After Top Gear, Ben "The Stig" Collins Digs Electric Cars

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Ben Collins (The Stig) With Tesla

Ben Collins (The Stig) With Tesla

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What happens when mysterious masked racing driver of the U.K’s most famous car-based entertainment show reveals his identity? 

Contrary to the opinions aired on the testosterone-filled, gear jamming show he actually quite likes electric cars, and he's not been afraid to share his admiration for the 2011 Nissan Leaf and 2011 Tesla Roadster 2.5.

Fresh from his rapid departure from BBC’s Top Gear show, “The Stig”, aka Ben Collins, has featured heavily in The Sun - a U.K. tabloid newspaper owned by media magnate Rupert Murdoch and more famous for its scantily-clad “Page 3” female models than its motoring advice.



Ben Collins (The Stig)

Ben Collins (The Stig)

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But Collins'car latest post isn’t a tell-all expose on his former employers, who sought a court injunction to prevent the 35-year old racing driver from publishing his memoirs before sacking him. Nor is it a test drive of the latest $200,000 sports car. 

It’s a test-drive of the 2011 Nissan Leaf. 

Comparing the experience to driving an iPod, Collins gives high praise to the all-electric, five seat hatchback which has already received 20,000 reservations in the U.S. alone.  

2011 Nissan Leaf

2011 Nissan Leaf

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With very little negative feedback about the car, Collins obviously enjoyed the 2011 Leaf’s smartphone-activated pre-heat and pre-cool functions, enabling the Leaf’s climate control system to reach a perfect temperature before you even get into the car in the morning. 

Classing the ride and handling as superb, Collins only real bugbear was the overly light power-assisted steering, which gives very little feedback to the driver. 

The 2011 Nissan Leaf isn’t Collins’ first experience with an all-electric car, however. 

In 2008 Top Gear borrowed two Tesla Roadsters to film a test-drive on the show’s own test-track. But Collins’ colleague, long-time celebrity motoring journalist and confirmed EV skeptic Jeremy Clarkson staged a publicity stunt in which members of the production crew were filmed pushing Clarkson and a supposedly flat Tesla to a power socket as a conclusion to a feature on the car. It was just one of many anti EV stunts pulled by the television series.

Called out later on by Tesla employees who were present at the filming, the BBC had to later admit that at no-point had the Teslas there ran out of power and that the scene was meant to illustrate what would happen if the super-quick electric sports car were to run out of power. 

While Clarkson and his production team portrayed a lukewarm reception toward the Tesla, off-screen Collins couldn’t get enough. 

Tesla released a Facebook page on Monday dedicated to Ben Collins’ Stig, after giving him a chance to drive the Roadster 2.5 at the Brands Hatch motoring circuit in the U.K last month.  

If the photographs are anything to go by, Collins enjoyed his zero-tailpipe emission laps. 

So what’s next? Is Collins about to make the move from petrol-head to amp-puller?

Maybe and maybe not. But Collins' conclusion on his Leaf test-drive says it all.

"Electric-Powered Vehicles were pioneered more than 100 years ago, so it's remarkable that the powers shaping human history have managed to conceal their advantages for so long. The secret is finally out and the dawn of a new driving era is arriving"

We think so too, Ben. 


[TheSun] [Tesla]

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Comments (5)
  1. Its good to hear that such a talented driver has an interest in the future. Jeremy Clarkson however can be thick headed when reviewing cars to the point where he will basically sabotage the car on air, and only seems to do this to cars he doesn't like. When he drove the Porsche 997 911 he said he couldn't avoid hitting the seat memory buttons and allowed the seat to press him up against the steering wheel. Now I know thats not possible I had a C4S Cab and the buttons are nowhere near your knee and the buttons are recessed yet, Clarkson just continued to drive and made the car look stupid in the process. Even if you're not yet interested in EVs, you should at least keep an open mind about them, especially if problems suddenly arise with the world supply of oil. Jeremy Clarkson should apologize to Tesla publicly, Tesla is a small company and being small Clarkson's review causes them more damage. He made the car look faulty and I know he's constantly trying to be entertaining but dishonest reviews benefit no one.

  2. Sorry but Top Gear is just too entertaining to not watch it. The anti-EV bias is probably not any worse than the anti-Porsche or anti-three wheel bias.

  3. @ John Briggs, Don't get me wrong I love Top Gear and watch it as often as possible. But you have to admit they did go out of their way to make the Tesla look faulty. I think Tesla has done a fantastic job with their Tesla Roadster especially considering it's their first car and they didn't deserve to be treated so poorly on a show that is supposed to be one of if not thee best car shows ever made.

  4. Clarkson just drives home the point that Top Gear is now geared more towards entertainment than auto enthusiasts.

  5. Just as suspected before...

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