Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson Makes Charging A BMW i8 Seem Near Impossible


bmw1 by topgear2015

Looks Confused, Doesn't He?

Looks Confused, Doesn’t He?

Oh…Top Gear…when will you get your act together.

In this episode, the BMW i8 is pitted against the BMW M3.

Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson falls in love with the i8, but then it’s time to charge. That’s when Clarkson mucks it all up. Plugging in is apparently difficult. Charging doesn’t commence.

Regardless, Clarkson considers the i8 the future of motoring and selects it over the BMW M3. The M3 is a typewriter, the i8 a computer. Past meets present and future.

He just had to get that electric car dig in there though and that annoys us.

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70 Comments on "Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson Makes Charging A BMW i8 Seem Near Impossible"

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That guy is such a punk.

A clop of spunk and hair down the shower drain more like!

that’s nasty.

typical jeremy

Some people might think it’s funny… I don’t. He is a sadist in my eyes.

Overall, not a bad episode. But yeah the charging thing seemed a bit ridiculous. Also, I think it should be obvious to most people that he was probably driving the car like a maniac and never charged it, so I am not sure why anyone would be surprised that he got 31 mpg. Here’s the real question, had he been driving the M3 instead in the same manner, what fuel economy would he have gotten?

You ask “had he been driving the M3 in the same manner”. What he didn’t do was “drive the i8 in the same manner, as the M3”. I guess the i8 can’t be drifted? If Top Gear doesn’t get the tail out…

With the M3 on scenic public roads, he might have kept 15-20mpg. Drifting it, they probably weren’t getting 8. FWIW, I think MT also reported the i8 @~30mpg.

I’m beginning to wonder if BMW isn’t allowing loaner i8s on closed courses? It’s not like they couldn’t take still pictures. Sorry, for 135k it has to look and play the part. Too much $$, for one out of two.

Electric belongs in a 7-series, and BMW knows it.

Sorry mate, but it is marketed as a sports car, not a shopping car.
You shouldn’t be surprised to discover people putting their foot down!

“If you want to save the planet, drive fast”?
Yes, and/or learn how to use a charger.
so yeah he got 30 miles to gallon pounding on it up in the yorkshire moors.
A lot of back pedaling from it’s amazing and revolutionary to: they are on the right track.
Well perhaps they are but Jeremy Clarkson isn’t, he will just switch tracks at will.

I wonder how much trouble he has filling a car with gas?

Him trying to figure out the charger, reminded me when I had to teach my parents what email was.

Reminds me of people who just can’t ever seem to figure out the difference between the Diesel pumps and the Gas pumps and mis-fuel with the wrong hose in the wrong filler.

At ten minutes in he actually complains about the windmills because they are “less romantic than mining”. WTH?

lol 🙂

Yeah, sending 10 years old boys down for 12 hour days, destroying the environment, dying of black lung before you are 40. How romantic.

Oh come off it.
Stop exaggerating!
Black lung is only a ‘minor’ injury…

yeah, he loves to show how intelligent he is. I did appreciate the fact that he chose the i8 at the end though…..miracles never cease.

Actually at the very end, he changed his mind and got a few more jabs at the i8.

I should have known….

Gosh yes, coal mining is -so- romantic!

and black lung is even sexier.

And those windmills (and solar panels elsewhere) produce so few jobs! But they are also so labor intensive and too expensive to make compared to coal and oil and gas, because of all the high-paid engineering and high-tech assembly that goes into them.

For fuck’s sake. This is how you know there’s no reason to pure, unadulterated Luddism.

Ah, the romance of whole towns built around a single industry. Everyone going to work depressed, coming home black with coal dust. The whole town rallying around when a disaster occurs, funerals for the numerous dead. Then production falls off, and the mine closes. Some of the ambitious young leave, the rest complain that things aren’t the same since the mine closed.

Ah, romance.

I understand we have it here too.

I hope he by now learn to switch on the light on the toilet before he goes to pee in the night, or maybe he still lights a candle!

The candle would be made out of petroleum wax– a byproduct from making gasoline. 😉

Jeremy Clarkson may be an actor on TopGear, but in general I do agree with his assessments on cars. I think it should be a HUGE compliment to the i8 that Clarkson regarded its driving experience so highly, and an M3 is one of the nicest driving cars to compare it to.

I actually loved the episode. Albeit, if May did it, it would be fantastic as his review on the new SLS really got my attention. Anyway, the Clarkson was entertaining, and while the rapid charging stunt was gormless, it was just a stunt to show how the i8 can recharge the batteries by hammering it around.

The 30mpg claim of his at the end to the audience was a bit bull.

I think 30 mpg is somewhat consistent with what i8 owners have claimed too, which I think does involve some heavy driving. Some may recall an episode where TopGear put an M3 and a Prius around a track (at the same speed) and the Prius got sub-20mpg while the M3 actually got a bit better mileage. Not surprising, really. 30 mpg isn’t too bad for spirited driving, but I would hope it gets better than that in regular driving.

Clarkson may be an orangutan, but his statement about pathetically low mpg is backed up by real owners.

Clarkson is a git! He has botched every occasion with any thing plugged into a wall. I would have to guess that he lives in a very dark home having been unable to plug anything into the mains. Sheesh.

The beeb should offer the part to Robert Llewellyn since he is 10x more amusing than the half drunk dolt Clarkson.

BTW other than Clarkson… I love Top Gear!

So, better to get the Diesel equivalent to the M3 and get higher fuel economy when not punching it.

Check the official numbers
28mpg gas only – thats pathetic
Combined with an almost useless 15 miles EV range and Clarkson was doing well to get 32mpg.
The only untruth/theatre on this segment was making it look difficult to plug in.
But there is an element of truth in it. The location he was at probably had four different EV charging options, all incompatible with each other without adapters – but that is just like a gas station with different fuel.

Now that we have the video, it’s clear Clarkson pulled out an adapter from the i8 when he didn’t need to.
Then, he momentarily forgot how to push, because someone else successfully plugged the thing in with no adaptor.

Then he forgot how to read the menu’s on the charger. And amazingly walked away without a credit card transaction and no indication from the charger that he wasn’t charging.

Then with the mobile app he can’t tell that he wasn’t charging.

Too many Total Failures of the Total Idiot.

This is what Conservatives have become the party of Idiots. I once was a conservative but now that I see this guy as a Conservative I wear the badge of a Liberal with Pride. Yes, my IQ is above 80. Yes, I can learn new things. Yes, and can make the world 1000% better then a conservative with a better economy and more jobs.

LOL. He smirks at the beautiful windmills and says nothing as the i8 drives past a dirty refinery, and has fond memories of coal mines.

Solar jobs in the US outnumber coal jobs. I’m sure solar and wind outnumber coal jobs in the UK too.

A glowing review I thought. As for Clarkson’s inability to plug the car in, he can not screw a nut on a bolt. Have you ever seen an Orangutan operate an outlet?

Yeah, but get Clarkson in Tangentstan with a broke Range Rover, and its “lets make a deal”.


Another LOL moment at 12 minutes, Carkson’s “Deep Thoughts” on why hybrids are bad.

He admits he knows the planet has limited resources. He thinks hybrids have 2 “engines”. He doesn’t understand that the metal in cars are recyclable, but oil/petrol is not. Very sad he can’t grasp these simple concepts.

…or that the big V12’s that he loves so much have the equivalent of 4 of the i8’s 3-cyl gas engines. Talk about wasting resources for constructing a car!

Everyone keeps commenting as if Clarkson’s inability to plug in was something other than a scripted piece. This is Top Gear we are talking about here. Every element of this show is SCRIPTED. It’s a story. It’s fiction designed for entertainment. Top Gear is no more a show about reviewing cars than Breaking Bad is a documentary on cooking meth.

We know. We’re just saying the script sucks.

I actually liked the script this time. They are clearly coming around and the plugin episode was just a little joke. Don’t we want them to be rude, irrational and ill behaved? Otherwise, it would just be one of these boring car shows that nobody watches (not me anyway).

I’m disappointed that my meth I made at home didn’t turn out blue like on breaking bad. But from some of the stuff they say on Top Gear, clearly they had no problem getting a nice blue hue on the meth they’ve been making.

+1, well said (lol)

OK, Jeremy loved the car but emphasized that on the charging side, there is room for improvement. And that makes him an orangutang according to some here. I take good note of what is the generally accepted/politically correct opinion and will try to be as mainstream and boring as I can possibly be as from now in my comments.

No, no. Stick around, shoot from the hip. England is filled with CHAdeMO. I dunno what BMW fits English versions with, but I have similar issues, and my huge post on Tesla’s new button, yesterday, is in sympathy with Jeremey!

Ok Now I’m assuming he means for a British audience a 5 quart Imperial Gallon?

So that means Americans would get 25 miles per gallon. Not so shabby for a sports car.

I thought this car had a 3 kw charger in it. Why fool around with a refrigerator sized Charger with a Mennekes 3 phase connector? Don’t tell me this car has the same issues I have with my Roadster that they are both compatible but neither of them work with each other?

The thing I didn’t care for in this particular review is that it seemed to lack much specificity… Otherwise, I thought it was fair.

You are correct Bill and that’s why the show should quote litres/100km for fuel economy.
The show is now outdated and Jeremy is past his “use by date”.

Especially when we are all driving single gear EVs. What will “Top Gear” even mean? 🙂

You mean “Top Gear” isn’t a show that reviews tip-top outdoor gear?

I’ll get me hat… 🙂

Clarkson is a self-admitted “blithering idiot”.

Once you clear that out and no longer take his antics seriously some say it is possible to find him entertaining.

Or rather that the character he plays for a fictional automotive entertainment show is a “blithering idiot”…..

The scripted and story-boarded character he plays of the same name should not be confused with any actual real person (living or deceased). The “Clarkson” character actually more resembles a cross of Archie Bunker with Wile Coyote than any real person.

Who watches Top Gear?

The show you should be watching is Fifth Gear.

He also bashed Nissan Leaf a few years ago

This kind of nonsense is nothing more or less than pandering to his ingrained viewers.

The sad thing is not that he does this, or that he has such followers, but the drive-by viewers who encounter his schtick and mistake it for real journalism (or something approaching it) and are fooled into adopting a flawed viewpoint that I doubt even Clarkson holds.

What I always think is interesting is that top gear always make the right points in the wrong way. Obviously the “right point” is pretty subjective but I think if you were considering buying an i8 or thinking of improving it for the next generation the review Jeremy gave was pretty close to the mark even though I completely disagree with his way of thinking. Some examples of my confusion below. The i8 is a better car than the M3 – agree There are too many different charging standards making public charging irritating – agree If you hoon around in an i8 or drive it long distance its fuel economy is hopeless – agree If your commute is 20 miles you can do it all electric – good point We need to be careful about embedded energy as well as the energy to run something – agree, perhaps he should have mentioned the efforts BMW have gone to to reduce the carbon foot print when making this car You can drive in urban environments at low speeds all electric even after you deplete the battery – good point especially in London (not mentioned but should have been) People need to… Read more »

He talks about the embedded energy of two drivetrains, yet he ignores that his beloved V12’s he loves so much are the equivalent of 4 of the BMW i8 3-cyl engines. He’s one of those silly folks who only suddenly becomes verklempt about issues like embedded energy when talking about green cars, when his own preference for V12’s is even worse.

Clarkson isn’t exactly innovative, bringing us pretty much the exact same scripted show for about 15 years in a row now , everything carefully staged for our amusement.

Maybe it’s time for something new: an episode with an electric car that works just fine without the obligatory staging of running out of juice with not a charger in sight.

Okay, reality might not have the same entertainment value.

The most realistic reviews of electric cars would be a boring repetition of reliably getting up every single day and driving with a full battery an average distance to work. Then maybe going to lunch, maybe some stops after work, followed by uneventfully plugging in at home having never worried about running out of charge.

Then taking the family on the weekend on a trip in the family’s other car, which is a PHEV that they fill up with gas the entire weekend the same as any other car.

After a year of this, they drive 90%+ of their total miles on electric power, spend less than a tenth what typical families spend on gas, and never experience a single moment of time worrying about range.

That story is so boring and reliable that not even testers for the green car media write that story. And yet it (or variations on the same basic plot) is by far the most common EV experience.

Clarkson — MPGe does not measure the same thing as MPG. Just like MPG City does not measure the same thing as MPG Highway. And British gallons aren’t the same as US gallons. Units of measure matter. His little stunt at the end comparing his MPG Highway measurement to the MPGe Combined rating of the i8 is as ignorant as saying the BMW M3 in the video only gets 17 MPG, and mocking BMW for claiming it gets 26 MPG (when BMW rates it as 17 MPG city, 26 MPG highway). BMW rates the i8 to get 29 MPG highway (in US gallons). Just as Clarkson experienced. The MPGe Combined number he keeps quoting is for a specific combined cycle of city/highway driving that Clarkson never tested, so of course he didn’t get that economy. He got the MPG Highway rating instead of the MPGe Combined rating. This would be as silly as Clarkson testing the M3 by just driving around in the City, and then saying BMW is wrong about the M3 getting 26 MPG, because he only got 17 MPG when he drove it. I would say he is a blundering fool, except he isn’t blundering out of… Read more »

Imagine this guy reviewing a Model S at a SuperCharger Station… Oi.

I want to see the guy attempt to make a grill cheese. Definitely going to be a kitchen fire in that episode.

I believe there was fire involved in the episode where they converted trailers (caravans) into train cars.

They let this put petrol in normal car?

Danger Will Robinson Danger !

We should not let ‘entertaining’ details obscure the key message: The world’s most hard core petrol head says electric vehicles are the clear and undisputed way forward. How good is that?!

And naturally the first generation i8 has some annoyances that will be improved in the next iteration, just like the Volt 2 incorporated improvements over Volt 1.

On balance the segment was quite positive, and that should be the take-away point.

The M3 shows you power in horsepower and torque in Nm. The i8 shows you flipping power as a percentage. WTF. I don’t care if you put hp inside the dial and kw outside (like mph and kph), but USE POWER UNITS. Percentage offers no bragging rights. On top of making it impossible for nerds to imply anything from the power level. I don’t care about percent. It tells me nothing.

ALSO, copy the BRILLIANCE of Tesla in the way they made the power/regen dial logarithmic!!!!

Guys, Jeremy is a comedian. Top gear is more like a comic relief centered around cars. Honestly I appreciate many of the idiotic ideas he brings light to. They drive multimillion dollar super cars, how easy will it be for you to honestly rate a lowly i8? I love top gear UK but mainly watch it for the humor. Clarckson, May, and Hamster are an awesome group. Do you really think playing soccer in a car is a legit test?

It’s weird that so many people in this thread know who Jeremy Clarkson is, but don’t know that the show he’s in is mostly a scripted comedy. And despite the silliness around the charger, he gave the car a fairly objective and honest assessment. He could have been far more critical and comedic.

Did you see Mr. Clarkson when he got to drive a Tesla Roadster a few years ago? He “missed” the sound of a lead-footed engine whining down the track despite the great acceleration of the Tesla. He thought that he would need to push it around the track until he got behind the wheel, and then it was; “flat . . . not exciting . . .
I like the other car better”, etc. He is a
jerk who whines for the ‘old days’ when gas was cheap and cars had POWER to burn. Sorry Dude, those days are not going to be only over soon, but “electric’s where it’s at”, as
we used to say when I was a teen. I think that he is only on the show because he represents the ‘old regime’ and they need his input to balance those co-hosts that promote environmental responsibility.


he is a petrol adict. Driving dino!!

If you even remotely believe his acting on this, you B the fool!

OMG, this is such a series of facepalms. This program should be required to be broadcast with a disclaimer that the hosts are stupid (or at least act that way) and that is factually incorrect.