Obviously, Clarkson and May were using EVs for a rather incredibly stupid but entertaining challenge; they were going for a cross country 'trek' which i assume is what these EVs were 'made for' if you catch my drift. Clarkson was in the Nissan Leaf which as you know if you have been reading this blog, it won the 2011 World Car of the Year. I actually wonder how it did that since 2011 isn't even over yet. Anyway, James May was driving a Peugeot iOn which is basically just a Mitsubishi i-MiEV till his ran out of juice as well. How coincidental.
I wouldn't be surprised if it was staged but who really cares? Its all for entertainment sake anyway. I know there are lots of people who despise Top Gear's style of info-tainment but I'd say just let the boys have some fun eh?