Tesla CEO Elon Musk Calls Top Gear “Completely Phony”

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Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk with Tesla Roadster

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk with Tesla Roadster

In the ongoing battle between Tesla and Top Gear, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, has finally spoken, comparing the BBC’s popular automotive television program to a Milli Vanilli concert. That’s right, the music band whose Grammy award was revoked when the lead performers admitted they didn't actually sing.

While speaking to The Detroit News, Musk goes on to describe Top Gear as “completely phony” and once again highlights the fact that the script for the ‘review’ of the Tesla Roadster on Top Gear was already written before the cars were even delivered for testing.

Though one could justify Top Gear’s representation of the Roadster’s performance as ‘entertainment’, Musk, a man rarely willing to back down from a fight, explains that the staged scene of the car breaking down and coming to a complete stop still haunts his company. Remember, the show first aired almost two years ago. 

Whilst trying to earn funding for the company during its IPO last year, Musk claims that he was repeatedly faced with the question of why the car broke down on the show.

He even revealed that the BBC has apologized to Tesla for the particular episode yet continues to air it to an audience of more than 350 million people worldwide.

Tesla has served the BBC and Top Gear with a lawsuit for libel and malicious falsehood against its electric Roadster and the case is now headed for a court in the UK.

You can rest assure, the MotorAuthority team will keep you updated on the topic. In the meantime, here's a link to a video of the review in question, and you can read up on Top Gear’s side of the story by clicking here.

[The Detroit News]
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Comments (7)
  1. So what if Top Gear said the car broke down. They merely reported what happened with the test car that they were given. I don't see what they have done wrong other than accurately report on what happened.

  2. Did the Tesla really break down, or was it part of the show? I am a little confused at what is being argued here.

  3. The article clearly states: "the staged scene" when the Tesla broke down, indicating that the scene was a setup and that the car didn't actually break down. I assume this is Musk's claim, and I wouldn't be that surprised if it was true.

  4. @Daniel Chavez Moran
    From what I understand, the brakes failed due to an electrical fault and the TG team were told by Tesla to stop and take it in for repairs. It was pushed into the hangar because of some health & safety crap meaning you can't drive any cars into the hangar, so perhaps it looked worse than the fault actually was... but to be fair to TG, they showed what happened to the test car. Perhaps it would have been fairer to not show it being pushed into the hangar, but at this point it gets subjective. In my view TG hasn't done anything wrong.

  5. Top Gear? Phony? Say it isn't so. I mean a show that "reviewed" a Yugo and called it a BMW because BMW wouldn't loan them a car? The show where they built RVs on cars? Does that mean that John Stewart isn't really a journalist? The horror!

  6. This is stupid, first off, Jeremy said they figured it would only do 53 miles around their track before needing to be recharged. That's completely reasonable, if you watch other episodes they regularly mention that most cars they test around their track get 3 mpg! As for the mechanical break down, I think it was just bad luck for Tesla. Top Gear is pretty hard on their cars, they break things on cars all the time testing them.
    Overall I think they were very much in favor of the Tesla other than the overheated motor and break problem.

  7. Strange how Tesla are not suing a rival show here in england 5th Gear - when they did a test of the car on a normal route that was a mix of town driving AND motorway they only managed about 80 miles before the batteries were almost empty. which to me is a LOR lower than Teslas claims.

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