Tesla Motors CEO rebuts New York Times Model S review(Read article summary)
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk is disputing claims made in a New York Times review that is critical of the Tesla Motors Model S electric car.
The task forÂ The New York Times' contributor John M. Broder sounded simple enough: to highlight Teslaâ€™s newly-installed Supercharger Stations at Interstate 95 rest stops in Newark, Delaware and Milford, Connecticut, Broder was to drive aÂ Tesla Model SÂ with an 85 kilowatt-hour battery from Washington, D.C., to Boston, Massachusetts.
While the trip would ordinarily be impractical in an electric vehicle, the Supercharger stations would provide free electricity, charging the Model Sâ€™ batteries to almost full in roughly an hour. With a Tesla-claimed range of up toÂ 300Â miles (or 265 miles, according to the EPA) the Model S had plenty of range to complete the journey via Supercharger waypoints.
According to Broder, however, thatâ€™s not what happened. In a Tesla-critical article, published online in theÂ The New York TimesÂ last Friday, Broder claims that thecarÂ barely had enough range to reach Milford after recharging in Newark. In fact, the story alleges that the author was forced to drive at 54 mph, sans heat on a 30-degree day.
From Milford, Broder drove 79 miles to Stonington, Connecticut, where the car was parked, unplugged, overnight. When shut off, Broder logged a range of 90 miles; the following morning, theÂ Model SÂ showed a range of just 25 miles in the 10-degree winter cold.Â
Tesla staffers helped Broder find a nearby charging station, but the hour-long charge turned out to be insufficient for the return trip to Milford. En route to another charging station (also located by Tesla), the car shut itself down on an exit ramp in Branford, Connecticut.
Tesla sees the events of the trip in a slightly different light. Ever sinceÂ an embarrassing review byÂ Top Gear, which falsely showed a Tesla Roadster being pushed into a garage out of charge, when in fact it had 50 miles of range remaining, Tesla turns on monitoring software any time a journalist drives its products. Itâ€™s in the fine print, which Broder may or may not have realized.
In response toÂ The New York TimesÂ article, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted, â€śNYTimes article about Tesla range in cold is fake.Â VehicleÂ logs tell true story that he didn't actually charge to max & took a long detour.â€ť
Broder claims his initial stop in Newark, Delaware, produced a claimed full charge in 49 minutes, but Musk claims the data refutes this. Vehicle logs also show that Broder exceeded the speed limit by a significant margin, which anyone who drives I-95 from Washington, D.C. to New York will tell you is necessary for self-preservation.
Perhaps most damning of all is that the logged data reveals a â€ślong detourâ€ť through Manhattan, which Musk claims was unplanned and seriously impacted battery range.
Musk will present Teslaâ€™s side of the story in aÂ Tesla blogÂ update, coming soon. Heâ€™s also promised to toss the Model Sâ€™ keys to other journalists, so they can see for themselves what the carâ€™s range actually is in winter conditions.
Weâ€™re fairly certain that those journalists will be given a detailed list of instructions, indicating the specific route the car is to be driven, a maximum speed and the required duration of Supercharger stops. AsÂ Green Car ReportsÂ points out, winter weather can reduce battery range up to 30-percent, and we're sure this will be factored in, too.
As for whoâ€™s wrong and whoâ€™s right, weâ€™re not taking sides on this one (though it's probably worth pointing out thatÂ an earlier article by BroderÂ was critical of electriccarsÂ in general). As any police detective will tell you, there are always three sides to any story - yours, ours, and what actually happened.