"US car maker Tesla has lost a crucial round of its high-profile libel case against the BBC's Top Gear motoring program.
The electric car specialist had launched legal action against Top Gear and lead presenter Jeremy Clarkson earlier this year after it alleged a 2009 episode of the show deliberately misled viewers regarding the battery range of its Roadster model.
The segment showed the film crew pushing the Tesla off the test track, with controversial host Clarkson claiming the Roadster had run out of charge after just 55 miles on its track. Tesla claims the Roadster can travel 200 miles on a full charge.
A British high court judge, however, this week dismissed Tesla's libel claim. "In my judgment, the words complained of are wholly incapable of conveying any meaning at all to the effect that the claimant [Tesla] misled anyone," Mr Justice Tugendhat is reported as ruling.
"This is because there is a contrast between the style of driving and the nature of the track as compared with the conditions on a public road [...] are so great that no reasonable person could understand that the performance on the [Top Gear] track is capable of a direct comparison with a public road."
This is a bit childish on the part of Tesla. Any car uses up more juice when driven fast but that effect is much greater with an electric car. Driving it fast drastically shortens the distance it can go. Apparently Tesla thought Jeremy Clarkson should have emphasized that -- but there was no reason for him to do their PR.
Driving cars fast is one of the things he does. He has a test track especially for that -- and it was good information for his viewers to show them the effect of that. There is no way what he did was libel. It was in fact just showing the truth: Electric cars don't go far if you drive them fast.
Electric cars are just expensive Greenie toys anyway. People who buy them are just trying to prove that they are better than everyone else. But all the buyers really prove is that they've got more money than sense.