Skip to content

Subsidized by taxpayers to the tune of a half-a-billion dollars (Obama “investing” your money), Tesla Corporation — and by extension, the feds — has been embarrassed by car journalist Jeremy Clarkson and the Top Gear TV show on BBC. It seems a Tesla Roadster when driven hard on the Top Gear track (and owners who shell out six-figures for sports cars like to know these things) goes a mere 55 miles. Not the 200 that Tesla’s PR machine claims. What’s more, Top Gear — which does not yet suffer from green political correctness like car mags stateside — says the “car of the future” takes 16 hours to recharge, and recommends (tongue planted firmly in cheek) that buyers shell out another $100,000 for a second Tesla while the other one recharges.

Ouch. Welcome to the real world, electric cars.

Tesla’s response? Sue ’em!

“The fundamental thing with Top Gear is that the show was about as authentic as a Milli Vanilli concert, but the problem is most viewers don’t know that,” Tesla’s egomaniacal founder, slick Washington lobbyist Elon Musk, told the Detroit News after an appearance at the National Press Club to maximize his political exposure.

Musk makes lots of outrageous charges, including that the show agrees that its report was false. Nonsense, says the BBC. The network — whose program was actually quite flattering of the Tesla’s performance, despite its annoyances and the carmaker’s exaggerations — says it “stands by the program and will be vigorously defending this claim.”

Top Gear hasn’t apologized either.

“Our primary reasoning behind the verdict had nothing to do with how the Tesla performed; our conclusion was based mainly on the fact that it costs three times more than the petrol sports car upon which it’s based,” a BBC spokesman continued. “It takes a long time to recharge, so you can’t use it as easily for the carefree motoring journeys that are a prerequisite of sports-car driving.”

Feeling good about that investment, America?

Planet Gore, 6 April 2011