As expected Top Gear electric car review falls short

by admin on 6 August 2011

Top Gear Nissan Leaf push

For those who have seen it Top Gear's electric car piece (involving the Nissan Leaf and the Peugeot Ion) was the oh-so-predictable bias journalism from a team who think that EV evangalists are all eco-warriers (we're not, by far) and they can be cool by bashing us.

The aim of the piece was to drive sixty miles to Cleethorpes, however unlike other distance / time races that Top Gear have produced previously they decided to drain the batteries of the Leaf and Ion before setting out to ensure that they would run out before getting to the destination and then use the opportunity to point out that there are no charging points in the city of Lincoln.  Not to point out the obvious but a bit like not filling up your car and then getting on a road which says "no filling stations for 80 miles".  Better still it turns out that when they got to their pre-planned "breakdown" they had to drive the Leaf around in circles until its battery was completely flat.  The clearest political slip-up by Clarkson was when he shouts "this is what is going to become of you all" from the window of the Leaf as its pushed down the road by May (photo above).  

The facts came out thanks to the telemetrics delivered by the Leaf back to Nissan.  Top Gear's executive producer Andy Wilman responded to Nissan's points and said they never intended to "test the range" of the cars, but at no point was this made clear to the viewer, all the way through the piece Clarkson and May are reporting the range remaining and showing (fake) "range anxiety" but at no point did either of them say "but of course we only started with 40% charge in our batteries".  

Top Gear has always had a mix of factual (and entertaining) testing and pure "larking around" entertainment, this piece blurred the line and topped it off with its own political agenda while decieving the public and damaging the image of electric vehicles.  Why does it matter?  Because Top Gear gets about 5 million viewers in the UK and tens of millions worldwide.