Top Gear used over fake race claim

Electric car manufacturer Tesla is taking legal action against the BBC's Top Gear programme.

The US firm is claiming defamation and malicious 0hood, saying a race in an episode first broadcast back in 2008 was faked. The company has issued a writ at the High Court in London over the race.

The episode saw the Tesla Roadster being pitted against a petrol-powered Lotus Elise in what was described as the ultimate test for an electric car.

The programme showed the Tesla Roadster dropping speed on the race track and eventually being pushed into a garage to be re-charged.

Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson ended the piece saying: "It's just a shame that in the real world it doesn't seem to work."

But Tesla insist that neither of the Roadsters it lent the programme had fallen below 20% of charge.

The company is claiming the scenes were not a 1 representation of the car's performance and that Top Gear "intentionally and/or recklessly, grossly misled potential purchasers of the Roadsters".

The £87,000 Roadster, which can be charged from a standard domestic plug, is the fastest electric vehicle and is favoured by "green" celebrities including George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "The BBC stands by the programme and will be vigorously defending this claim."

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