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Tesla Motors Objects To Clarkson’s Top Gear Roadster Review

Posted in Car Reviews, Cars, Electric Cars, Honda, Newsworthy, Tesla by Suzanne Denbow | December 19th, 2008 | 5 Responses |

After Jeremy Clarkson’s less-than glowing review of the luxury electric-hybrid Tesla Roadster on a recent episode of Top Gear garnered huge front-page time amongst the gearhead circuit, Tesla Motors’ Senior Communications Manager, Rachel Konrad began issuing good-natured statements gently rebuking what appears to be Clarkson’s slight exaggeration of the Roadster’s failure. Said Konrad, “Never at any time did Clarkson or any of the Top Gear drivers run out of charge. In fact, they never got below 20 percent charge in either car; they never had to push a car off the track because of lack of charge or a fault. (It’s unclear why they were filmed pushing one into a garage in the video.)”

Moreover, Konrad also went on to explain that Clarkson’s remarks claiming TG’s Roadster required a lengthy 16 hours to fully recharge were not corroborated by the personal accounts of current Tesla owners. “The vast majority of people who have taken delivery of their Roadsters (and there are more than 100 of them now) have much faster systems that recharge from dead to full in as little as 3.5 hours.” Continued Konrad, “However, I really enjoyed and heartily endorse Clarkson’s suggestion that, if people want to race Roadsters 24-7, they should simply buy two.”

Understandably a little miffed about the gushing review Clarkson bestowed upon the Honda FXC Clarity later on in the same segment, Konrad further went to dissect what she referred to as Clarkson’s “entertainingly gushing coverage of Honda’s hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle.” Unimpressed by TG’s attempt to win over Jacques Bonhomme, Konrad offered a few pertinent details about the FCX Clarity which had largely been left out. “…[the Honda FCX Clarity] which — they omitted this part — cannot be purchased at all but rather leased for $600 per month in Southern California to 200 pre-qualified customers in the next three years. Clarkson rips on the Roadster for being three times the price of a Lotus Elise — yet I find it odd that the humble advocate for everyman never even mentions the price of the Clarity, which is about five times the cost of a Roadster, according to industry analysts. (Honda refuses to divulge the price of the Clarity, but its previous FCX, first delivered in 2002, cost about $1 million each to produce, and executives have coyly indicated that the new ones are about half the cost of the old ones.)”

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5 Responses

  1. Rock517 says:

    I’m just glad Konrad was a little “miffed” rather than “muffed.”

  2. The Tesla roadster is reportedly going to be the center of a new automotive empire. More importantly to those who consider themselves environmentalists, the money that Tesla has gotten for R&D will pay off with what are called “green” sedans. Two days ago, a retired transit systems engineer asserted to me that, “As soon as Tesla gets that money, they’ll be selling Teslas as fast as they can.”

    I begged to differ, admitting my own ignorance of the Tesla – although I did say I’ve driven the car from which it derives, the Lotus Elise and thought that quite nice indeed – but said, “At $200,000? Maybe if they build that sedan. That’s where economies of scale come into play.”

    The retired one understood me and the subject went elsewhere; but not before he told me how “stupid” Detroit was to build all those SUVs that made the dealerships and companies so much money, in times of better credit for the masses (me included), when they should have been doing what Tesla is.

    Thing is, this movie has played before, so to speak. In the late 1970s, and the early 1980s, until the price of oil stabilized, it seemed a virtual plethora of companies were building electric cars that would be The Next Big Thing. Additionally, using a V6 sourced from the Volvo-Renault-Peugeot consortium of the time, a man named John DeLorean promised that his gullwing sports car was the beginning of an automotive empire that would be socially and environmentally responsible.

    Maybe it comes down to the difference between those who want to save nature but call themselves “conservationists” instead of “envoironmentalists.” The former knows that economics, while sometimes a troublesome thing, based as it is on the human animal, can’t be ignored in saving nature; while the latter acts as if economics doesn’t even exist, or bear on new and emerging technology.

    It’s as simple as this. In a world where people prefer wireless over dial-up modems, how are you going to sell a sports car for $200,000 when its interface with what is called “infrastructure” still leaves so much to be desired?

  3. Just read the Tesla article in the February 09 road and Track. The Tesla Roadster with a base price of 109K comes standard with 248 horse power produced from an AC induction air cooled electric motor. Top speed of 121 miles per hour and a quarter mile time of 12.7 seconds. I think this is not only amazing but hope for the future of electric cars.

  4. Magic Dog says:

    Tesla is a California computer company that fails to realize that people are much tougher when it comes to cars. You can’t lie about you car’s specifications and performance and expect to get away with it. Electric cars are a great idea, but hell will freeze over before I buy one from some Silicon Valley hype merchant who says, “The brakes failed? It was just a fuse.”