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


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 ( 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!

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

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.


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.


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
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)

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.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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