Electric carmaker sues BBC for libel

Tesla says “Top Gear”’s allegations “grossly misled potential purchasers of the Roadster.”

U.S. electric carmaker Tesla Motors has sued the BBC’s “Top Gear” show alleging libel and malicious falsehood.

Tesla claims the show, one of the broadcaster’s most successful programs, faked a scene that appeared to show Tesla’s Roadster car running out of energy, according to papers filed at the High Court in London yesterday.

In the “Top Gear” report, first broadcast in December 2008, presenter Jeremy Clarkson said that, even though the car is “biblically quick,” and “the first electric car you might actually want to buy,” its range is limited.

“Although Tesla say it will do 200 miles, we worked out that on our track it would run out after just 55 miles and if it does run out it’s not a quick job to charge it up again,” Clarkson said, according to a transcript of the show included in the filing.

The report showed the car being pushed into a hangar, according to the suit. Tesla said the Roadster that was pushed into the hangar hadn’t run out of power and didn’t need to be pushed.


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