Top Gear: was the Nissan Leaf test sabotaged?

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Embarassing day for Top Gear: evidence has surfaced implying that Jeremy Clarkson was totally aware of the fact that the battery of the Nissan Leaf tested for the final episode of the show’s 17th series did not have enough charge to finish its 60-mile journey. A serious issue, if you consider that the incident has been used to discredit electric cars‘ effectiveness as well as their place in the future of the automotive sector.

During the Top Gear test in fact we can see the Nissan Leaf running out of electricity half way through its journey to Lincoln - Lincolnshire - followed by the presenters’ 10-hour long struggle to get it recharged. Little we know that the show’s producers have deliberately flattened the battery before setting off in order to make electric vehicles look unmanageable and unreliable in the real world.

We have to remind you that Top Gear seems to have a problem with this kind of cars, often knocking them down, and is currently been sued by electric car maker Tesla for the similar alleged misrepresentation of their Roadster during a 2008 show. The Guardian seems to back up the Nissan Leaf test sabotage theory by pointing out that the car’s electronic dashboard would have notified the driver about the percentage of electricity available (and its translation in miles) as soon as he turned the ignition on.

Top Gear has replied stating that the point of the test wasn’t to make the vehicle look bad, but “to show how bad the charging infrastructure is in the UK [therefore] the car needed to run out of charge so that could be demonstrated” adding that the purpose of the test was not to test the car’s mileage claims. Still Jeremy, we feel a bit cheated.

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