Nissan has accused Top Gear of misleading its viewers after featuring the brand’s Leaf electric vehicle running out of charge after a 30 mile journey.
Nissan said the Leaf’s battery had been deliberately run down to 40% of its battery capacity. The Leaf was supplied to Top Gear fully charged with a 100 mile range.
Clarkson admitted in an article in The Times that the battery had been allowed to run low in order to highlight “the difficulties of recharging the electric car”.
Clarkson said: “They had to be low on charge once we arrived in Lincoln. That’s how TV works. At no point did we mislead the viewers. Top Gear‘s job is to say to everybody: ‘Just a minute, do not believe can be run as simply as you have been told’.”
Andy Wilman, Top Gear‘s executive producer, said in a statment: “We never, at any point in the film, said that we were testing the range claims of the vehicles, nor did we say that the vehicles wouldn’t achieve their claimed range. We also never said at any time that we were hoping to get to our destination on one charge.”
Andy Palmer, Nissan's executive vice-president, said the Top Gear episode had been misleading. He said Nissan had added a significant safety margin to the range of the Leaf to prevent drivers from running out of power. The sat-nav system warns drivers at the start if they do not have enough power to reach their destination.