A British court has dismissed claims by US car manufacturer, Tesla, that television show, Top Gear, damaged sales after a 2008 airing of the programme, which featured a Tesla Roadster vehicle.
In the programme in question, Clarkson and the Top Gear team were seen pushing a £92,000 Roadster off of the test track in order to charge the car’s battery.
After a three year battle with between the BB2 show and Tesla, The Court of appeal rejected their claim that Clarkson and co damaged the credibility of the company; a decision which is likely to cost Tesla more than they bargained for after being ordered to pay £100,000 in costs on account of the BBC.
In the opinion of court judge, Lord Justice Moore-Bick, the programme did not libel Tesla in any way.
In particular, Tesla complained about the commentary in which Clarkson provided during the show which included the lines:
"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 is not a quick job to charge it up again."
In total, Tesla claimed that the scene featuring the vehicle cost them the sales of 200 Roadsters and the confidence of investors, costing the company a total of $171,000.
Thanks to the Roadster’s appearance on the television show, the California-based company said that pre-orders of the Model S have been far lower than expected, coupled with the fact that the Roadster has sold only 7% of what the Lotus Elite has sold in the UK – all of which they blame on Clarkson.
“In my view the case pleaded in support of the claim for special damages is, to say the least, very thin on its own terms."
"Moreover, on the basis of the material currently before the court I do not think that there is any real prospect of Tesla's being able to demonstrate at trial that it has suffered any quantifiable loss by reason of any of the actionable statements."
Although there is yet to be any news from Clarkson himself, Andy Wilman, the executive producer of Top Gear, said:
"I am pleased that the appeal court has upheld the previous ruling and the case has been struck out. I'd also like to apologise to the judges for making them have to watch so much Top Gear."
Despite Top Gear successfully having to avoid damages this time, the programme is no stranger to controversy, alongside Clarkson, who has faced public criticism many times during his tenor with the programme.
With that in mind, Tesla are also facing an ensuing battle with New York Times journalist, John M Broder, after he wrote an unflattering review of the Tesla Model S.
Though there have been no claims against the cars safety, merely its battery, Tesla have been found making a tit-for-tat argument over Twitter.
There is some good news circulating for the company however, as the 2013 Tesla Model S has been used in a viral video by Firefighters; demonstrating the ripping apart of the vehicle using jaws of life.
Although many people don’t yet fully understand the safety features of many electric cars, it is worth considering the safety of all vehicles, and in winter, even buying safety tyres from accredited companies such as Click on Tyres.