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Top Gear Pops The Top Off The Tesla – Gives It A Proper Review

Posted in Car Reviews, Car Tech, Domestic Review, Electric Cars, Expensive Cars, Fast Cars, Popular Cars, Racing, Roadster, Tesla, Videos by Corey | December 15th, 2008 | 2 Responses |

Englishmen are pure entertainment. I love the way they say “naught” and “petrol” and pronounce every single letter in the word “aluminum”. I’d be a faithful viewer of “Random Yorkshire Residents Read The Phonebook” if they had such a program. Still, it’s even better when the show is about something interesting, like Top Gear.

Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson recently flogged two Tesla Roadsters to death while trying to test their limits. He set up a head-to-head with the Tesla and a Lotus Elise, and was initially impressed by the massive torque, and thus acceleration, of the Tesla’s electric motor. But in the end, after a thorough beat down, he decided the car just doesn’t perform well in the real world.

Near the end, he makes the point that after “Brad Cruise and Leonardo DeCloony” buy their cars and Tesla has gone through the first generation, the quality and reliability will increase. I absolutely agree and I think that’s more than just an offhand comment to make at the end of the segment, I think that’s a major point. These are first generation vehicles powered by cutting edge technology, they deserve a bit of slack. Continue reading to see the Stig’s track time with the Tesla and read the official Ridelust translation of the Morse code heard during the Stig’s run:

“Not bad for a motor that’s the size of a watermelon”

The Stig’s time: 1:27.2 on a moist track. That puts it between the Aston Martin DB9 and the Porsche 911 GT3 RS – that’s some high class company to keep. And as for the Morse code heard during the Stig’s run, it says “I like Gary Newman” and then “That pork tasted funny”. Strange, I always figured the Stig to be kosher.

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2 Responses

  1. For the record: Thanks to The Stig’s impressive turn behind the wheel, the Tesla Roadster gets ranked in Top Gear’s performance board just above a Porsche 911 GT3. Jeremy Clarkson, a die-hard “petrol head” with a clear bias against green cars generally, said that it must be “snowing in hell” because he had such a great time driving the Roadster and now considers himself a “volt head” thanks to the Roadster’s amazing performance. This is amazingly high praise from Clarkson, whose entire schtick is to savage even his most beloved petrol-guzzling sports cars.

    However, I would like to clarify a couple things. 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.)

    The “brake failure” Clarkson mentions was solely a blown fuse; a service technician replaced it and the Roadster was back up and running immediately. They were never without a car, and the Top Gear testing did not put the Roadster’s reliability or safety in question whatsoever. Again, I can’t speculate as to why the good folks at Top Gear might have mischaracterized the blown fuse as a brake failure.

    I am also unclear as to why Clarkson said it took 16 hours to recharge the Roadster without qualifying that statement at all. 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. However, I really enjoyed and heartily endorse Clarkson’s suggestion that, if people want to race Roadsters 24-7, they should simply buy two. ;)

    If anyone continued watching the show until the end, you no doubt also saw the show’s entertainingly gushing coverage of Honda’s hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, 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.)

    Thanks.

    Rachel Konrad
    Senior Communications Manager
    Tesla Motors Inc.

  2. J Le B says:

    “…and pronounce every single letter in the word “aluminum”.

    We don’t pronounce every letter…

    We actually spell it aluminium, the proper way ;)