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Tesla sues Top Gear for libel, New Stig unavailable for comment (update: BBC responds)

Tim Stevens
March 30, 2011
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Fans of a particular show featuring three middle-aged men with an unhealthy penchant for cars, plus a fourth individual whose interests are rather more elusive, probably remember a 2008 episode in which the Top Gear crew lambasted the Tesla Roadster. (If not, a particularly low-quality recording is embedded below.) On that show, Jeremy Clarkson could be seen flogging one around the track, complaining about a range of only 55 miles before showing that car being pushed into the garage, supposedly out of charge. Not true, says Tesla, who has filed a lawsuit against the BBC for libel and malicious falsehood. Tesla claims that, among other things, two cars were provided and at all times at least one of them was ready and willing. Beyond that, Tesla knows that neither car ever dropped below 25 percent charge, meaning the whole pushing into the garage thing was, well, staged. It's hard to look at this as much more than a PR move, Tesla waiting over two years to file, but that doesn't mean the complaint isn't legit. Now it's time for the Beeb to roll out its crew of tame racing lawyers. Some say their suits are made of wool, and that their briefcases contain actual briefs. All we know is they're very well compensated.

Update: Well, the hornets' nest has been kicked, and it didn't take long for the swarm to arise. The BBC has dropped a bombshell, saying that it "stands by the programme and will be vigorously defending this claim."







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