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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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Why do we compare the Tesla to Petrol cars?
By darkpuppet on 2/12/2013 2:28:40 PM , Rating: 2
I don't get it... It seems all of the complaining and whining about electric is because it's electric?

I don't see how people can even try to compare a purely electric vehicle with gasoline engines -- I mean, isn't it obvious by now that EVs are not gasoline? That buying an EV means you have to charge it regularily, drive it sensibly, and follow directions?

I find it hard that an automotive journalist would be so pig headed as to treat this car as 'just another car'. Because it's clearly not.

This fact has been true since the first days of the GM EV1.

Ford didn't sue Top Gear because the Ford GT only got 4MPG... it's one of those things that requires common sense. Place the car in an appropriate context, and judge it accordingly.

If it's -40, do you NOT plug in your car and expect it to start? no.

If you don't top off your gas tank when it's running half full, will you get a full tank's worth of range out of it? unlikely.

If you call a dealership and ask them for mileage saving tips, do you think you'll get an engineering response? I doubt it.

Does the EV fail as an extended range EV or gasoline car -- hell yeah. duh. But does it succeed as an EV? That's what should be answered.

People didn't bitch about the EV1 as much as we seem to now and with EVs that are 100's of times better.




RE: Why do we compare the Tesla to Petrol cars?
By zlandar on 2/12/13, Rating: 0
By darkpuppet on 2/12/2013 3:08:10 PM , Rating: 2
If only that would be an appropriate response to the issue, but it is not.


By Solandri on 2/12/2013 5:09:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I don't get it... It seems all of the complaining and whining about electric is because it's electric?

I don't see how people can even try to compare a purely electric vehicle with gasoline engines -- I mean, isn't it obvious by now that EVs are not gasoline? That buying an EV means you have to charge it regularily, drive it sensibly, and follow directions?

I find it hard that an automotive journalist would be so pig headed as to treat this car as 'just another car'. Because it's clearly not.

It's the EV proponents who see it as whining and complaining. Most of it is just comparison.

See, 99.99% of people have experience driving gasoline cars. 0.01% have experience driving electric cars. If you're reviewing an electric car and want to write a review which 99.99% of people can relate to and understand, you compare it to gasoline cars. The NYT writer wasn't writing an article for you, the guy who knows all about EVs. He was writing it for the 99.99% of people who know nothing about EVs.

The lack of a 5 minute quick-charge is a drawback which needs to be stressed in every EV car review until EVs are common enough that it's just "common knowledge". The EV proponents don't like it when it's mentioned, but that's their bias getting in the way. It'd be grossly negligent for a review to fail to mention it when it's something every gasoline car driver who reads the review takes for granted. When the horseless carriage was first introduced, I imagine there were similar newspaper reviews stressing that if you let it run out of gas, it would completely die and leave you stranded. Unlike a tired horse which could be coaxed into traveling a few miles further.


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