Remember the Tesla - Top Gear debacle?

By LeftFooted | Cars & tech | 10 Jun 2023

It's been over ten years, and there have been no new developments, so this will feel a bit out of place, but I still wanted to talk about it 'cause I was watching a YouTube video about it.

Over ten years ago, closer to fifteen actually, ex-BBC and Prime Video presenter Jeremy Clarkson drove a Tesla Roadster on Top Gear and the segment was every bit entertainment as it was... troublesome.

Clarkson and Top Gear claimed the car had broken down twice, and the battery overheated.

By contrast, Musk and Tesla claimed it was all scripted and the car worked well, they just made it look like it had broken down for entertainment purposes.

According to Clarkson, Tesla sued him and the BBC and lost, and then they appealed, and lost again.

The truth was probably in the middle.

The first Tesla Roadster, and I'm very fortunate and proud to say I've actually driven that car when it first came out, was raw and it felt incomplete.

It was based on the Lotus Elise and it was uncomfortable, but ultra-fast.

The range wasn't that great, so I don't doubt that, considering how Top Gear famously brutally puts cars under stress for its shows, the vehicle definitely struggled to remain usable.

Having said that, it wasn't a libelous test drive, just a fun one.

You can watch the full review here.

How do you rate this article?



I’m a left-footed duck that loves writing. I write about cars, watches, craft beer and, you’ve guessed it, crypto Also active on

Cars & tech
Cars & tech


Send a $0.01 microtip in crypto to the author, and earn yourself as you read!

20% to author / 80% to me.
We pay the tips from our rewards pool.