Tesla sues Top Gear television show

* BBC sued for libel and malicious falsehood * Claims the BBC lied and staged breakdowns * Electric car's range disputed, too...

Tesla sues Top Gear television show

Electric car manufacturer Tesla has launched legal action against the BBC's Top Gear television programme.

The manufacturer says an episode in which the Tesla Roadster was tested contained lies and misinformation about the car's performance, behaviour and reliability.

Tesla says the BBC staged breakdowns of the Roadster and that Top Gear misrepresented the car's range at 55 miles when its official average test cycle figure is 211 miles.

Tesla's statement
A statement on Tesla's website says: 'Tesla reluctantly took legal action after its repeated attempts to contact the BBC, over the course of months, were ignored.

'The breakdowns were staged and the statements are untrue. Yet the programmes lies are repeatedly and consistently re-broadcast to hundreds of millions of viewers worldwide on BBC television and websites, and on other TV channels via syndication; the show is available on the internet, and is for sale on Top Gear DVDs around the world.

'Tesla wants people to know the truth, and correct the publics misperceptions. The Roadster and its EV technology, as well as EVs in general, have been unfairly and viciously maligned by Top Gear.

'Tesla simply wants Top Gear to stop rebroadcasting this malicious episode and to correct the record, but theyve repeatedly ignored Teslas requests.'

The car maker's communications boss, Ricardo Reyes, says the company played along with the programme when it first aired two years ago, but has been left having to explain the misconceptions of electric cars that it has generated as a result.

In a blog on the Tesla website, Reyes said the show's 'buffoonery' was taken as truth and that the script for the segment had been written before the cars were driven.

The BBC news website report of the legal action has a statement from a spokesman who said:

'We can confirm that we have received notification that Tesla has issued proceedings against the BBC.

'The BBC stands by the programme and will be vigorously defending this claim.'