Tesla Motors sues BBC Top Gear programme alleging false claims

BBC's Top Gear TV programme is facing legal action from  electric sports car maker Tesla Motors for allegedly faking a scene which showed the company's Roadster car running out of electricity and slowing to a halt in a race.

The legal move relates to a show first aired in 2008.

A writ against the show has been issued by specialist libel law firm Carter-Ruck on Tuesday in the high court as the scene was still being shown on worldwide repeats and was available on DVD, and the BBC had failed to correct it. The firm is suing for around £100,000 in damages.

The show featured a race between the company's Roadster car and a petrol-powered Lotus Elise, in which the £87,000-electric car was shown having to stop for a recharge. However, according to Tesla the car never ran out of electricity.

Tesla claims that neither of the two Roadsters that had been loaned to the Top Gear team ran below 20 per cent of charge.

Earlier in the same episode, Jeremy Clarkson the show's anchor had praised the Tesla, "I cannot believe this – that's biblically quick. This car is electric, literally.