Row erupts over Top Gear Lincoln episode

Nissan is blasting BBC Top Gear’s review of the company’s electric car, the Leaf, which was deliberately broken down in Lincoln in an episode of the show.

The Top Gear episode that aired on Sunday showed Jeremy Clarkson driving the Nissan Leaf to Lincoln, where it ran out of electricity and was then pushed by helpful bystanders to an impromptu charging point at the University of Lincoln.

Clarkson drew a furious response from Nissan, which said data from the car, automatically sent to Nissan, showed the Leaf had been driven in circles around Lincoln until the battery ran out.

Nissan also pointed out the car battery had only a 40% charge when Clarkson began his trip, although the vehicle was delivered to Top Gear with a full charge.

Nissan’s executive vice-president, Andy Palmer, accused Top Gear in an interview with The Times (paywall) of deceiving viewers, saying there were safeguards in place to stop Leaf drivers running out of power.

Jeremy Clarkson refuted the accusations and reportedly said: “That’s how TV works. The piece was about the difficulties of recharging the electric car.”

“At no point did we mislead the viewers. Top Gear’s job is to say to everybody, ‘Just a minute, do not believe (electric cars) can be run as simply as you have been told. Charging them up is a pain in the arse’.”

The BBC also weighed in on the row with a statement saying: “The point of the film was to show how bad the charging infrastructure is in the UK.

“The car needed to run out of charge so that could be demonstrated.

“Since we weren’t testing the range claims, it made no difference how much charge we started with.

“We don’t say how much petrol went into a car when it started a journey.”

Sources: The First Post, Cnet, AFP/Yahoo News