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Musk said he'll publish the driving log soon

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is ready to take The New York Times head-on over a "fake" review of the auto company's Model S sedan.

John Broder, a staff writer at The New York Times, recently tested out Tesla's Model S sedan on a road trip along the east coast. However, Broder’s final, published review spilled details of a failed trip and the many troubles the car gave him along the way.

The Model S sedan has an EPA rated 265-mile estimated range with an 85-kilowatt battery pack. This was the model provided to Broder for his road trip, and while other Model S testers were able to achieve about 300 miles under perfect conditions, Broder reported that the east coast's cold winter temperatures had severely depleted his charge on multiple occasions -- and bad advice from Tesla employees along the way only made matters worse. The car even eventually had to be towed.

Tesla Model S being loaded onto a flatbed after running out of "juice" [Image Souce: NYT]

Broder's report, released just last week, detailed a trip from the Washington area in Maryland to Norwich, Connecticut, with many stops in between including Newark, Delaware; New York City; Milford, Connecticut; Branford, Connecticut and Groton, Connecticut.

During his trip, Broder mentioned many instances where the battery suddenly depleted quickly and he had to call Tesla for assistance on how to maximize range between charging stops (which were about 200 miles apart from one another or less during the trip). He said he received different advice from different Tesla employees, and even bad advice from one that said to sit in the car for half an hour with the heat on a low setting in order to warm the battery after it depleted from an overnight stay in Groton.

At one point, the car even needed to be towed in Branford because the battery drained much sooner than anticipated.

When Broder published the article about his trip, Musk posted the following tweet:

Musk investigated the accusations by referring to the diagnostic data logged into the car from the actual journey. He discovered that the report wasn't entirely accurate, citing the car's data that suggests Broder was driving too fast at times, took a detour that he never mentioned in the article, and didn't charge the car completely.

Musk accused Broder of not following the car's instructions, which he was briefed on before the trip. The New York Times claimed he did.

“Our reporter followed the instructions he was given in multiple conversations with Tesla personnel,” The New York Times said in a statement. “He described the entire drive in the story; there was no unreported detour. And he was never told to plug the car in overnight in cold weather, despite repeated contact with Tesla.”

Musk said he would publish the driving log from the trip soon to prove that Broder lied in his report.

This isn't the first time Musk has gone after those who gave his company's vehicles poor reviews. In March 2011, Tesla's Roadster made an appearance on the UK car show "Top Gear," where the car overheated, had brake issues and had a range of only 55 miles on track conditions. Tesla sued BBC for libel and malicious falsehood, but an English court threw it out stating that the estimated ranges are always affected by driving conditions and that there was no basis for libel claim.

Sources: Bloomberg, The New York Times



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RE: Well -
By daboom06 on 2/12/2013 1:56:41 PM , Rating: 1
you're right about that. swappable batteries will have to be the only real solution for this technology. charge times and frequencies aren't ever going to improve that much. but then again these battery packs are not at all lightweight or cheap (yet), and it would be an absolute pain to switch them out each week.

electric cars aren't going to pan out because of the batteries. you simply cant store enough energy as electric potential for it to be dense or agile enough to power cars. much less personal flying vehicles, which will become common once we have super dense energy storage.


RE: Well -
By Cheesew1z69 on 2/12/2013 4:52:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
charge times and frequencies aren't ever going to improve that much.
And this assumption is based on what?


RE: Well -
By TSS on 2/12/2013 8:11:59 PM , Rating: 2
well, assuming charge technology doesn't change radically, physics.

1 KW/h is about 3600000 joules, so a 85kw/h pack (assuming it's drained and charged fully, for ease) can contain 306 million joules of energy.

So no matter what time you take to charge that battery pack, it'll still take 306 million joules of energy to get it charged fully.

Now, all the electricity we use is also generated right now, we have no form of long term mass storage of energy. Meaning shut off all powerplants in the US, the entire US goes dark.

So here's our problem. Even if you manage to create some supercondutor hyper technology that's capable of delivering 306 million joules of electricity in just 1 second, you need to generate 306 million joules of energy in 1 second.

let's say the average nuclear powerplant has an output of 1000 megawatt/hour, or 1 million kilowatt/hour, or 3,6 trillion joules in an hour. Hour has 3600 seconds, so 1 billion joules each second.

In short, you'd need the entire output of a nuclear power plant to charge just 3 tesla model S's for s econd. If a 4th charges within the same second, you're screwed, all the transformers in the powerplant will blow. And that's assuming NOBODY else is using any power from that powerplant during that second or the first tesla you plug in blows up the entire plant.

Now ofcourse, that's ad absurdum, but the problem still stands. If it takes a minute instead of a second, the powerplant doesn't blow untill the 181th car, but at the same time it's just as likely you'll get 180+ cars charging in a minute as it is getting 4 cars charging just a second.

And that's completly ignoring the issue of heat transfer and the fact not just the charging equipment but the powerlines from the powerplant all the way to the charging equipment have to be able to handle that many joules of electricity each second. Not just a second, they have to be constantly fed with electricity.

I'm no scientist but even i can see elecricity isn't a mass adoption option untill we find a way to store high densities for long periods of time without significant leakage (there can be some, gasoline is useless after a year too after all). Then swapping those modules out instead of recharging on the spot is just a logical next step.


RE: Well -
By FITCamaro on 2/12/2013 10:52:56 PM , Rating: 1
Why are you racist? Hate children. Hate the poor.

Sorry just using the typical arguments when someone uses logic.


RE: Well -
By maugrimtr on 2/13/2013 10:29:39 AM , Rating: 1
Disingenuous at best...

quote:
well, assuming charge technology doesn't change radically, physics.


The two are intrinsically linked. You cannot change physics, but the charge technology can be modified within the bounds of physics - the only limit here being time, inward investment and clever people.

Assuming that a piece of technology will remain fixed is silly and illogical. As are the numbers you quote.


RE: Well -
By Reclaimer77 on 2/12/2013 11:31:53 PM , Rating: 2
TSS that was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.


RE: Well -
By Mint on 2/13/2013 7:07:28 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Now ofcourse, that's ad absurdum, but the problem still stands. If it takes a minute instead of a second, the powerplant doesn't blow untill the 181th car, but at the same time it's just as likely you'll get 180+ cars charging in a minute as it is getting 4 cars charging just a second.
No, the problem does not still stand. The second argument is just as absurd.

Your 1GW powerplant is about 1/1000th of the nation's capacity, so we'll divide the nation's light-duty driving (2.6 trillion VMT) by 1000. Let's pretend 50% of that instantly went to electric, so we're looking at 1.3 billion electric miles per year driven by the people served by the powerplant in your example.

EVs get 3-5 miles per kWh, so even taking the lowest efficiency, we'd only need 430 GWh of energy per year. That's less than 5% or this power plant's annual production. And guess what: far more capacity than that sits idle at night due to the demand curve, ripe for usage by EVs.

The overload scenario you drew up is absurd. 1.3 billion miles * 3kWh/mile = 430 GWh = 5 million charges per year of the 85kWh EV you speak of. Assuming they are all 1 minute-charges, that's 9.5 per minute. Plug this into a Poisson distribution, and you find the chance that 181 or more cars simultaneously ultra-quick-charge in the same minute is 10^-160, or <10^-154 per year:
http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=365*24*60*Sur...
That's astronomically rare. In fact, even more so.

If you waited the age of the universe, you'd still only have a 1 in 10,000 chance of ever seeing 50 cars simultaneously doing 1 min quick charging, let alone 181. Moreover, most charging will be done at night over many hours, and even 5-min charging times are fast enough.

The reality is that we already have all the generating capacity we need for EVs. That's not the problem. It's one of cost reduction.
I'm no scientist but even i can see elecricity isn't a mass adoption option untill we find a way to store high densities for long periods of time without significant leakageNo, you most certainly are not. Leakage isn't a problem either (Li-ion leak a couple percent per month).


RE: Well -
By Mint on 2/13/2013 5:38:24 PM , Rating: 2
(small goof: "1.3 billion miles * 3kWh/mile" was supposed to be "1.3 billion miles / 3 miles/kWh", but all the other numbers stay the same)


RE: Well -
By Visual on 2/13/2013 9:08:11 AM , Rating: 2
You use the nonexistent (or at least nonsensical) unit kW/h when you mean either kWh or kW. That alone is enough giveaway that you have no clue what you are talking about.


RE: Well -
By Mint on 2/13/2013 11:26:47 AM , Rating: 2
How pathetic is it that his comment got rated up and called "brilliant"? Many of DT's EV haters couldn't discern fact from fiction if their life depended on it.


RE: Well -
By Keeir on 2/13/2013 4:51:24 PM , Rating: 3
Your post contain a number of interesting assumptions.

#1.

quote:
So here's our problem. Even if you manage to create some supercondutor hyper technology that's capable of delivering 306 million joules of electricity in just 1 second, you need to generate 306 million joules of energy in 1 second.


The majority of US gasoline pumps deliever gasoline at a rate of less than 5 gal per minute.

For a car the size of a Tesla Model S, this is roughly 100 miles/minute.

For a car the size of a Prius C, this is roughly 300 miles/minute.

To acchieve the same refueling rate, the Battery of a Tesla Model S must recieve a total energy input of 38 kWh in 1 minute (85 kWh battery) or 35 kWh in 1 minute (60 kWh version in the article).

Using the Department of Energy transmission factor of ~.92 typical efficieny (eia.org) for power lines, this means a power rate equal to ~2400 kW. This is of course if you insist on meeting the same refuel rate requirements.

I am not sure why you convert this to Joules. Maybe you just want a huge number? Since the typical Dryer uses 1.5 kW, we are talking about 1,600 dryers at a time!

quote:
And that's completly ignoring the issue of heat transfer and the fact not just the charging equipment but the powerlines from the powerplant all the way to the charging equipment have to be able to handle that many joules of electricity each second. Not just a second, they have to be constantly fed with electricity.


2400 kW of power can be safely delievered. Here is one generator that does just that

http://www.kawasakigasturbines.com/index.php/site/...

Battery technology is the limit here. Not connection or generator technology which has the ability to be sized for much higher loads. It takes a -very- large battery array to accept 2400 kW power influx.

#2.

quote:
let's say the average nuclear powerplant has an output of 1000 megawatt/hour, or 1 million kilowatt/hour, or 3,6 trillion joules in an hour. Hour has 3600 seconds, so 1 billion joules each second.


Close. The average nuclear reactor is typically around 1000 MW. A plant typically consists of 2 to 4 reactors.

I am not sure why your insisting on delieverying close to 250 miles of range in 1 second. In a more realistic charge time to align with current gasoline refueling, a single Nuclear Reactor can handle upto 415 Tesla Model S refueling at the same time.

#3.

quote:
Now, all the electricity we use is also generated right now, we have no form of long term mass storage of energy. Meaning shut off all powerplants in the US, the entire US goes dark.


Not true. There is something called pumped hyrdo power. We (the US) have the ability to store around 5% of power for reuse later (we only get 4% back, so its a net loss in power).

Our power network does have significant problems in that many areas got built to differing standards, but they are all interconnected.

The load that electric cars would put on the grid would be acceptable if a pattern of charging emerged allowing for appropriate choices to be made up front.

Having hundreds of electric cars wanting to charge at the same rate as a gasoline car all in a very localized area would indeed cause a nightmare. Not significantly more than say the Super Bowl causing everyone to buy a new High Power TV and all watch the same event at the same time though...

EVs will probably never have the same rate of recharge that gasoline cars do. A second question should be asked, since EVs only require quick charging -occasionally- how convient is it to have 100 miles/minute versus 50 miles/minute versus 10 miles/minute?

New York to Los Angeles is ~2800 miles and takes 41.5 hours in a gasoline car at posted speed limits. At 10 miles/minute this same trip would take ~46 hours in a Model S.

If the "cost" of owning a EV is that long trips take an extra 10% longer, but I don't have the visit the gas station during the year, the time factor is very close to a wash out.


RE: Well -
By Mint on 2/13/2013 5:56:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
There is something called pumped hyrdo power. We (the US) have the ability to store around 5% of power for reuse later (we only get 4% back, so its a net loss in power
A bit off topic, but I've been looking everywhere for storage numbers. Where did you get it?

Your statement is a bit off, though. You can't "store around 5% of power", because energy is what you store/release and power is merely how fast you do it. Do you mean 5% of a day's energy? Or do you mean the energy stored can be released at a rate that equals 5% of generated power (i.e. ~55GW)?

Pumped Hydro generation capacity is not the same as storage capacity, and the latter is the important metric for making wind/solar usable.


RE: Well -
By Keeir on 2/13/2013 6:57:21 PM , Rating: 2
Your right that was poorly worded.

I meant, that ~5% of power can be converted to Pumped Hydro Stored Energy if all the projects I've seen come online. "Pumped Hyrdro Energy Generation" loses a significant fraction of this energy however. The longer between the storage and generation cycles, the worse, but overall this is minor. So I mixed Power and Energy. (Though the power coming from the location is also less than the power required to feed it at max rate)

quote:
Pumped Hydro generation capacity is not the same as storage capacity, and the latter is the important metric for making wind/solar usable.


It is and it is not. If all the installation are only capable of ~50 GW, that the highest power output that you can expect. This would be important if the grid is overloaded by a relatively short duration item (like 10,000 sports fans requiring quick recharge in the same hour) The quantity stored is very important as well, but unfortunately I haven't seen a credible study that suggests that enough "good" locations exist to allow the transfer to large scale deployments of Wind/Solar without Natural Gas backup. Pumped Hydro is just not enough to account for weeks long variations.


RE: Well -
By Mint on 2/14/2013 9:50:44 AM , Rating: 2
Nuts, I guess we're both in the dark with regards to US storage capacity.

The only place on earth I have seen wind power make sense is New Zealand. They have these high elevation lakes that collect rainwater and snow melts which can be drained when power is needed. They have 4GWh of storage, which is about a whole month of power for their 4.4M population.


RE: Well -
By Divide Overflow on 2/19/2013 6:13:52 PM , Rating: 2
“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads














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