Now, however, Clarkson has revealed that his Amazon series will feature a new Tesla car, with The Grand Tour presenter saying it was time to “revisit” what the company has been getting up to.
“We have got a Tesla in this series, the first one for a long time,” Clarkson said, adding, “We got it by ‘other means’. We didn’t borrow it from Tesla.”
Referring to the libel case and subsequent appeal, he said, “You know they sued and lost, then appealed and lost that again? The courts found in our favour. I did a very fair and honest – cruel, but honest – report on how terrible that first Tesla was.
“Since then they’ve changed a lot, so we thought it was time to revisit and see where they are now. And in many ways it’s extremely impressive that new Tesla.”
In 2013, Tesla CEO Elon Musk told BBC Newsnight that Tesla was “in the worst possible position for someone like Clarkson”.
“Clarkson’s show is much more about entertainment than it is about truth,” he said. “I think most people realise that but not everyone. I’ve actually enjoyed a lot of his shows. It’s not as though I just hate Top Gear or anything. He can be very funny and irreverent. But he does have a strong bias against electric cars.
“His two pet peeves are American cars and electric cars, and we’re an American electric car. We’re in the worst possible situation for someone like Clarkson.”
Clarkson explained that no motor company refused him a car for The Grand Tour series two.
“Not this series,” Clarkson said. “It used to happen 20 years ago, and then people realised that what we do is good for ‘the car’ as a whole. If you take away us and Top Gear, there’s nobody actually fighting the car’s corner. It’s all just Gary Lineker and his mates on Twitter – ‘Isn’t cycling great? Shouldn’t we all be on the bus? Isn’t the air dirty?’ Nobody’s going, ‘But cars are great.’”
The wreckage of the Rimac One supercar following Richard Hammond’s crash while filming in Switzerland for The Grand Tour season 2 (Amazon)
Hammond told the new issue of Radio Times that he hoped his family would not watch the segment.
“It was pretty horrible for me to watch it back,” Hammond said. “I wanted to reach into the screen and stop myself being there, because I knew what was coming. I genuinely didn’t like it, and I don’t think [wife] Mindy or the girls should see it.”
The Grand Tour series two will begin on Amazon Prime Video on Friday 8th December