This Isn’t Going To End Well

This Isn’t Going To End Well

I heard about this story on the Transport Evolved podcast which I listened to this afternoon. My thanks to Nicky Gordon-Bloomfield, the podcast’s host. You can hear the podcast here. Transport Evolved is a green transport podcast with a strong emphasis on cars which come with a plug attached. It has a bias but it’s worth listening to because it’s the only extant podcast on electric vehicles which is made in the UK. I’d planned to do a review of the show at some point in any case because I find it interesting. I’ll do that when I’ve had a chance to talk to Nicky.

In the meantime…

Tesla Motors, the makers of my favourite electric car, have issued a lawsuit against Top Gear, the makers of my second favourite motoring-based nonsense show claiming that the show fabricated scenes depicting the failure of its Roadster and scripted the conclusion of the test before carrying it out. I can’t believe that this will end well for anyone concerned, other than the lawyers both parties will be obliged to pay to argue their cases in the British courts. They’re going to coin it. What’s more, they’ll be coining it at the expense of the Licence Fee payer, at least as far as the defendants are concerned.

I watched the film again this evening and it was a remarkably positive review apart from the conclusion in which Clarkson said that the Tesla doesn’t work in the real world. He considered that £92,000 was quite a lot to spend on an electric Elise, even if it goes like stink and handles quite well. He was worried about the range. He said it was 200 miles but that they would get about 55 miles if it were driven hard at track speed. The brakes failed during the test and required a fuse to be replaced before they worked effectively again. The motor overheated, the car went into a reduced power mode and the car was seen being pushed into a garage or hangar at the test track.

Tesla is worried that this constitutes bad publicity and is damaging to their reputation. In my opinion, they’re wrong. I loved the film and was excited to find out more about the car as a result of seeing it. Like the presenters of the show, I think it’s far too expensive but unlike them, I don’t think that the range is an issue. The problems with the motor and the brakes would almost certainly not be repeated in everyday use. It’s not as if Tesla is the only company to be on the receiving end of an indifferent review. TVRs used to be pasted for their unreliability and idiosyncrasy. The Aston Martin Vanquish was lambasted because the belt for its power steering pump slipped off and had to be replaced not once but twice during a test. The Bentley Arnage shredded its tyres. The Prodrive P2 made Jeremy chunder and the Nissan GTR almost broke his neck.  In each case, the problems were brought to attention in the test and the manufacturer hasn’t sought redress in the courts.

I really think this is a bad idea for Tesla. They’re going to look foolish and churlish if it ever reaches court. I can only hope that they’ll see sense and withdraw the suit before it gets there.

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