The producers of Top Gear fake the driving experience of electric cars (once again). This time with the Nissan LEAF after pulling a similar stunt with the Tesla Roadster on a previous episode.
In the episode that Aired July 31, 2011 (episode 6 Season 17) feature two EVs the Peugeot iOn and a Nissan LEAF, which were driven to the UK city of Lincoln, where the LEAF (driven by Jeremy Clarkson) was purposely run out of juice. The EV was then pushed to a nearby unsuitable location for recharging to increase the drama and then pushed again to where it could be recharged at Lincoln University.
Obviously the producers didn’t have to drain the battery before the trip and Jeremy Clarkson also didn’t have to ignore low energy warning levels of the battery. The situation was created for the benefit of the show (in theory) to increase the entertainment value. Filming EVs successfully complete a standard commute within their range doesn’t qualify as good television. However, it is exactly what everyone wants when it comes to their transportation needs, which would be something more categorized as: boring, uneventful and dependable. If the producers of Top Gear wanted something different they could have had the hosts of the show drive a few of the electric Toyota RAV4 s that have been on the roads in California since 1997 – 2003 that are still going strong!
A point to ponder is that even though the first recharge location was an unsuitable location at least there were more options to get the vehicle back on the road as the number of electric outlets far exceed the number of fossil fuel filling stations. If Top Gear had attempted the same trip in a gas or diesel powered car in an identical depleted state there would have had to push their car even further as there obviously were no gas stations nearby.
Speaking as someone who also has a few TV and Film producer credits to their name::
“EV enthusiasts should try not to get too upset or critical about the manipulation of EV facts by the Top Gear TV show. The show is about entertainment and is not a fact gathering precursor to purchasing a new vehicle.
In fact Top Gear’s misrepresentation of electric cars may have unwittingly done the electric vehicle industry a huge favor–since their TV program has now pre-conditioned the expectations about electric cars of perhaps several hundred million viewers in 170 different countries to be pre-positioned artificially low.
What is likely to happen hopefully in the near future when these same viewers have their own real world encounter with an EV and/or speak to electric car owners in person, the stage will be set for them to be even more impressed by these wonderful vehicles than would have ever been possible without the previous “entertaining” deception of Top Gear.
One really does have to expect that Top Gear would NOT be basking EVs in the best of light especially after discovering that the TV show is sponsored by a major oil company (Shell).
Judges in the British court system have gone on record as saying that no reasonable person would confuse what Top Gear says with a real unbiased car review. The Top Gear show is created for entertainment purposes and should not be watched for reasons of obtaining accurate information. Sadly the same should also be said about for some major Television News Networks. Sorry to say I disagree with the British court system in this regard even some “reasonable” people could use a gentle reminder as the fictitious nature of some TV programs perhaps by use of required warning labels or statements, before and after the broadcast.
Video clip of when Top Gear comes to Lincoln to recharge for Season 17 (University of Lincoln)
EV of the Year Judge at EV.com, independent green journalist, photographer, author and sustainability activist that has published over 1000 articles. Mr Burridge’s travels have taken him to over 30 countries and 300+ major cities. He is originally from the USA, but has been residing in Australia for the last seven years. Connect to Ken Burridge on: Twitter, facebook, Google+, Linked in or website