge on the test track and the TG crew having to push it off to be charged, Tesla says the data from the car showed it was not fully discharged and could have been driven.

If this is true, Mr Clarkson’s ‘review’ is dishonest and he is a liar (as well as a self-confessed moron with the brain of a 9 year-old).

These are the guys that had Sabine Schmitz try to get a Ford Transit around Nurburgring in under 10 minutes and almost did it. These are the guys that had a Ford Fiesta land on a “hostile” beach with the Royal Marines.
I love this show, but thinking of it as accurate reporting is kind of missing the point.

Yep, and when they say the Roadster ran out of charge, they were lying.

Don’t you get it? It’s just a joke!

“It’s just a prank, bro!”

Pretty weak sauce excuse. They should have included a disclaimer when they were pushing the car that it could still drive just fine, and when they staged the “break down” it could still drive. If they did, even in small print, I think they’d be on firmer ground.

The way they played it makes them come of as fundamentally dishonest.

Nick, it is entertainment, not factual reporting. Get a sense of humor. It is a funny show, even if my ox is the one getting gored occasionally. And they have tons of fast cars. Whats not to love?

They were sponsored by Shell. Try telling me there was no conflict of interest there, with a straight face.

Another Euro point of view


Having clarkson pretending it was an honest review 10 years later is, disturbing.

Another Euro point of view

I like the guy as much as I hate political correctness, that means a lot.

I like not being lied to. My respect for Clarkson was deeply diminished, actually destroyed, after this smear campaign.
I now don’t believe any word that escapes his speaker hole.

Another Euro point of view

So you expect people making entertainment program’s on TV to tell you the truth ? Weird.

If I want to be entertained I watch entertainment programs such as top gear.

Now if I want to buy a car, I:

1/ Go and try it
2/ surf the net for a full day and make myself an opinion about it’s reliability. For example as I plan to shortly buy a second hand Audi A6 I went right to to the source (audi A6 motortalk.de forum, as I cant read German I use Google Chrome to translate what they say). Doing that I figured out I better avoid an automatic gearbox.
3/ For sure don’t watch top gear

I expect them not to lie.

That’s different from expecting the truth.

Would you also be defending them if they’d said an ICE car had broken down while they were testing it on the track, but it turns out it didn’t?

Or if they gave slightly but materially wrong data on specifications for the vehicles they’re testing?

This is misleading propaganda plain and simple.

The court said: You’d be a fool for believing anything Jeremy says. I now agree with them.

Yea, I expect the truth. I do. But in a funny and entertaining way.

I do not expect to be lied to.

“So you expect people making entertainment program’s on TV to tell you the truth ? Weird.”

It works for “Myth Busters”. It works for any TV show involving Neal Degrasse Tyson. It works for “Bill Nye, the Science Guy”. It works for “Nova” and “Nature” and just about everything produced by National Geographic.

It works excellently for both my favorite science documentary series, “Cosmos” (1980) and “Connections” (1978).

It also works for Robert Llewellyn in his “Fully Charged” video series, reviewing EVs, on YouTube.

In fact, it works for everyone making popular real documentaries and popular real educational shows and popular real video car reviews. I don’t see anything “weird” about that at all.

Another Euro point of view

OK, I hear it well and never owned a Roadster so can’t assess how inaccurate Clarkson’s was in his review however I note that the only commenter here who had a Roadster (Bill commenting below) mentions that this review was generally faithful to what the Roadster was so there you have your entertainment show which is nevertheless informative.

Unhappily, the fact that you are prepared to buy a car with a manual gearbox, in 2017, when you could opt for one with either an automatic or, indeed, an EV which has the need for neither, makes your opinion irrelevant (in *my* opinion).

Your comment only shows that you hate driving and makes your opinion irrelevant (in *my* opinion).

John, you took the words right out of my mouth. Martin will probably be happy to engage the AutoPilot and let the car drive him the vast majority of the time.

Another Euro point of view

Exactly, other reason I opt for manual gearbox in an ICE is that I happen to regularly drive through deserted & twisting mountain roads and enjoy it a lot. Would share this pleasure with no autopilot and possibly with as little electronics as possible.


Yep, not knowing the difference between purposefully lying and exaggeration is a classic tool of charlatans and propagandists everywhere.

If you say something that a reasonable person could think is true without clarification, you’re being dishonest.

Well said. I’ve never bought into the concept that lying by implication “isn’t really lying”. Yes, it most certainly is lying when someone intentionally leads someone else to believe something they know isn’t true.

I realized the show was a joke when they decided to drive two EVs into a town, just under the range of the cars, with no known electric car chargers. How idiotic can you get? They would never consider driving a gas-powered car somewhere they don’t have petrol for.

The guys a primadona.
His show is entertainment though I never found it so.

My sister-in-law worked on one of those shows where people by the contents of storage lockers. Her comment was that “the only thing of value anyone ever found was the stuff I put in there”.

The sad thing is that this probably got tons of gullible people to waste their hard-earned savings buying worthless junk.

I would be cool with this if the people who produce this crap were up front about what they were doing, but until I see the disclaimer, “What you are about to see is complete BS put together for your entertainment”, I will hold these clowns in low regard.

Top Gear then and now is a scripted entertainment show and the hosts have always made cracks about their “reviews” and “consumer advice”. Whatever happens to the cars in “reportages” is *usually* a part of the script, not real. But I still think their infamous roadster “test” was different from most of their other, equally untrue stories. First, transparent lies versus genuine misleading. When they show a Lancia and bits are constantly falling off it, it’s obvious to all viewers that it’s staged, and this is usually the case with these things. There’s a kernel of truth in the story and Lancia had poor build quality for many years, but they hugely exaggerate for effect and It’s pretty funny. Similarly there was a kernel of truth in the Roadster story; the car really isn’t suitable as a trackday vehicle. I personally didn’t think them having to push the thing was funny, but more importantly it was not at all obvious to all viewers that this was staged exaggeration just like in the Lancia example – and countless other stories. Second, Tesla was a tiny, vulnerable manufacturer. I don’t think they should pull any punches because of this, but it makes… Read more »

That was worthwhile to read.


Another Euro point of view

Hey guys, so it seems many of you are figuring out with surprise that entertainment shows are 100% staged and fake !?!
No wonder Donald Trump got elected….:((

Yep, post truth before it was cool.

Welcome to 1984.

Euro-guy, you weren’t here to see the election in person. So you don’t understand how your drive-by comment applied to Trump’s opponent. The “staged and fake” was Hillary’s rallies, which were 1/10 the size of Trumps. (You never learned this unless you saw youtube videos shot by real people, not fake media people, at the events). The leftist major media was in the bag for Hillary and refused to swing the cameras around to show you tha Trump people overflowed coliseums, while Hillary had trouble filling a ball room. That is why I correctly predicted the election months in advance, astounding the so-called professionals in my local newspapers, who bought into the mainstream propaganda and fake polls that also fooled you guy in Europe.

Another Euro point of view

Indeed it is impossible to form a balanced opinion from abroad.

So bigger rallies led to a lower vote count? Got it!

72K votes decided that election versus 3.2 million. If you don’t know how the electoral college works, just sit back quietly a don’t say anything.

By all means, if you liked the result then be happy. But don’t be disingenuous about it. Trump did not get more votes. He didn’t. He’s not more popular. He isn’t.

I suspect Tesla probably already figured out which Tesla it is that they are mucking around with and pulled all the logs from it.

So we will see the difference between what Top Gear says and what the data says.

“Although the automaker didn’t win the lawsuit, the Roadster’s problems portrayed in Top Gear’s segment were fabricated/scripted into a skit as ‘entertainment’ even though it didn’t reflect reality.”

Perhaps Tesla, to use a military analogy, lost the battle but won the war. It’s true that Tesla lost its court “battle” — apparently lost it twice, according to what’s written here — but arguably it won the public relations “war” by making its point, in a very public manner with lots of attention by the press, that Top Gear faked having the Roadster run out of “juice”.

^^^ this

As apparently the only one here who has owned an original Roadster for four years (and 46,000 miles), I watched the original Top Gear report – and by the way, in the video above, Jeremy doesn’t say ‘cruel’ he says ‘hard hitting’ which is accurate. I found the review actually quite accurate, and accept the show’s simulated outage of the car (you have to drive one to understand what they are getting at),having to do with overloading various things and found them entirely essentially accurate. Self appointed experts at PLUGINCARS.com said ‘WE ALL KNOW a roadster will go more than 68 miles to a charge.’ Hahahaha… In certain cases a roadster will only go 68 miles – it depends on how you drive it. I’m sure Brits initially loved Top Gear as much as they did since the information and critiques were essentially accurate. There were also some nitpicks which apply only to Europe – brits can only charge at a 32 ampere rate, Germans a 20, and the Swiss can only charge at a 15 ampere rate – which makes for some rather long recharging times… But I only charged at 7.2 kw at home, and at 6 kw… Read more »

Except that Bjorn lives with the Model X. These clowns aren’t. They are coming up with fabricated ways to make EVs look bad. Bjorn is showing real-world problems with his car and how he took care of them. I’ll watch Bjorn’s videos any day because I’m not being lied to.

Thank you! Well said.

As I say, the same principle applies. I bought my Roadster knowing the accurate characteristics of the car from the Top Gear episode, but bought the car anyway, since I can enjoy an electric car without it being perfection. But Top Gear was the ONLY place at the time that mentioned some issues with the car that were mentioned no where else.

So, in that sense they were the only ones telling the truth, and I felt more comfortable spending the relatively huge sum of money on the car since I was better educated as to what exactly I was getting into.

Seems like an obvious point to me, but many others here just want to keep bad-mouthing.

Clarkson Cote’s comment on the Tesla Semi article seems to also shine the correct light on things. And since he is listed as part of the STAFF of IEV’s, the normal magpies fear for criticizing him.

> So, in that sense they were the only ones telling the truth

What are you talking about?!

They indicated the car broke down, but it didn’t. They said it ran out of charge, but it didn’t.

They were NOT telling the truth. In no way were they telling the truth.

Just because you bought a Roadster and it broke down, does not mean that they were telling the truth.

Nope. I fully addressed that issue.

I do have to say that current Model S/X/3 is a long way from that Roadster.

It is way better now than it was and next generation Roadster is just off the chart.

So, it is worthy the 2nd look for sure.

I disagree with the point about the “S” being better quality than the Roadster. In certain respects they actually went downhill.

One point I will tentatively agree on, is I consider the model 3 ‘much improved’ over the “S”, what little I know about it at this point in time.

Yes, the model 3 looks like the real deal. It’s the first car from Tesla I would seriously get. Luckily, I held on to one of my day 1 reservation.

I love it when Tesla fan boys get all bent out of shape about that episode. Top Gear is not a car show… it’s a funny and entertaining show that just so happens to feature cars. It’s the man’s version of a “Real Housewives of …” show.

As for lying about the range, well, maybe they did but there’s no way you’re going to get the range that a manufacturer claims when you’re driving it at a track and beating the hell out of it like they do. Besides, why would anyone watch Top Gear, or The Grand Tour, to get factual information about how a car would perform in real-world scenarios? If you want that, there are much better resources out there.

Finally. Right or wrong that review was maybe nine years Ago! If Tesla is so fantastic then who cares. Let the cars do all the talking.

Promises of “Yes there will be a tow hitch for the Model 3”-Musk are not always the truth, either … and I don’t sue them for that. I just keep mentioning it over and over again that Tesla actually does not want my money, but of those who want to drive ludicrous acceleration cars nobody really needs.

I’m not sure why Clarkson is bragging about two judges ruling that he is such a notorious rodeo clown that nobody in their right mind would ever believe anything he said was actually true.

But there his is, bragging about both rulings that said exactly that.

Jeremy, thanks for stirring up the “Pot” for so many years, on Top Gear.

Kudos to you, for bringing your “Black Kettle” off the simmering back burner, and getting back to what you do best. Full Steam Ahead!

Now, if we could get viewers to just lighten up just a wee bit, maybe us lads can get back to our regularly scheduled “entertainment”!

Well, one can agree with Clarkson on one point; he is a nine year old boy…who cried wolf.

The problem is that Clarkson did his damage already. He ruined a lot of potential first-time EV buyers by biasing them before they ever sat in an EV, if they ever did. Rather than objectively exploring this new type of car for his audience, he claimed he knew everything about it already, then looked for entertaining ways to reinforce that.

He’s going to have to do a 180 to make me interested in any of his shows again. You never get a second chance to make a first impression….

Yep, The shows main sponsor was shell too, Nobody can tell me there wasn’t a massive conflict of interest there. The man is quite literally a fraud and a shill.


It seems Elon said it best anyway.

Now that everyone accepts that Top Gear is a staged entertainment show, can we also agree that The Grand Tour is an over-staged entertainment show?

Even Jeremy Clarkson is getting an EV epiphany…

They were sponsored by Shell… The guy is a self serving asshat. Nothing more.