Tesla Wimps



There has been a lot of buzz about California based Tesla, suing the BBC for not favoring their electric sports car. To get things in a Fuelfed perspective, let’s do a quick review of what transpired.

When Jeremy Clarkson reviewed the Tesla Roadster in 2008, his initial comments were quite positive. He enjoyed the handling and even drag-raced it against a Lotus Elise, on which the Tesla is based. The Tesla won easily and Jeremy was warming up to the idea of an electrical sports car. But then, according to Top Gear, things turned sour.



First the Tesla’s batteries ran out of power after only 55 miles. Tesla claims a range of 211 miles, but this is based on the European Electric Vehicle Combined Cycle. These test cycles are based on ideal driving conditions and conservative driving. Jeremy was obviously not driving like a granny, so the decrease in range was to be expected. Another motoring publication also expected the range to be below 100 miles when driving hard.

While recharging the Roadster, Jeremy drove a second one, but this time the motor overheated while he was driving and he had to stop. When they wanted to retest the original Tesla, it was found that the brakes broke while it was charging.

Tesla claims that these breakdowns were staged and that the statements are untrue. After numerous failed attempts to contact the BBC, Tesla decided to sue.

Now we all know that Jeremy and his team exaggerate quite often, feeding off extreme situations and many of the Top Gear scenes appear staged. The presenting trio are also not scared to call a spade a spade, and this is one of the ingredients that makes Top Gear so popular in following the Fuelfed spirit.

Now let’s quickly go back to 1986 and Audi’s famous “Unintended Acceleration” debacle. Some 300,000 Audi 5000 cars which suddenly accelerate after shifts out of “Park” were recalled by the US DOT.

Then on November 23, 1986, CBS News’ “60 Minutes” program broadcast “Out of Control,” a segment on the Audi 5000 sudden acceleration problem. The program contrasted tragic accounts of Audi accident victims with statements from company spokespersons insisting that accidents were due to driver error. CBS also used interviews with private engineers who had developed theories about how problems with the Audi’s transmission and electronic idle stabilizer valves could cause the car to self-accelerate. In addition, CBS featured charges by the Center that Audi was running a “secret recalls”.



Audi suffered major sales set backs for years because of the 60 Minutes segment. But Audi held it’s head high, looked forward and made better cars. They didn’t try to counter sue the media for exposing random faults.

If Tesla had any balls, it would “man up” and take note of history and focus on building a real car for the real world. Stand behind your product and not behind a petty law suit because you got caught with your pants down.




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