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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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What happened at 400mi?
By hyvonen on 2/14/2013 4:31:38 PM , Rating: 2
Some odd behavior by the reporter, but lots of strangeness in the logs and Elon Musk's conclusions as well. Let me state some plausible scenarios in the reporter's favor:

1) Something strange happened at 400mi... "Rated range remaining" shows a major dip, while "Battery state" shows just a small one. A bug in the range rating algorithm? Is this where the "battery depleted quickly" (overnight?) and the reporter called Tesla, and was told to stay in the car to warm up the battery?

2) Rated range goes to 0 several times (and had been 0 for a while when the tow truck was called). Maybe the car shut down even though there was charge in the battery because the rated range was zero (because of a bug)... for instance, because of full discharge could "brick" the car:

Towing company agrees that the car was dead:

3) Climate control at 182. The reporter says he set it to "low". What I see in the graph is that the temperature went down 2 degrees, and then slowly started climbing up. Why would it go down suddenly unless it was set to go down?

4) Speeds. When the reporter says he was driving 54mph, the log shows 60mph. When he said he was driving "around 45mph", the log shows about 51mph. Could it be that either the log has an offset of 6mph? Or that the speed is shown wrong in the display of the car?

4.5) The scale in the temperature log is similarly a bit "off".. each step seems like it should be indicating a one-degree step, but steps are less than one degree if you look at the Y-axis scale. Did Tesla "tweak" the scales (including the speed log scale)?

5) Driving the car in circles to kill the battery? This is implausible - the Rated range shows well over 100miles left. Surely the reporter woudn't be stupid enough to think that he could kill 100+ miles of battery range by driving around a parking lot for a short period of time?

Overall, many claims Tesla/Elon Musk make here are somewhat suspicious. It's also suspicious that the reporter didn't charge the car fully in Norwich... (then again, could it be that there was something wrong with the charging station..?)

Both Tesla and the reporter have an incentive to lie: lying gets the reporter a easy-to-sell article, while lying helps Tesla do damage control. Maybe there's a little bit of both (although I think Tesla has a much stronger incentive to lie here to protect the reliability reputation of their #1 product)

But the unbiased third party (the tow company) says the car was dead, which makes me feel that maybe the reporter is (mostly) telling the truth, but Tesla is trying to discredit the reporter in every possible way (arguing about temperature settings is particularly childish).

RE: What happened at 400mi?
By NellyFromMA on 2/14/2013 4:41:49 PM , Rating: 3
Just saying, my neighbor does towing for triple A and if he was going to tow my car I would REFUSE HIM because IMO it is scary that he is even allowed to tow.

That said, what tow guys knows CRAP about an EV. Just saying lol

RE: What happened at 400mi?
By HammerStrike on 2/14/2013 4:58:06 PM , Rating: 2
It's also worth mentioning that when you go through a parking garage you typically go in circles as you change elevation through the ramp. Could be what happened - he went up/down a couple of levels to find a parking spot, but unless the GPS/tracking device recorded elevation it would appear he went in circles for a minute or two, then stopped.

RE: What happened at 400mi?
By hyvonen on 2/15/2013 2:25:59 AM , Rating: 1
I'm a little surprised about the downvotes I got, especially as there were no posts with major disagreement.. I thought my post was pretty fair and reasonable, looking at the situation from a different angle (with the exception of 5 which I later realized was factually incorrect)

Did I just get downvoted by Tesla PR folks looking to crack down on any dissent...?

RE: What happened at 400mi?
By Reclaimer77 on 2/16/2013 7:05:53 AM , Rating: 2
Dude look where you are. Anyone who doesn't worship EV's here gets an automatic -1.

But who cares about downvoting? You made a great post, nothing changes that.

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