As previously reported Tesla served the BBC's Top Gear with a lawsuit recently for libel and malicious falsehood about an episode of Top Gear in 2008 where the test results for the Tesla Roadster did not please the Tesla management.
Article first published as The BBCs Top Gear Executive Producer Blogs About The Tesla Lawsuit on Technorati.
Andy Wilman is the Executive Producer of Top Gear writes in the Top Gear blog.
He is claiming that Tesla is using the legal action as a publicity stunt to promote their cars and that the BBC received an email from the Tesla public relations firm by accident that proves his point.
He also goes on the make the following points:
1. We never said that the Tesla’s true range is only 55 miles, our actual words were: “We calculated that on our track it would run out after 55 miles”. Wilman then claims that the 55 mile number actually came from Tesla employees in California based on driving the car hard on the Top Gear test track.
2. We never said that the Tesla was completely immobilized as a result of the motor overheating. We said the car had “reduced power”. This was true.
3. Tesla claims we were lying when we said the brakes were “broken”. They now say that all that had happened was that the fuse to the vacuum pump had failed, which meant that the brake just had to be pushed down much harder than usual. Well – if this happened to your car, you’d take it to the garage to get it fixed.
It’s alleged by Tesla that on the day of filming one of their employees caught sight of a script that had been written, before the car had even been driven, already containing the verdict that in the “real world” the Tesla doesn’t work.
In response Wilman says:
a) The truth is, Top Gear had already driven the car prior to filming, to enable us to form an opinion on it in advance.
b) Our conclusion was based mainly on the fact that the Tesla costs three times more than the sports car upon which it’s based. It takes a long time to recharge, so you can’t use it as easily as a gasoline powered car.
c) Wilman then goes into details about how a TV program is filmed and the necessity to have a plan in advance.
It seems to me that it is probably not a good idea to talk publicly about legal actions that are in progress for either Tesla or the BBC’s Top Gear.