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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 invidious on 2/12/2013 2:24:52 PM , Rating: 2
Cold weather does not deplete batteries. The uncharged portions of a battery can be perminantly damaged by exposure to extreme temperatures, but that isn't the same as the temperature depleting it on its own. Cold weather also reduces the efficiency of batteries. The end result may appear the same to the casual observer but it is a pretty big distinction. The energy in a battery (joules) remains relatively constant regardless of temperature exposure.

Batteries don't store electric energy, they store chemical engergy. The chemical energy needs to be converted to electric power and converted again to become mechanical energy. Cold conditions reduce the efficiency of both of these conversions which leads to greatly reduced vehicle range in electric vehicles.

Cold weather reduces the range of gas powered cars as well, as much as 20% in single digit temperatures (F). The NY times report doesn't really offer much valid data in terms of cold weather vehicle range. It is mostly just complaints about poor range estimations on the part of the car's displays. I wouldn't surpise me if Telsa failed to account for cold weather efficiency losses in their on-the-fly range estimations.

RE: Well -
By Sazabi19 on 2/12/2013 4:12:53 PM , Rating: 3
It would very honestly surprise me if he did not account for this. Elon Musk is not an idiot and knows a lot about batteries, his cars, and their ranges. He knew going into this that there would be a hit due to colder weather. What was not accounted for was this idiot from NYT driving extra distance, not charging the vehicle, and then not reporting those extra details. That is more distance the battery went on and was not charged, saying that it didn't perform near expected and NOT reporting that you forgot to charge is that guy's fault, not Tesla's. That is crap reporting and making the reader draw false conclusions that could hurt Tesla's image and possibly lose sales. Musk did the right thing fighting back the way he did and I hope the logs support him. I don't really much care for electric cars especially for this much money, but then again I'm not the target market. With saying that though I like the idea and someone at the vanguard of the tech pushing it forward is a winner in my book. Someone spouting off misinformation to a wide base should be punished, things like this hurt companies.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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