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The driving logs disprove many of Broder's claims

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has fulfilled his promise to provide the driving logs from the recent Model S test drive by The New York Times -- and it looks like John Broder has some explaining to do.

Broder, the NYT staff writer that took a Tesla Model S for a test trip up the east coast this winter, published a final article that details a failed trip and the many troubles the car gave him along the way.

However, Musk became suspicious of Broder's claims when so many other journalists had made similar or more tasking trips in the Model S.

"To date, hundreds of journalists have test driven the Model S in every scenario you can imagine," said Musk. "The car has been driven through Death Valley (the hottest place on Earth) in the middle of summer and on a track of pure ice in a Minnesota winter. It has traveled over 600 miles in a day from the snowcapped peaks of Tahoe to Los Angeles, which made the very first use of the Supercharger network, and moreover by no lesser person than another reporter from The New York Times. Yet, somehow John Broder 'discovered' a problem and was unavoidably left stranded on the road. Or was he?"

Musk dug up the driving logs from Broder's trip, and earlier this week, he said he would share these discoveries after claiming that Broder had "faked" his article. Now, Musk has come equipped with the goods and it's not looking good for Broder.

Musk first addressed Broder's claim that the Model S ran completely out of energy and required a flatbed truck to tow it in Connecticut. Musk said the car never, at any time, ran out of energy.

Broder's article also mentioned that the Model S fell short of its projected range "on the final leg" of the trip, which was 61 miles total. On his final charge before embarking on this last leg of 61 miles, the logs show that Broder disconnected the charge cable when the range display showed only 32 miles. However, despite not fully charging the car, it managed to travel 51 miles -- and still wasn't completely out of charge when the flatbed truck was called for a tow. Also, during that last leg of the trip, Broder drive right past another charging station where he could have given the Model S another boost. But Musk said Broder "constructed a no-win scenario for any vehicle, electric or gasoline."

Musk also said that Broder never set the cruise control to 54 MPH or drove at 45 MPH, as stated in the article. Instead, he drove at speeds of 65-81 MPH for a majority of the trip.

He also had the cabin temperature at 72 degrees, and when he mentioned turning it down in the article, he had actually turned it up to 74 degrees.

Musk further noted that Broder's charge time on the second stop was 47 minutes, and not 58 minutes as stated in the article's graphic. If Broder didn't turn off the Supercharger at 47 minutes and went for the full 58, it would have been "virtually impossible" for him to run out of energy so quickly.

Speaking of charging, the driving logs also showed that Broder recharged the car to 90 percent on his first stop, to 72 percent on the second Supercharge and to 28 percent on the last leg -- signficantly cutting charging times at each stop.

Finally, Musk's driving logs from the Model S show that Broder had taken a long detour in Manhattan, and upon reaching Milford, Connecticut (where the range display said 0 miles), he drove the car in circles in a for over a half mile in a tiny parking lot. The Model S wouldn't give in and die, so Broder finally took it to the charging station.

Musk added that Broder was biased against electric vehicles from the start, and had set out to make the Model S fail before even receiving the car.

"When the facts didn’t suit his opinion, he simply changed the facts," said Musk. "Our request of The New York Times is simple and fair: please investigate this article and determine the truth. You are a news organization where that principle is of paramount importance and what is at stake for sustainable transport is simply too important to the world to ignore."

Broder, who had his article published last week, was given a Model S sedan with an EPA rated 265-mile estimated range with an 85-kilowatt battery pack. He traveled 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, Broder said the car even needed to be towed in Branford because the battery drained much sooner than anticipated.

Let's see what Broder has to say now.

Source: Tesla Motors

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By Dr of crap on 2/14/2013 12:59:29 PM , Rating: -1
You have to watch out for the temp you have the INSIDE the car?? When it's -20F I'm not paying attention to how long or what the temp in inside the car. IT NEEDS to be warm.

I guess Musk's statement that the Tesla has been driven in MN ice, wasn't at -20F.

And REAL cold like that WILL shorten the range. Dispute it all you want, very cold temps shorten the power you can get out of a battery.

Couldn't afford one any way, but cold here will keep those cars off the road until its warm.

By P_Dub_S on 2/14/2013 1:10:08 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't the Tesla S have a heating and cooling system that keeps the batteries at optimum temperatures?

By tdktank59 on 2/14/2013 2:20:08 PM , Rating: 2
Yes it does, its an active liquid cooled system.
Pretty sure this runs 24/7 but don't quote me on this.

Tried to find an article without it ripping on nissan or any other company for that matter, but it gets the point across.

By Harinezumi on 2/14/2013 1:13:44 PM , Rating: 3
The temperature inside the car is relevant because it takes battery energy to run the heater.

On what are you basing your assumption that Tesla didn't test their car at -20F?

By NellyFromMA on 2/14/2013 1:20:02 PM , Rating: 4
The issue isn't cabin temp, its that the user lied about the actual usage he reported on.

That's scummy, but that said, it indirectly highlight s the pain in the ass that is actually using a vehicle of this nature.

The majority of corners cut were because its annoying as hell that you must go 45-55 for optimal distance which is extremely counter to how a naturally aspirated engine performs (greater speed tends to enable greater milage to a point), and its probably more annoying that to 'fill up the tank' you must reserve an hour of your time vs 5 minutes, and if you skimp out even 10 minutes you severely impact your mileage.

These vehicles have come a LONG way and I can appreciate that as a tech enthusiast and an auto enthusiast (the distinction is getting harder to make) but from a consumer perspective, this is trash.

Why pay a premium for terrible mileage and huge inconvenience?

Just my two.

By P_Dub_S on 2/14/2013 1:28:00 PM , Rating: 5
I think people who are buying the Tesla aren't buying it to go on road trips. It would make more sense as a weekend driver or for a regular commute day in day out.

By michael67 on 2/14/2013 3:32:15 PM , Rating: 2
The Tesla's are pretty popular here in Norway, as they are taxed very low.

But anyone that can afford a Model S can afford a second car for road trips.

I drive a Think City from and to work every day 77km/48mile to and from work, where i charge my car for free.
(I have 0 driving cost)

But for long trips i still have a GS450h, and if i did not have that one i would have gotten me something like a second hand Toyota Camry, as a second car for long road trips.

Anyone that can afford a $100K EV can afford a second car, new or used.

And for me, a 265mile/425km drive range is good for all my driving except for holidays trips, and we most of the time take the plane for those.

For me our Think City is good for 99.5% of my trips, and that one whit its aging battery only has a range of 120km/75miles.

Me and the rest of the family (sisters of my wife, there husbands and there and our kids, 9 drivers) own 3 Think City's that we use as we need.

I don't get why EVs getting a beating on there short range, as most people drive less then 50km/30miles a day 99% of the time.

Are EV for every one, hell no, but if you fall in a certain group EV could be a nice alternative.

For me a single or two person inline car would be perfect, don't need a 4 seat car to get me to and from work.

I would like something like the Renault Twizy, but then with a 100% closed cabin, as i don't wane drive with thick outdoor winter clothes all the time when its winter, or getting wet when it rains.

Don't need a lot of comfort but more then the Twizy offers.

Think that small EV, or 500cc vehicles like the Twizy (but wit more comfort) are the future, as we don't need big 4x4's whit V8's to go to work alone, as petrol is just getting to expensive to waste on those guzzlers.

By NellyFromMA on 2/14/2013 3:56:49 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for sharing your experience. I've actually been very open minded towards EVs but this article in particular indirectly highlighted a cruel reality in the current state of the tech, at least how it is applied in the Tesla models.

I've never heard of Think City, probably because it doesn't have a presence in the USA (does it?).

I'll look into that. Certainly if one brand performs poorly, it isn't indicitive of the technology as a whole showing no promise. However, I thought Tesla was one of the top-performers in this area. If so, that's not saying much IMO.

I'll look into Think City. Thanks again for sharing.

By Reclaimer77 on 2/14/2013 4:55:13 PM , Rating: 2
I'll look into Think City.

Look into your own personal jaws-o-life as well. Cause if anything bigger than a squirrel hits that thing, you're a dead man.

By NellyFromMA on 2/15/2013 2:24:08 PM , Rating: 2
lol didn't mean for purchase. Just in general. I take it the thing resembles a "Smart" car going by your comment.

By Reclaimer77 on 2/15/2013 2:45:52 PM , Rating: 2
lol ah ok. Well scale is kind of hard to judge with pics, but this thing makes the Smart look like a luxury liner.

By NellyFromMA on 2/14/2013 3:53:04 PM , Rating: 2
Cleary you're correct, however, based on what I draw from this article and passed observations, it's barely suitable for that.

It's more like subsidizing research by buying protoypes in hopes future revisions will make them more efficient and hence more realistic.

Aren't these cars rather costly upfront? It doesn't really seem like the cars price tag and performance (mileage) line up with that of someone who only drives lightly?

Wouldn't they be better served with a Honda fit? That little nothing-mobile (i'm a honda fan btw) is practically the definition of affordable and barely emits any harmful emissions.

Just saying, from a practicality perspective, how is this a consumer win even for the demographic that I agree this is geared towards?

By wiz220 on 2/14/2013 1:31:00 PM , Rating: 5
You make reasonable points about limitations with electric cars, but it doesn't absolve the reviewer of the breach of journalistic ethics that he committed. He was trying to say that the car didn't perform as Tesla said it should, it would appear that this was a lie. Whether or not you or the reviewer can abide the limitations of electric vehicles is irrelevant, the car's performance is (by the looks of the evidence) as advertised, and that's the primary issue.

By hyvonen on 2/14/2013 4:34:47 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not 100% sure the evidence here can prove without a doubt that the reporter lied. The evidence comes from Tesla - a biased party - that could have potentially tampered with it to protect themselves.

The third party statement that the car was in fact "dead" when it was getting towed makes me question the credibility of Tesla's statements.

By NellyFromMA on 2/14/2013 4:39:53 PM , Rating: 2
The issue isn't whether the car was dead at the time of the tow. It's more whether or not this guy lied abotu charging it properly and driving within the (quite poor) outline.

By mrisinger on 2/14/2013 1:33:10 PM , Rating: 5
"its annoying as hell that you must go 45-55 for optimal distance which is extremely counter to how a naturally aspirated engine performs (greater speed tends to enable greater milage to a point)"

No, this is EXACTLY how a combustion engine performs. The "point" which you are referring to, where mileage starts dropping, is almost always right about 50 - 55 mph.

By Sivar on 2/14/2013 1:47:33 PM , Rating: 3
Right -- Resistance from air (which the engine/motor must overcome) is about the square of speed.

It is possible to gear a car such that it gets better mileage at 75MPH than 50, but that would be due to inefficient gearing (it isn't that the car is so much more efficient at 75MPH, it's that it has to run at a strangely high RPM at 50MPH).
The most efficient speed for most cars with gear transmissions is probably just over the minimum cruising speed at the highest gear, though automotive engineers may want to chime in if I am missing important variables.

By Droidmage on 2/14/2013 2:06:12 PM , Rating: 2
Most cars with a single overdrive gear usually around 30% overdriven get their best milage around 55mph. Some newer cars have an even higher overdrive, sixth great in a corvette is right around 50%, will get better gas milage at higher speeds.

By Solandri on 2/14/2013 2:25:53 PM , Rating: 2
Least resistance is around 45-50 mph. Air resistance is a b***h.

Higher overdrive gearings don't raise that. It just reduces the mileage dropoff at higher speeds. Sivar is correct. If a car's best mileage is at a higher speed, it doesn't mean least resistance is at that higher speed. It just means the car has crappy gearing for the lower speed, and you probably shouldn't buy it.

By DanNeely on 2/14/2013 2:30:45 PM , Rating: 3
Least air resistance is at 0 MPH relative to the wind. ~50 MPH is when it becomes larger than other sources of energy loss in the vehicle.

By Solandri on 2/14/2013 3:26:02 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for pointing out that alternative interpretation of what I wrote. My fault for not being more clear about what exactly I meant.

If you calculate purely based on instantaneous resistance or resistance over time, the fuel efficiency equivalency you're calculating is gallons consumed per hour.

That's not what we're after here. We're after gallons per mile, since the objective is to travel between point A and point B using the least fuel. So the resistance figure you want is resistance per distance covered.

If you do that for air, rolling, and engine friction, the minimum ends up being around 45-50 mph. Consequently your best mileage (assuming ideal gearing) is at those speeds. This is in contrast to gallons per hour, where your lowest fuel consumption happens at (obviously) 0 mph.

By Rukkian on 2/14/2013 1:34:05 PM , Rating: 3
I dont think anywhere it was stated that you can only go 45. The issue is that the article claimed that he had the cruise set at 45, when he obviously did not. The article is full of lies from top to bottom, and that is what Musk has a problem with.

You mention that it is counter intuitive from an ICE is actually false, as the only time it is better to go faster is to the point where your car switches into its highest gear (typically around 45mph). After that point, the wind resistance very much eats away at your mpg, but most people do not care, as they would rather get where they are going faster and pay the extra.

According to the data from Musk, the writer even drove around in circles to try and completely make the car stall, which further seems to show that he was trying to make a sensationalistic piece just to try and get readers. If what Musk is saying is true, and I have no reason to not believe it, the article belongs in National Enquirer along with alien abductions, and not in the NYT.

By tayb on 2/14/2013 1:20:52 PM , Rating: 4
I think Musk was merely pointing out that the article is full of lies, one of which was temperature settings. This is libel.

By GotThumbs on 2/14/2013 1:27:06 PM , Rating: 3

While I don't like all the frivolous lawsuits that happen today, I think Tesla has a legitimate case and MUST take legal action. These kind of false statements can/do have consequences.

The "News" media has gotten out of hand and become more like spin doctors. Anyone remember the Bond movie where some nut-job media mogul wrote his own news...and then made it happen?

That's not far off from today's media.

Always ask your-self....What are they NOT telling me? Withholding of important information does sway public opinion/emotions, and the media KNOW IT.

By voodoobunny on 2/14/2013 1:51:17 PM , Rating: 3
If I were the New York Times, I would be planning a HUGE apology to Tesla right about now. And also working out how to fire John Broder in the most public and embarrassing manner possible and claw back whatever I paid him to write that article.

This is a major legal headache for the NYT. If Tesla can prove from the logs that the NYT outright lied about the Model S's performance, then the only real question in the libel suit will be how much the NYT should pay.

By Wererat on 2/15/2013 9:49:34 AM , Rating: 2
I agreed and upvoted this before replying but feel obliged to add: the modern media does not admit wrong. They feel entitled to define truth for everyone; if the facts don't fit the reporting, then alter the facts until they fit.

When I was a kid and read Huxley and Orwell, I thought that people might take those words as instruction manuals. Guess I was right.

By hubb1e on 2/14/2013 1:31:28 PM , Rating: 2
Heating the cabin takes a lot of power. It's somewhere like 2000W at warmup and 600W just to maintain the temperature. People are advised to lower the cabin temperature and use the seat heaters which are more efficient than heating the air.

By Reclaimer77 on 2/14/2013 2:14:46 PM , Rating: 1
What assurances do we have these logs are legit? I'm having a hard time believing such a liberal rag, that's been so in the tank for anything EV/clean energy related, would set out to torpedo Tesla.

By Brandon Hill on 2/14/2013 2:17:42 PM , Rating: 2
Normally I'd agree with you, but the writer has been pretty down on EVs for a while:

By Chernobyl68 on 2/15/2013 12:54:44 PM , Rating: 2
Hah! I love how he quotes Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Newt Gingrich...tea party much?

By Keeir on 2/14/2013 3:01:54 PM , Rating: 2
What assurances do we have these logs are legit?


On one hand you have Elon Musk who has a financial interest in his company defending his product.

On the other you have a newpaper with a financial interest in writing the most shocking story possible. One which has had multiple issues in the recent history with fact checking its reporters stories.

The "smoking" gun in this situation would be that the Reporter himself claimed the Model S went 51 miles when it read 32 miles of range. The Reporter himself claimed to set out on a 60+ mile journey with 32 miles of reported range. The -only- way this makes sense is if the reporter ment "72" miles instead of 32. But he hasn't declared his own mistake yet.

By Reclaimer77 on 2/14/2013 3:32:24 PM , Rating: 1
If they wanted to shock someone, a story about EV's being less practical than ICE's isn't what I would call shocking. Especially given the weather conditions.

I'm not saying the logs are faked. I just thought someone should point out the possibility. I saw everyone here taking the logs for granted, so I figured I would be "that guy" again and use the dreaded 'critical thinking'.

Musk seems to be nitpicking, big time. He's basically accusing the guy of not doing every single thing possible to baby the car. Including bashing someone for not documenting the use of cabin heaters? Who does that? I can't recall the CEO of another car company lambasting the media because they didn't hypermile their vehicle. Which is what Musk is pretty much saying with all this "you didn't hypermile the car so it looked better than it did"

I'm in heaven either way on this. If Musk wins, FINALLY the credibility of the so-called "media" gets questioned by a few more people than the same "right wingers". If Musk loses, that's strike three in his attempt to sue his way to favorable reviews. If indeed this ends up in court. Which I believe would be a huge mistake.

By ChronoReverse on 2/14/2013 4:11:06 PM , Rating: 3
No that's not it at all.

You're reading this through some sort of weird lens here.

Musk is not nitpicking that by driving at 74 instead of 72 the car lost range, but that the reporter is [b]outright lying[/b]. The reporter claimed he was forced to turn down the temperature but he had actually increased it.

The other thing is that the reporter is either an idiot or outright sabotaging. How else do you explain trying to do a 61 mile leg when the display says 32 miles left? How else do you explain doing small loops for half a mile in a parking lot?

By Reclaimer77 on 2/14/2013 4:20:46 PM , Rating: 2
How else do you explain doing small loops for half a mile in a parking lot?

It's fun?

I do that all the time in my car. Impreza doughnuts ftw! Then I go and gas up, which takes 3 minutes tops. It the Tesla can't do the same, it's inferior clearly.

The reporter claimed he was forced to turn down the temperature but he had actually increased it.

Who cares? Why is the environmental controls a factor here (rhetorical, I know why)? They aren't in EVERY OTHER car article/review.

See what Musk is doing here? By going after the media and breaking down this stuff into such detail, he's actually further informing the general public about just how many pitfalls and inconveniences are involved with owning his product. Good going!

You're reading this through some sort of weird lens here.

Well that's my prerogative, buster! :)

By NellyFromMA on 2/14/2013 4:48:35 PM , Rating: 2
Can't help but agree that when I started reading this, I was like 'go Tesla' until indirectly, what I learned was that what required of the user to properly use there vehicle is silly and it kind of highlights how the target demographic is completely misaligned with the price tag.

What's worse, it seems terribly inconvenient. Getting people to pay a premium for cons in nearly every other way other than feeling 'good' is strange. How 'good' can an owner feel about themself when they just spent 3 times more tthan he needed to achieve 'economic' results.

Honda Fit sucks, but it seems to be infinitely more economical and reliable than the Tesla's overall. Not as stylish, but I mean they aren't buying the Tesla for style right? Oh wait, they are, just not body style, more like 'cool points'.

If the internal cabin temp has to be adjusted to accomodate for battery temps, holy crap thats awful.

Yes, the guy who wrote the article is clearly scummy. He could have at least fulfilled his end of the deal and then told the attrocious story through the eyes of someone who did their best and hated the car anyways.

The only winners here are the people who didn't buy a Tesla it seems.

By Reclaimer77 on 2/14/2013 6:22:12 PM , Rating: 2
Good stuff. Hard to argue with that.

By Solandri on 2/14/13, Rating: -1
By Keeir on 2/14/2013 1:25:28 PM , Rating: 3
You have to watch out for the temp you have the INSIDE the car?? When it's -20F I'm not paying attention to how long or what the temp in inside the car. IT NEEDS to be warm.

One of the best features of an electric car is that, if the car is plugged in at an outlet, you can set the car to warm up automatically without even being in it.

The journalist in question drove an electric car in the middle of winter and decided to only stay at places that would not let him plug in.

The journalist essentially set out to create a situation the Model S would fail in that seemed "commonplace". Based on Tesla's data, he did not succeed. I am not sure why he couldn't have just done the logical things and pointed out how bothersome they were. (IE, the Superchargers give ~4 miles/minute. To drive 61 miles means he would have had to wait at the charger for 15+ minutes! A good 10 minutes longer than an out of gas car. Or how about the struggle to find a hotel that allows plug-ins?)

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