Tesla Motors Sues BBC for Libel Over "Top Gear" Story

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Upstart electric car company Tesla Motors has filed a libel suit against the BBC, accusing one of its television shows of defaming its cars.

According to a report on the British web site Hardware, in 2008 the show "Top Gear" aired a segment comparing the electric Tesla Roadster and a Lotus Elise. The show said the Tesla ran out of power after 55 miles. Host Jeremy Clarkson said, "It's just a shame that in the real world, it doesn't seem to work."

However that is not what really happened; the car never did run out of juice. Producers later admitted that it was only showing what would have happened if the car ran out of power. The audience was never told that.

Now that the episode is being shown in the United States and is out on DVD, Tesla said it was forced to sue to "clear up their lies," the Daily Mail reports.

Tesla said many potential buyers bring up the "Top Gear" report amid concerns about buying one of its cars.

The company said on its web site:

"Tesla simply wants Top Gear to stop rebroadcasting this malicious episode and to correct the record, but they’ve repeatedly ignored Tesla’s requests."

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