In 2012, BBC's TV show, Top Gear, became the most widely watched TV program in the world. Part of the reason for the show's wild success was it's outspoken, controversial co-host, Jeremy Clarkson. However, the controversy came to a head in 2015 when he was fired from Top Gear. Over the course of Clarkson's career, one of his most publicized, albeit ill-conceived, targets was Tesla.
Above: Jeremy Clarkson and the controversial 2008 Top Gear segment featuring the original Tesla Roadster (Image: Autoblog via BBC)
Clarkson has since reunited with the old Top Gear gang for The Grand Tour, a new show on Amazon. And RadioTimes reports, "Tesla will appear in the second series of The Grand Tour, almost ten years after Jeremy Clarkson’s infamous Top Gear Tesla car review that resulted in a three-year legal battle. Tesla attempted to sue the BBC show for libel following Clarkson’s Top Gear film on the Tesla Roadster in 2008." Although Tesla didn't win the lawsuit, the Roadster's problems portrayed in Top Gear's segment were fabricated/scripted into a skit as "entertainment" even though it didn't reflect reality.
In any event, regardless of the bad blood with Tesla, "Clarkson has revealed that his Amazon series will feature a new Tesla car, with The Grand Tour presenter saying it was time to 'revisit' what the company has been getting up to." Clarkson explained, “We have got a Tesla in this series, the first one for a long time. We got it by ‘other means’. We didn’t borrow it from Tesla.” This week, Mashable released a short teaser from Clarkson, see below.
Above: Jeremy Clarkson could be rethinking Tesla (Youtube: Mashable Daily)
Referring to Tesla's lawsuit, Clarkson said, “You know they sued and lost, then appealed and lost that again? The courts found in our favour. I did a very fair and honest – cruel, but honest – report on how terrible that first Tesla was. Since then they’ve changed a lot, so we thought it was time to revisit and see where they are now. And in many ways it’s extremely impressive that new Tesla.”
What is Elon Musk's take on Jeremy Clarkson? In 2013, he told the BBC that Tesla was, "... in the worst possible position for someone like Clarkson. Clarkson’s [Top Gear] show is much more about entertainment than it is about truth... I think most people realise that but not everyone. I’ve actually enjoyed a lot of his shows. It’s not as though I just hate Top Gear or anything. He can be very funny and irreverent. But he does have a strong bias against electric cars. His two pet peeves are American cars and electric cars, and we’re an American electric car. We’re in the worst possible situation for someone like Clarkson.”
Above: Elon Musk reflects on the Top Gear incident and discusses Jeremy Clarkson (Youtube: BBC Newsnight)
Now, it appears Clarkson may (finally) be reconsidering his views on Tesla. Top Gear certainly has — the show has since featured the Tesla Model X. Did Top Gear have a different opinion on Tesla after Clarkson's departure? One of the new hosts, Rory Reid, went so far as to proclaim that the Tesla Model X is, "an electric car that might just do to petrol and diesel what the Ford Model T did to the horse."
Note: Article originally published on evannex.com, by Matt Pressman