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BBC Provide Advertising Space For Tesla

April 7, 2016

By Paul Homewood 


h/t Stewgreen




We all know about the BBC’s love for everything green, but it appears they have now crossed the line and gone into the advertising business on behalf of Tesla.


The above Radio 4 interview ran on 31st March, and allowed Ben Hammersley, described as a British internet expert and journalist living in the US, the opportunity to give a glowing assessment of just how wonderful electric cars are. Not content to leave matters there, they a photo of the Tesla Model X logo, along with the plug:

Can a cheaper electric car persuade more of us to buy one? Tesla, the company founded by the technology billionaire Elon Musk, is unveiling its first affordable electric car in Los Angeles. The Model 3 will cost around 20 thousand pounds.

Last year, Tesla sold about 50 thousand of its higher end models, which have prices comparable to brands like BMW and Mercedes.


But this just turns out to be the start. In the following days, a succession of articles were posted on the BBC News website, all providing further puffs for Tesla:



Back in January, I visited the Tesla Design Studio in Hawthorne, California, to interview the firm’s founder and chief executive, Elon Musk.

"Unless there’s an affordable car we will only have a small impact on the world," Mr Musk told me.

"We need to make a car that most people can afford in order to have a substantial impact. If we could have made an affordable car straight off the bat we definitely would have, it’s just that it takes time to refine the technology."

But building a car that most people can afford is not just about fulfilling Mr Musk’s mission to create a more sustainable form of transport.

The Model S and Model X have won rave reviews and are credited with transforming attitudes in the motor industry – and amongst drivers – to electric vehicles.

In the UK, we have a quarter of Europe’s electric vehicle production and a fifth of all sales.

The production is mostly the Nissan Leaf, made in Sunderland – though at around £25,000 for a car with a range of around 100 miles (161km) it may begin to look expensive when the Tesla arrives.

What Tesla has achieved is already remarkable, forcing the likes of BMW, Porsche and GM to move their electric vehicle efforts from sideshows into the mainstream.







Tesla has unveiled its much-anticipated Model 3 electric car – its lowest-cost vehicle to date.

The price and range of the five-seater should make the vehicle appeal to new types of customers and could boost interest in other electric vehicles.

Chief executive Elon Musk said his goal was to produce about 500,000 vehicles a year once production is at full speed.

Within a day of the launch, Mr Musk tweeted that 180,000 vehicles had been pre-ordered.

He added that, if the average price tag ended up at $42,000 (£29,500), this would equate to $7.5bn in one day.

The California-based company needs the vehicle to prove popular if it is to stay in business, though pre-orders of the Model 3 will not necessarily all translate to actual sales when the car is released.

The first deliveries of the vehicle are scheduled to start in late 2017, and it can be ordered in advance in dozens of countries, including the UK, Ireland, Brazil, India, China and New Zealand.

The basic model will start at $35,000 (£24,423) and have a range of at least 215 miles (346km) per charge.







Tesla founder and chief executive Elon Musk says pre-orders of the firm’s much-anticipated Model 3 electric car currently total 276,000.

The California-based firm unveiled the five-seater car – its lowest-cost vehicle to date – on Thursday.

Mr Musk tweeted the total reflected the orders received by the end of Saturday.

Pre-orders of the Model 3 will not necessarily all translate into actual sales when the car is released, with first deliveries in late 2017.

It can be ordered in advance in dozens of countries, including the UK, Republic of Ireland, Brazil, India, China and New Zealand.

Potential car owners need to put down $1,000 deposits to reserve their vehicles.

Such has been the interest that Mr Musk tweeted the company was "definitely going to need to rethink production planning".

Research spend

Mr Musk has said his goal is to produce about 500,000 vehicles a year once production is at full capacity.

The basic model will start at $35,000 (£24,423) and have a range of at least 215 miles (346km) per charge.


Even delays in obtaining parts is given a positive spin:


Tesla Motors has revealed that supplies of its Model X electric car have been impacted by a shortage of parts meaning delays for some who have ordered them.

It blamed its own "hubris" for overloading the Model X with technology.


The BBC’s guidelines are quite clear:

The BBC is not permitted to carry advertising or sponsorship on its public services.


A quite clearly coordinated series of reports and interviews, which promote the Tesla, and indeed allow Tesla to promote themselves, even to the extent of providing pricing information, cannot be regarded as anything else but advertising.

  1. April 7, 2016 11:25 am

    An analysis by Bjorn Lomborg of the Tesla hype today in the Telegraph:—elon-musks-electric-cars-arent-about-to-save-th/

  2. Jackington permalink
    April 7, 2016 11:26 am

    Hmm -I draw attention to Bjorn Limborg’s piece in today;s D.Telegraph.- I don’t suppose it will be reported by the BBC.

  3. Ex-expat Colin permalink
    April 7, 2016 11:35 am

    At least Clarkson mentions “whats not to like”…a lot. Oh No…he’s gone elsewhere.

    He did prefer that silly BMW electric/petrol thing over the fossil fuelled one though. And I think TG later discovered the silly BMW had a range of 50 miles on its tank. Batteries….yuk.

  4. Peter Langdon permalink
    April 7, 2016 11:37 am

    If everyone starts buying electrically powered transport (which represents some 30% of total uk energy consumption) where is the extra electricity needed going to come from? Hinkley in 20 years time perhaps?

  5. April 7, 2016 12:16 pm

    The green agenda is all about PR, and hype .and attaching it to ‘wishful thinking’.

    The new Tesla is nowhere near ready. Their own delivery date is “the end of 2017”
    Which surely means 2018.

    After all the hype of the TechTent special episode the BBC’s own own journalist basically said it’s a non-story
    #1 There is no NEW tech in the Model 3
    #2 The “model for the masses”* Price is still $35,000 in the US ie Luxury if not super luxury which is above Jag and high end BMW price
    #3 When do you think delivery is …next week ?

    * BBC page actually said that, and also ‘accidentally’ mis-calculated is as £20,000 not the £25,000 it actually is.

    I’m guessing that much of the pre-orders are actually touts looking to buy a queue place to make easy money. Tesla only make 50,000 cars/year in 2015. So even if they built a new plant in 2016/17 it’ll take a long time to deliver those 276,000 Model-S orders.

    Share price dropped the other day cos they failed to make the quarter production Musk-PROMISE of 16,000 they made 14,800

    • April 7, 2016 12:42 pm

      BBC page actually said that, and also ‘accidentally’ mis-calculated is as £20,000 not the £25,000 it actually is.

      This raises another issue, Stew.

      US car prices are well below UK ones for all sorts of reasons. For the BBC to convert to £, thus implying that this would be the price in UK is utterly dishonest

      • David Richardson permalink
        April 7, 2016 3:39 pm

        The BBC utterly dishonest Paul – surely not!!

        It has got to the stage now where I assume I am being mislead on anything they say. I was going to say even the news, but it is really especially the news.

  6. April 7, 2016 12:35 pm

    Can’t wait to hear the wails when all of these little bugs run out of juice and come to a halt, clogging up the LA freeways.

    • April 7, 2016 2:40 pm

      Oh the misery: a Sig-alert on the 405 near LAX on a 100F August day.

  7. Gamecock permalink
    April 7, 2016 1:35 pm

    Electric cars fail financially. The expense of the battery/electric drive system is far greater than any savings on fuel costs.

    $25,000 will buy you a nice Honda Accord EX in the U.S. You’ll spend about a $1000 a year on fuel.

    Spending an extra $10k on the Mod 3 doesn’t save you any money.

    BWTM: Depreciation on cheapy plug in electrics is severe. The Tesla 85D holds its value pretty well, but if the Mod 3, intended to be ‘cheap,’ loses value like the Nissan LEAF, the cost of ownership will be way more severe than the up front $10k premium.

    So, the Mod 3 will just be another “I-care-about-the-environment-more-than-you-do” statement car, affordable only to the not-quite-as-rich as the 85D buyers.

  8. Mike Post permalink
    April 7, 2016 2:04 pm

    Musk is quoted as saying: “We need to make a car that most people can afford in order to have a substantial impact. If we could have made an affordable car straight off the bat we definitely would have, it’s just that it takes time to refine the technology.”
    It is not merely being able to afford his car that counts. According to the 2010 ONS UK Housing Survey, only 66% of UK dwellings have off-street parking. So a third of the UK population is excluded from the potential market.

  9. April 7, 2016 2:40 pm

    One thing is certain – it is a waste of time complaining to the BBC about anything it gets up to. According to the BBC, the BBC is never wrong.

  10. April 7, 2016 3:11 pm

    It’s amusing to witness the amount of bile that local certifiable Green (Party) loony Kevin Sharp throws at Tesla as a disgruntled Roadster buyer. Tesla’s support customer care policy does make Apple look like an open source effort…. – but one can’t help thinking that the object of Tesla’s customer care ministrations deserves every last bit of it.

  11. David Richardson permalink
    April 7, 2016 3:53 pm

    O/T – but BBC related.

    I always keep half an eye on the Ice Age Now website. It saves me having to chase down all those cold events in the warmest year evah!

    Cold and Snow records in N America/Canada since the new year as well as Asia with Snow as far south as S. Vietnam. Also Russia, Turkey etc Worth a look at just this week gone – second snowiest March in Colorado Ski resorts. Have a scroll back to the New Year – interesting if a little obsessive – well they do have a book to sell.

    My point is that this is just weather (we hope) not climate, but has it been all over the BBC these last 12 weeks?? Or in the Graun?? Imagine if these same places had been sweltering under record warm temps!!?? In fairness a friend of mine who listens to the Overseas Service tells me the Asian cold/snow did get a mention a few weeks back.

  12. It doesn't add up... permalink
    April 7, 2016 5:12 pm

    BBC Infomercial Productions Ltd. is presumably practising against the day when they no longer get a right to extort from those who don’t even make use of its services. One wonders what the quid pro quo from Musk and Co. is. Will Harrabin get one as a company car?

    As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, the BBC omits to mention that in the US prices are always quoted before taxes (partly because local taxes vary so much across the country) – so even the “corrected” £24,423 (spurious accuracy, given that the $35,000 is only quoted as an approximate price for the base model, and outdated within seconds as the exchange rate traded) is not a proper analogue of a UK OTR price, which is reported in the motor press as around £35,000 – hardly a Ford Focus competitor. Add in that the “typical” vehicle is expected to sell for close to $42,000 once options have been added in (?proper seats), and we’re heading comfortably into executive territory.

    Perhaps we could refer them to the ASA for lacking truth in advertising?

  13. catweazle666 permalink
    April 7, 2016 9:03 pm

    When an electric car can match my 1996 turbo diesel Mercedes that I take about three minutes to fill its twin tanks and is then good for around 500 miles at 45MPG, I might be interested.

    Oh, and it runs even better on vegetable oil due to a slightly higher CV that I can buy for as little as 50p per litre at the local cheap store, removes injector clatter too.

    Oh, and a hint for all other diesel burners.

    My local garage recommends a tin of magic diesel performance improver costing £12 be tipped in at every service, and it actually makes a perceptible difference due to cleaning the injectors etc. So I acquired one of the cans and inspected the EC chemical ID numbers.

    Turns out it is a mixture of white spirit AKA brush cleaner and naphtha AKA barbecue lighting fluid.

    So now I brew my own, at less than £1 per dose.

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      April 8, 2016 5:53 am

      Make sure the white spirit is aliphatic not aromatic based. (In Australia the difference between Lighting kerosene at 40% aromatics). Diesels don’t like aromatics.

      White Spirit is just a generic name and can differ in composition, its seems that UK types will be less than 25% aromatics. Odorless White Spirits is lower in aromatics, and might be a better choice (lower in toxicity too). Anything touted as good for cleaning may be because of higher aromatics content as they are better solvents.

      It works by being more volatile and lower in flashpoint, also ‘fluidizes’ the diesel. The same trick is used in petrol where more volatile components are included in winter grade than in summer grade petrol. You didn’t know that it changes in composition? Don’t tell the BBC or they will claim it is due to Climate Change.

  14. April 8, 2016 8:53 am

    BBC Pension Fund owns £19.8m Tesla shares directly *
    but that of course is not the reason for bias, which is a culture of GreenDream zombies.

    BBC management has consistently failed to deal with the bias that comes from the green zombie staff optimism about GreenDream.
    Green stuff gets a free ride when it should be challenged and credit has to be given to the challenging that only now slowly beginning to creep in eg the TechTent reporter who put the real facts right at the end.of the ‘advert’

    We need a hashtag something like #bbcFreeGreenAds & #bbcFreeRides4Lefties

    * Most BBC Green investments are well hidden due to the fact that 90% of the pension fund is not directly invested in equities , but rather thru other investment trusts.
    However Tesla is the BBCPF #15 equity investment at £19.8m PDF
    Also if you check the BBCPF voting declarations you can see a skewing towards GreenDream corps and away from old style corps PDF

  15. April 8, 2016 9:15 am

    oops typo
    In a similar style you will find the BBC doing what are essentially attack adverts against Donald Trump like one they promoted in this tweet

  16. Bloke down the pub permalink
    April 8, 2016 10:42 am

    Elon should stick to launching space craft rather than new cars. Spacex, Musk’s other company in the lime light, is launching a resupply mission to the ISS tonight. Watch on from about 9.30 pm.

  17. Wellers permalink
    April 8, 2016 11:40 am

    The BBC were at it again last night. In the R4 Six O’clock News there was an item by Victoria Gill about counting penguins in Antarctica as part of a scientific study. She reported that the penguins are under threat from ‘climate change’, although she did not state whether this was from cooling (the reality of recent years according to the scientific record) or from warming. The PenguinWatch study is asking for help from the public in monitoring penguins via webcams, especially children. Yet more indoctrination! Link here:

  18. April 8, 2016 6:50 pm

    Really liked reading this. Couldn’t agree more on many of the point you’ve made. Thanks for the dialogue.

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