Tesla Sues Top Gear; CEO Shrugs Off Takeover Talk
Fans of the British Top Gear television program may remember the controversy surrounding a segment involving the Tesla Roadster.
First aired back on December 14, 2008, the Top Gear episode (season 12, episode 7) infamously depicted the electric sports car being rolled into a garage in an attempt to highlight the plight of using electricity to solely provide a vehicle’s motive force. A purportedly broken brake pedal was also brought to viewer attention, as was an overheated drive motor. Well-recognized host and all-around funnyman Jeremy Clarkson concluded his piece by saying the Roadster won’t work in the real world. Now, Tesla has sued Top Gear and the British Broadcasting Corporation for libel, claiming the show’s Roadster footage was scripted, produced, and shown in bad faith.
First and foremost, Tesla says the lawsuit isn’t about money and they’d like Top Gear and the BBC to set the record straight on the Roadster. Pulling the segment off all official channels would be a start. Given the popularity of the motoring show, Tesla asserts they’ve tried repeatedly to get the BBC to reconsider showing and reshowing the clip, affirming there’s been enough negativity publicity to warrant their actions. They’ve even set up a Web page dedicated to the litigation, viewable HERE. For now, we wait to see how these events will unfold.
Never one to shy from speaking his mind, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has also gone on the offensive in a different matter, giving his two cents regarding a recent column that calls Tesla a “prime acquisition target.”
For as long as Tesla has been doing business, there have been deathwatches and critical analyses of the Palo Alto-based automaker. Recently, the Business Insider Web site hosted a column titled, “Why Electric Carmaker Tesla Motors Will Likely Be Acquired,” submitted by two University of Virginia students studying at the McIntire School of Commerce. Though the authors don’t appear to doubt Tesla’s products and ideals, they believe the company itself cannot carry on alone and would be ripe for takeover within the next three to five years.
Tesla boss Musk dismisses the Business Insider column, acknowledging the difficulty of entering the auto business, but stating Tesla can pull it off.
“Their analysis of Tesla is incredibly bad,” said Musk by e-mail to Automotive News. “Tesla is of course a potential takeover target, like almost all public companies. However, I’m also highly confident that we can succeed as an independent company.”
With the Model S in the pipeline and scheduled for full production in 2012, Tesla will need its all-electric family sedan to hit the ground running. Whether there’s a takeover or not, it’s simple really: no sales, no business.
Sources: Tesla, Automotive News (Subscription Required), Business Insider
By Benson Kong