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Tesla's Elon Musk & NY Times: Disturbing Discrepancies On Model S Range Reporting

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2012 Tesla Model S

2012 Tesla Model S

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Golly.

Turns out nothing ignites the Internet quite like a rapid-fire online spat between Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk and The New York Times, the Grey Lady of establishment journalism.

Like many such controversies, common ground turns out to be easier to find than you might think: It's a fact that electric-car range falls in colder temperatures.

The details, however, show claims in the Times article are contradicted by the data logs of the Tesla Model S in question--raising disturbing questions about the accuracy of a widely-read article in one of the nation's premier newspapers.

Let's recap.

Winter trip falls short

It all started with a piece in last Sunday's Times with the ominous title Stalled Out on Tesla's Electric Highway. It was written by John Broder, who reports on energy and the environment for the paper.

He described his attempt to drive a Tesla Model S all-electric luxury sport sedan from Washington, D.C., to Boston, using the new SuperCharger network of DC fast-charging stations now being rolled out by Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA].

Spoiler alert: He didn't make it.

He didn't much enjoy the drive either.

Read the article for details, and don't miss the snazzy map graphic that accompanies it.

Ironically, the article was proposed to the Times by Musk himself because he'd liked its earlier long-distance Model S drive report, Charging Ahead on an Electric Highway, which covered a 531-mile journey from Lake Tahoe to Los Angeles last September.

Musk tweets back (of course)

Musk wasn't nearly so fond of Broder's article.

Monday he fired out three tweets (1, 2, and 3) calling the article "fake," saying Broder didn't fully recharge the battery pack and that he took a "long detour" he hadn't written about.

'Revenge of the Electric Car' premiere: Elon Musk arrives in a Tesla Roadster

'Revenge of the Electric Car' premiere: Elon Musk arrives in a Tesla Roadster

Enlarge Photo

Musk promised a blog post from Tesla Motors, with further details from the car's data log, would be "coming soon." Data logging, he noted, has to be approved by customers, but it's always turned on for journalists.

Tesla also plans, Musk said on Monday, to invite other journalists to replicate the trip.

Media piled on

Later Monday, Musk tweeted a more conciliatory message, saying he was "not against [The New York Times] in general" and that the paper was "usually fair," linking to its September piece on the California drive.

By the end of Monday, Musk had appeared on CNBC calling the article "unreasonable," and New York magazine had noted the drop in Tesla Motors stock price.

Even The Atlantic--that bastion of the liberal East Coast chattering-class media elite--criticized Musk's critiques of the article, saying they weren't helping Tesla.

Author responds

Then, Tuesday afternoon, Broder published a lengthy post on the Times Wheels blog in which he responded to Musk's tweeted claims.

2012 Tesla Model S

2012 Tesla Model S

Enlarge Photo

He noted that the car's dash display had said "Charging Complete" at a pack capacity of 90 percent, and that he wasn't told he should also switch to "Max Range" setting and wait another half-hour or so to add the last 10 percent of capacity--which shortens battery life.

To maximize battery life, the Tesla limits recharging to 80 or 90 percent of total pack capacity (reducing range) unless the driver specifically directs it to do otherwise. The "Max Range" setting provides the highest possible range for road trips and/or cold temperatures.

Broder claims his "long detour" was a brief stop in Manhattan that added just 2 miles to total distance.

The real crux of the problem came from an overnight cold soak at a hotel stop in Groton, Connecticut, where he awoke to 10-degree temperatures.

Broder parked the Model S with 90 miles remaining, and awoke to find it showing 25 miles--which fell to 19 miles after he conditioned the battery for 30 minutes at the direction of a Tesla employee.

Things degenerated from there.

Not plugged in overnight

"Virtually everyone says that I should have plugged in the car overnight in Connecticut, particularly given the cold temperature," Broder writes in his followup.

Plugging in the car overnight, even on 110-Volt power, lets the Tesla Model S use grid power to warm its battery pack, keeping it at a temperature that maximizes range.

He then defends his decision not to do so by noting that he was supposed to be testing the SuperCharger network--and that the car showed sufficient range to return to the nearest SuperCharger location.

2012 Tesla Model S

2012 Tesla Model S

Enlarge Photo

"This evaluation was intended to demonstrate [the Model S's] practicality as a 'normal use,' no-compromise car, as Tesla markets it," he continues.

And he sneers at the idea that Model S buyers will all be "electric-car acolytes who will plug in at every Walmart stop," if Tesla expects to be a "mass-market automaker."

We find that line of reasoning a little disingenuous with the Tesla Model S on sale less than a year. 

Electric cars are still an almost unknown quantity among mass-market buyers--who generally don't look at luxury sport sedans whose prices start at $59,900 and can reach $100,000 anyhow.

Data logs, graphs, maps, and annotations

Late last night, the Tesla Motors post, A Most Peculiar Test Drive, finally appeared with Musk's name as author--scooped merely minutes beforehand by the Wired Autopia blog.


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Comments (151)
  1. OK, I take back every negative thing I have ever said about GCR and their Tesla reporting. Great piece Mr. Voelcker.
     
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  2. "Driving around in circles?" Seriously. If true, sounds more like TopGear nonsense than the NYT. Retraction?
     
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  3. Elon is still bitter about Top Gear and it's script: but that's Top Gear, the mistake was to think they are a journalistic endeavour.

    The New York Times, on the other hand, has no satire defence. John is wonderfully fair and balanced here.

    I've seen enough to call a foul play already.
     
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  4. elon the great pooba
     
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  5. I think the reason for driving in circles at the parking lot where the chargers was located for 5 minutes prior to actually starting to charge was an effort by Mr. Broder to fool Tesla's tracking system. This way he probably hoped to have proof of actually spending the amount of time at the charger required to follow up Tesla's direction of completely charging the car while actually spending some of that time depleting rather than charging the battery.

    http://www.teslamotors.com/sites/default/files/blog_images/articlemap0.jpg
     
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  6. Or he could have been looking for the charging station.
     
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  7. Well, those statistics don't lie. I suspect Mr Broder is going to have some serious difficulties getting down from that particularly high horse.
     
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  8. Driving round in circles - oh dear indeed. It sounds like sour grapes - "Dammit, I will make this car fail!"

    Once again though - the real headline is, as John eludes - the Model S is fast, smooth, efficient and can make the journey from Washington to Boston
     
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  9. @Michael: Ummmmmm ... "eludes" ?!?!?
     
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  10. John, I think Michael meant," as John ALLUDES TO"...
     
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  11. Oh come on. Just stop eludsing!!!!!!!
     
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  12. "BRICK" watching, hoping the ev designs would actually come up with something more than glorified golf carts, has been unfruitful, listening to claims of successful competition to combustion engine cars and doing the math, has not yet illustrated any economic justification. I read all the P R Stunts to get unwary buyers, then read the reality behind an obama backers gaining access to billions of taxpayer dollars on a host of failed ventures when examined chronologically over time---Hopefully one day we will actually get to an engineering manner of scale that works in both wind, solar, and ev transport, more than a few miles a day, and even then its still supplied by coal. or a coal energy green car is in no way shape or form green energy
     
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  13. @Jackie: In moderating comments this afternoon, I note that you have left 12 additional comments on this article.

    Please try in future to write in complete sentences; it will make it much easier to understand what you're trying to say. I don't want to start deleting comments, but five of your 13 comments have "BRICK" in capital letters.

    Unless you can connect the "bricking" problem in the previous model of Tesla to the topic of this article, please consider your comments. Thank you in advance.
     
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  14. Thanks, Its just that I have kept up with tesla and then read what things like wikipedia have to say about musk and his claim to have started pay pal and tesla, both utrue if you follow this draft dodger, he in no way started pay-pal, but did invest a few bucks in the beginning, and served on the board for a few months before getting fired, his hostile takeover of eberhardts design and beginning contruction of the first lithium ion powered car or the roadster, began in a fashion familiar to bankruptcy experts, finding a popular green idea underway and investing sufficiently to get to board meetings, and pull the hostile takeover action, cheap to start very expensive to fight and he was aware of eberhardt being cash strapped when he did it.
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  15. I reread all the conflicting statements about the new tesla models bricking problem being solved, and others stating the problem is not solved, Personally I am not buying a coal powered electric car called a green car.
    Battery depletion has a host of variables affecting how long and under what conditions any stack of batteries designed for a laptop PC lasts. My apple lithium battery did what all lithium laptop batteries will do in 4 or 5 years, it expanded beyond its casing. Personally I foresee a copper battery, combined with a hydrogen fuel cell as an eventual auto future energy source, as Germany has been developing hydrides for a couple of decades, starting off in busses, and are poised for the automotive trade.
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  16. @Jackie: I note you have just left an additional 17 comments beyond the 12 you left earlier. That means that you alone have written more than one-quarter of the 114 total comments on this article. Was that your intent?
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  17. the model S like other obama supported ventures is a mistake of american citizens money, while elon buys a 15 million home, and we get the BRICK
     
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  18. I should not repeat the word brick as you mentioned, but I think it fair to ware prospective buyers if the battery is depleted it has to be replaced, costing more than 40,000, and it can deplete itself within less than 3 weeks id left in ideal conditions, Keeping up with the details on both solar city and spacex, show the same or a similar scenario of a bankruptcy expert, who continues to collect money from all parties, or billions while producing very little, Like the 2,400 cars sold since 2002, while the NYSE allow IPO's and investment journals are without integrity, elon spend more money on P R Stunts than actual engineering design, he is in like manner to obama or whoever he actually is, I don't know anyone who is sure of who either of
     
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  19. Take the brick, build a house and get a life.
     
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  20. Excellent article John--well done. And as for Tesla, Elon and their rebuttal blog, well, they out and out slammed the NYT in my opinion.
     
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  21. I hope Broder get's fired, if the logs indeed show what Elon says they do, this wasn't reporting, it was historical fiction posing as reporting.
     
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  22. I think at NYT reporters get fired for not adjusting the facts to this paper's world views.
     
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  23. Yeah, of course America's most famous liberal newspaper is against EVs... If the NYT has a world view, per se, it would among the most EV-friendly ones around. Did you actually assume that the NYT is a conservative publication?

    The NYT is the worst newspaper in the U.S. according to the Fox News crowd; does that not tell you anything?
     
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  24. The fact that Fox crowd abhors NYT and vice versa probably indicates that both publications are highly politicized rather than the distributors of objective facts news outlets ought to be.
     
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  25. I would agree. My point was simply that the NYT is a liberal newspaper and generally is fairly pro-EV. You seem to have made the assumption that the NYT has a world view which is anti-EV, which simply is not the case in general.

    Not to say that the NYT hasn't published some nonsense, either. You're right, though, at moments like this, the NYT is really no better than Fox News.
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  26. "Not Fox News" is not "liberal". It's just not Fox News. Fox News - isn't. It's a propaganda organization created by Murdoch to pose as a news organization. Almost by definition, anything other media is not "liberal" - anything else won't be spouting scripted drivel as management policy. News is different than fake news. If not-being fake is liberal, then liberal away, NYT.
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  27. The 'driving in circles' statement by Musk is unfair, as he cannot know the intent of Broder; maybe Broder was just having a difficult time finding the charging station. There is no defense, however, for Broder not plugging the car into an ordinary 110v outlet overnight. Broder tries to make this sound like some grand inconvenience, when I believe anyone with rudimentary knowledge of electrical vehicles would understand this as part of the ownership responsibilities, particularly in cold weather.
     
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  28. Tesla may not know his intent, but the GPS Tesla iPhone location app is so accurate, it shows you a satellite map of which parking space your car is in. They know if he was driving in circles. Since Broder was doing this near the charger, I suspect he was trying to determine just what it took to actually make the car coast to a stop. Apparently, it takes quite a lot.
     
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  29. Mr. Broder should be fired from the Times for this, if he doesn't like electric cars that's fine he is entitled to his own opinion. But taking his biased opinion and producing an article with falsified information in an effort to harm the reputation of electric cars is misleading and damaging to the reputation of the paper that employs him. This is disrespectful to the readers of the New York Times and to Tesla a company who is trying to bring new innovations to America.
     
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  30. Although the impact of the review is significant I don't think he should be fired. He should explain to the NYT readership why he wrote the review and what he did wrong.
     
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  31. He submitted an article that was purposely deceitful, and there are people who read these things in a attempt to stay informed. Yes it does happen all the time especially in political news but this isn't a small tweaking of words this is fraud, he manipulated the numbers to deceive readers so they would be influenced to take the auther's views. He should be fired because he used the publication he works for to spread misinformation.
     
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  32. I strongly disagree. If he falsified data and lied about what really happened, he's fired. It's that simple. The NYT could apologize and explain without him being the person explaing what really happened.

    Reporters who lie don't get to stay reporters.
     
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  33. The data from Tesla shows that with a max range charge at each Supercharger, the Model S would have:
    1. made the trip without problem,
    2. the detour to the Level 2 charger would not have been necessary,
    3. the trip could have been made at a nice speed,
    4. and at a comfy temerature

    Compare this to the impression Broder's article will give to the unprepared reader.
     
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  34. Wow.
    Well, someone is lying. Either Mr. Musk or Mr. Broder. And unless Tesla has just fabricated their data log...I cannot imagine how Broder will be able to get work writing for a montessori school paper.
     
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  35. A very well-balanced piece, IMHO. I won't comment further here yet until I hear how Mr. Broder attempts to defend himself... I'm hoping for a full-on retraction, but Mr. Broder seems a little full of himself, so it will be interesting to see if the NYT acts if its credibility is called into question, as seems somewhat likely.

    Stay tuned and kudos to Tesla for picking this battle, which I still think is worthwhile.
     
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  36. It seems the real story here for a potential buyer of a Model S (I just canceled my reservation, for now) is the way Tesla handled the entire escapade. It sounds like they dropped the ball when it came to hand holding a NYT reporter. If they can't support a reporter from the largest paper in the country what can I expect as a typical owner? The fact that Broder was biased and had written a biased article before (that Tesla didn't know about!!!)is another indication that Tesla still has a ways to go to get its act together. I'd really like to buy this car but I'm not dropping $80k+ on an experiment, at least not yet.
     
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  37. Rico, hundreds of journalists have driven the car, they didn't have to babysit all of them - this "journalist" was trying to drive the battery to zero, that's like trying to prevent a suicide bomber, you can't stop someone from being irrational.

    >The fact that Broder was biased and had written a biased article before (that Tesla didn't know about!!!)is another indication that Tesla still has a ways to go to get its act together.

    This should have been handled better by Tesla PR. But this says nothing about the technical abilities of the car. You should drive one. I do EVERY DAY. The Roadster may have been a science project but the Model S is a refined work of art.
     
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  38. "this "journalist" was trying to drive the battery to zero, that's like trying"...

    to drive a petrol car with an EPA rating of 450 miles, over 550 miles, ignoring warnings about low fuel and the faster than expected range loss due to cold weather. In other words, if you want to prove something can fail, you will undoubtedly succeed! Big surprise!
     
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  39. Or claiming you have a lear jet when your flying a piper. if your going to discuss variables that affect battery performance start with traffic jams, hills, hot or cold weather, different species of plugins, online maps, chinese variations in quality of lithium batteries, letting your car sit, without constant attention, driving to keep up with traffic, trying to actually drive the car the miles stated when they try and sell it to you, with a 50 % upfront deposit when you sign the agreement tsla does not have to deliver the car at all, or the thousand or so buyers with warranty issues, that would bankrupt tsla, etc etc. its the USA we get freddie mae, bernie mack, enron, etc etc etc, now we get elon musk, an obama buddy/donor for payback
     
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  40. Yes, Rico, it's Tesla's fault that a reporter is dishonest. If that's the excuse you need to cancel your reservation, then so be it. It will make the waiting list for a lucky customer a little shorter...

    "They can't support the reporter...?" Sre you kidding, what support did he need that wasn't provided? Help not lying? Help using common sense? Help not having a bias? I wonder how the many other journalists who've driven the Model S manged when poor Mr. Broder was victimized in your mind?
     
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  41. Why the waiting list ? is there a delivery problem, after 10 years and unlimited funds, elon just bought a new 15 million dollar home for the new bride, which he moved into his old house with his actual wife and children already living there. When she moved out, filed for support, it was discovered the wikipedia internet philanthropist was in reality broke, in arrears and so far behind on production, being sit back one year at a time.(I wonder where the money went/goes ? I await the day when the holder/obama/etc gang are no longer in power and prosecution for criminality will finally began
     
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  42. @Jackie: The waiting list exists because Tesla took more than 10,000 reservations for its Model S before production started. Maximum production rate is 400 per week, which was reached late last year, so the company is now working through its reservations.

    You don't explain what Elon Musk's personal life and living arrangments have to do with this fact.
     
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  43. I ass ume you got the reservation data from elon musk or tsla Eh? people waiting on cars they put 50 % of the money up front, signing an agreement they may not receive the vehicle, where creative accounting shows cost more to make than the selling price, The deposits, government loans, grants, phony IPO's will only last for a limited point in time, eventually the company will either fail or receive more grants and loans or issue more IPO's---As an industrial scientist consulting engineer I find it to be an anomaly that any company is able to continue in business after 10 years + of continual losses. With a product unable to perform to specifications, Most people would already be in jail, waiting customers, continual losses, bankrupt ??????
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  44. who would buy a car yet to be produced, from a company who has always been a loser ? I seriously question the 10,000 orders, and read where production is running about 25 %, losing a lot of money on each problem that reportedly is made. having traveled all over including CA I have yet to see one other than in a photo, hey wanna go live on mars ? its reel cheep, ax elon
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  45. I call B.S. What was your reservation number? I feel another #brodering about to happen.
     
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  47. I know that Top Gear fakes outcomes in there show .They did not want a Mustang Shelby to do as well as a Italian make and tried to prove the power was not reaching the ground.New York times is not above trying to inflame range anxiety and I am sure this was part of there manufacturing news story's .Often it's strung all the way to the business pages editor..
     
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  48. Really, the most liberal, pro-EV newspaper in the U.S. now has an anti-EV bias...? I wonder why the newspaper has consistently provided mostly positive coverage then?
     
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  49. we can look at this two ways (well not really) as a test of the network which means drive from point a to b. he did not do that. had several pitstops including an overnight stay, etc.

    or we can look at this as an EV experience in which we all pretty much know that an EV'er would have found overnight charging. Hotels these days are so ready to generate new business that they would bend over backwards to provide 120 if asked. I have done it several times and have never been turned down including some where very gallant efforts were made to get a plug to me.

    so the article did not set right with me on either front from day one
     
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  50. maybe on a clear day under ideal weather, without pit stops, traffic anomalies while driving on the shoulder at low ideal speeds 27 mph, for the EV to get near the expected milage, with your blinker lights on to keep from getting rear ended, if your really into coal powered green cars. I wonder how many shades of green they offer ?
     
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  51. Oops! Forgot about data logging. Fire Broder.
     
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  52. That's just it isn't it? This guy thought he could get away with lying (Guess that's what newspaper reporting has come down to)but didn't account for modern technology monitoring his every move...

    This article doesn't even begin to describe the scale and boldness of Mr. Broder's lies. People should really read Tesla's blog for a full report:

    http://www.teslamotors.com/blog/most-peculiar-test-drive

    Somehow I don't think NYT sacks reporters for lying though. Maybe for not getting away with it...
     
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  53. The most famous reporter ever fired for lying in the U.S. would easily be Jayson Blair from the exact same NYT.

    And I don't mean this to mock you or insult you, just to point out that it happens and might happen again here if there is any justice.
     
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  54. words are cheap
     
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  55. Oops ! forgot about calling out fire P R Stunt people, shut down tesla motors scam, before the hydrogen fuel cell vehicles come online in 2014, and tsla will disappear into time, where you can actually drive from point A) to point B) without wasting your time on nothing, data logging ? ? ?
     
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  56. I guess the conclusion of this is that you can't believe everything you read these days, even at some "relative" established source such as NY Times...

    I will stick with GCR for my source of EV news... :)
     
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  57. "Now can't we all just get along?"

    No. We need to get to the bottom of this. Why exactly did John Broder lie in his report ? Why is this not another "Jason Blair" case ?
     
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  58. what allow P R Stunts to bypass simple logic, its a time to refute
     
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  59. I fail to see any evidence of a lie other than the one your telling by stating John Broder lied, instead of accepting the reality of his trip experience, parallel to other horror stories the few customers experience trying to drive a tsla in normal traffic conditions. Why can't we all just get along and except the vast number of variables that effect the energy supply of a laptop battery powered transport vehicle no matter what is looks like, a rat under any other name is still a rat.
     
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  60. The real question for me is why did the Tesla lose 65 miles of range when it was parked overnight without being plugged in?

    Broder says that a Tesla employee told him the range loss was the result of a software glitch.

    Was the range loss really the result of a software glitch - implying range loss like this won't happen in the future after Tesla updates its software?

    Or is the range loss the result of battery physics? And how does this range loss relate to temperature? What would have happened if the car had been parked overnight at 0 degree F instead of 10 degree F? or 50 degrees F?
     
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  61. It's a software glitch. If you look at the State of Charge graph at the same time you can see it only loses around 5% of charge overnight.
     
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  62. 20 day vacation and you have a " BRICK " or tsla
     
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  63. Warming the battery pack (either in a warm garage, or using internal heater when plugged in) would restore majority of capacity. Drawing current from battery also has a warming effect, but to a lesser degree.

    The Model S pack has an ideal operational temperature of ~65-70F … for best performance away from ideal conditions the battery will require energy for heating, or cooling. Battery pack capacity can vary ~5-15% depending on temperature difference and battery chemistry.

    For reference petro changes in volume ~2% for 0-70F. ICE has advantage in cold as its fuel is combination of air + petro, & air is more dense at cooler temperatures.
     
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  64. do this and that all for a coal powered green car, what a load.
     
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  65. Research in California by Edison found that 39% of new electric car owners also installed solar panels to charge their vehicle, meaning 0% coal was involved. Also, studies show that even in the most coal-centric states driving an EV is equivalent to driving a high mileage car. Everyday the electric grid is becoming cleaner as more wind, solar, and natural gas installations replace coal. So you are either ignorant or malicious in your comments.
     
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  66. @Eric: I suspect that EEI data is somewhat outdated now. I'm mildly skeptical that of the more than 80,000 plug-in cars on U.S. roads today, 40 percent of their owners charge via solar.

    Your main point, however, is entirely correct. Even in states with the dirtiest grids (WV and ND, IIRC), running on grid power is lower-carbon than a 25-mpg car. In California, you have to have a 100-mpg car (which doesn't exist) to get as clean as a plug-in.

    And that's shown both by last year's Union of Concerned Scientists study and the landmark 2007 EPRI-NRDC study. Which I rather suspect commenter Cox has never read.
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  67. The survey I referred to was for California only, and was completed just one year ago. It won't represent the nation, and I didn't mean to infer that, but it certainly is recent research showing a strong trend in the early adopting segment of EV owners (in CA). For anyone interested here's the link-
    http://energycenter.org/index.php/incentive-programs/clean-vehicle-rebate-project/vehicle-owner-survey?utm_source=pev-survey&utm_medium=repondents&utm_campaign=cvrp
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  68. @Eric: Thanks for the additional info and the link. Appreciate it.
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  70. I think firing may be too harsh. But a if NYT finds enough to doubt in the article, a front page retraction would be great.
     
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  71. If I misrepresented, deliberately sabotaged important test results like that in my job, I'd get fired. I don't understand how journalists are held to a lower bar of truth than the rest of us.
     
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  72. The negative review caused a drop in the stock price. If he's found to be lying, firing him should be automatic.
     
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  73. I'm not surprised, particularly after reading Musk's blog post. NY Times has a history of shoddy journalism and either poor fact-checking our outright lying about facts.
     
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  74. *or. Two mile detour in Manhattan? Through stop and go traffic? Why can't John Broder just be honest?
     
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  75. What do you expect from a road trip ? He is lucky not to get behind a 6 hour wait on a 50 car pileup, where he would have froze to death or depleted his battery even if he had a model S.
     
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  76. There are ICE cars that running out of gas too stuck in I-80 after President's day or MLK day weekend traffic in Lake Tahoe. B/c people use the "idling" engine as a heater (least effiicent way to do it) and even the nearby gas stations run out of gas since the traffic got jammed up and tankers can't make it to Tahoe either...
     
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  77. NY times have credibility, tsla lacks
     
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  78. I don't think anyone should be surprised with John M. Broder's article. A simple search on NYT would have anyone realize that this guy is "in bed" with the oil companies. Majority of his articles are related to oil, emission and energy regulation.

    So, he is probably going to be the "worst" critic of anything electric. That is just the way it is going to be.
     
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  79. And you are objective one, coming up with any clear premise whatsoever for your arguments based on the actual variables, eh ?
     
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  80. A simple reading of his past articles clearly shows the intent. No different than reading all your comments.
     
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  81. And this is the guy Tesla let's test a Model S in the winter with iffy support. Somebody didn't do their homework. I'm a bit amused by all the bad feedback to my earlier post. I have news for all you cheerleaders. I'm a real potential Tesla customer who wants an EV (with decent range)in the worst way. But if they can't convince somebody with 6.5 KW of solar panels on his roof they aren't likely to do very well once they run out of techie's in So Cal to buy their car.
     
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  82. So far all communications during the road trip between Tesla and NY Times has been hearsay in the form of he-said, he-said. As a real potential customer, my advise would be to do research based on you needs and not some reporters. This story does raise some concerns for potential owners need to understand, but educating yourself and understanding your use case(s) is nothing unusual when making an informed purchase.

    Test Tesla, address your concerns to them and see how they respond! You have options & EV choices in So. Cal., ~12 in 2013, potentially 20 in 2014.

    Good luck finding the "best vehicle" for you. :)
     
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  83. check out how tesla actually came to be, and how much america has spent on the failed venture, still with us because of obama political donor issues
     
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  84. How much money have we spent in Iraq to guard our "oil interest"? How many American Lives have we lost in doing that?
     
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  85. Our Oil interest ? where did you come up with the " Our " bit, we took nothing, we gave then the power of choice, at great cost of life and expense, because it was the right thing to do.
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  86. So, choice? power of choice? Great excuse. Now who is the "brain washed" one?

    The Gulf War I was a choice too? To re-establish the monarch that is friendly to us and sell us their oil...
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  87. all actions taken were the result of the United Nations Security council, you sound like it america capturing countries and stealing their oil, a world wide commodity, I wonder about yor perspective or if your just another tesla P R Stunt master
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  88. Money well spent by any measure; and it's in the form of loans being paid back, rather than handouts like the billions handed to oil companies in tax breaks and free military escorts for their tankers through mideast waters - I don't want to pay for any of that. What price do you put on the thousands who have died in a useless war? Imagine for a brief second what could have been done with the trillion dollars here at home. Your math is very blind and one sided.
     
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  89. P R STUNT MASTER, full of it, you can say anything you want, but they are only words and words are cheap, Your disrespect for american servicemen who took the fight to them after they bombed the world trade towers, deserve a lot of respect, and you spout off for a thief and a liar. useless war, are you even aware of the soft and hard cells of subcultures intolerant of all others in our nation, and what it would be like if we did not have the TSA, military, etc to counter their threat to our country, your not blind or one sided, your just ignorant.
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  90. Hardly a failed venture considering Tesla created the S from the ground up, going from prototype introduction to delivered cars in 3 years. And winning -
    Automobile Magazine's 2013 Car of the Year
    Motor Trend's 2013 Car of the Year, and awards given by Time Magazine, CNET, Popular Science, Yahoo Autos, Green Car Reports, AutoGuide.com
     
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  91. from the ground up would have to include the original founder of Tesla Motors Martin Eberhardt, whose company was stolen in a bankruptcy expert hostile takeover, by elon, who was not the founder, an investor to eberhardt then took his company later on the courts awarded eberhardt 20 million if he signed a gang order, so elons claim to fame would not be disclosed as the lie it is, posted on wikipedia in lieu of his cash donation, who also state many exaggerations about what he is and what he has done.basically wikipedia will print anything for cash, like elon musk the internet philanthropist away billions in taxpayer money, an obama pet
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  92. There are more comments in this thread
  93. follow your own advice about tesla motors changed to tsla, after a bankruptcy, over the last 10 years, and discover a mass of unsatisified owners shortchanged on their warranties, and a huge assortment of problems, where tesla or tsla, spend a fortune of time and the latest internet software taking them down almost as fast as they are posted, replacing them with a mass of PR Stunts for one reason,money in the pocket of elon et al, when obama is gone so will elon sneak off into another time place name ID, wherever the host of bankruptcy experts that abound on our earth go when the money stops rolling in. seeing it happen everywhere all at once, led by the greatest thief of all the federal reserve. the world class mafias finger on america.
     
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  94. Rico, if a fradulent article in the NYT was all you needed to be that negative about Tesla, then you weren't really there to begin with. And despite your immediate assumption to the contrary, not everyone here is a blind Tesla fan boy. I'm often critical of Tesla but your continual need to blame Tesla for a journalist lying and faking events is baffling to most here.

    Gee, I wonder who's more likely to fudge the facts, Tesla's well-known data logs, which have been published, of course, or a writer whose dislike of EVs is known?

    For most of us, to blame Tesla for this is just wrong. Please buy what you want, of course, but Tesla will do fine outside California once the dealerships exist and the vehicles are available.
     
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  95. If you keep up on tesla owner blogs over the years, you will discover tsla, once tesla, spends a lot of software time taking them down and keep abreast with the latest internet software in their P R Stunts to get unwary investors to throw their money away on tsla, or buy one of their cars, a hobby car for the wealthy who have personnel with a preventive maintenance schedule so they can take it on short shopping excursions, if they can avoid traffic jams, hot weather, hills etc etc. they have showrooms the world over, and have sold what ? 2400 cars since 2002 ? I read about 20 thousand cars a year from the tsla site, then read plugincars.com where their sales are too dismal to be included with the other actual automotive EV's.
     
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  96. 80.000 ev's on the road and tsla declares it has a 10,000 car backlog, producing near 100 cars a week or so it says, 4 more years, with a growing backlog falling years behind with each passing month, this discussion is so bizarre and filled with lies and false claims, I am going to check out and let you continue to back iron mam musk, stating he will have what ? 80.000 people on mars in 10 years, then theres the hyper loop, thats a real looper of an idea, too much science fiction here for me
     
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  97. Rico,

    Notice that we don't have actual quotes from anyone who actually gave him the advice. This is reporting 101. He should have a name, time etc. He can't even look into his phone to see how many times he called Tesla. Or who he talked to. Or when those calls happened.
     
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  98. where do I find reporting 101 ? is in your thesis ? what a major in underwater basket weaving ?
     
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  99. simple solution for NYT: fire Broder, retract article, charge a duo of journalists to do a do over and a new article.
     
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  100. what ? your going to be the new copy editor ?
     
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  101. Looking at the Google Maps satellite image of the Rest Stop of where the Milford Charging station is located, it would actually be strange if it took less than 5 minutes to find the station if you did not know where it was. Point to Broder.
     
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  102. Still clinging to that faint thread of a hope that Mr. Broder was being honest somewhere, I guess... Yeah, he lied about almost everything else on his trip but congratualtions, you've found somewhere where there's a slight chance he was just incompetent and not blatantly dishonest.

    I'll look forward to your comments here when others replicate the trip and have zero problems.
     
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  103. you might be still waiting long after the idea> wind, solar and ev's are the answer, each one has a tiny place in energy. invest in them and become one of the many losers who fall prey to green investment schemes, without understanding the entire set of variables surrounding their place in our energy infrastructure. The faint thread of hope will break as you wait on the impossible
     
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  104. nit picking
     
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  105. Actually that wasn't science fiction since Fast Chargers for the EV1 were developed but never made it to market. At that time there wasn't much level 2 infrastructure so when GM asked drivers about Fast Chargers we responded - we'd rather see 5 or more level 2 sites instead of 1 fast charger, at least until we had a thousand plus chargers in CA. Kris Trexler drove his EV1 from Southern CA to Michigan where the it was made. A scenic America drive on Route 66, meeting officials and public in towns along the way that never saw an EV there before.
    http://www.kingoftheroad.net/charge_across_america/charge_html/chargehome.html

    More on the 50 kW Magne Charge fast charger for EV1 http://www.eanet.com/ev1-club/archive/981017/981017.htm
     
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  106. @Electric: Thanks for the history. I'd note, however, two pretty significant differences between what you describe and what I suggested.

    First, there's a major difference between a two-seat coupe and a five-person luxury sport sedan. Far fewer U.S. buyers (generally only 1% of the market) will ever buy a two-seat car.

    Second, the Tesla SuperCharger system now exists and is in use. The system you describe was "developed but never made it to market"--so it remains in the realm of the hypothetical.

    Interesting history, though. What might have been versus what exists now.
     
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  107. It must be hard to report science fiction as something real,
     
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  108. i can accept that it took Broder a bit to find the station. it is a big complicated area and not a "small" lot as Elon portrays it to be but there is little doubt he drove faster and warmer than he led us to believe and did anyone read his acccompanying article posted the same day about his side trip charge? where he boosts CNG and disses EVs? better yet, he claims someone else said this and he is just relaying the info. guessing that any positive info on EVs told to him might not have made the final cut?
     
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  109. There is a phony dichotomy between Fox News and its ilk, and the New York Times and "mainstream media" -- which supposedly sits on the left of some imaginary political spectrum. While Fox News is assuredly idiotic propaganda, anyone who has run afoul of the arrogance of any major press outlet can verify -- often very testily -- how the allegedly respectable press can get stories very, very wrong.

    So, it's not a matter of right-wing media being better or more accurate -- they're not, and no one who has not drunk the ideological Kool-Aid would contest that. The issue is that even news outlets -- such as the New York Times -- that do a better job than the demonstrably-idiotic ones, are far from perfect.
     
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  110. Okay, you all know that I love EVs and Tesla S.

    But Let me play "devil's own advocate" for a second here. We have to admit that BEVs today are NOT "fool proof". Average BEV cars buyers are probably more educated, more wealthy and more intelligent than "average car buyers". So, the technology is NOT "fool proof" yet. Whether Broder did it intentionaly or NOT is another matter, but the fact is that someone can act like an "idiot" and end up getting stuck, with the latest and greatest BEV on earth. Sure, the same thing can happen with gasoline cars as well. But the fact is ICE cars carry more energy and have more available public infrastructure and more owner experiences, the chance of this happening in ICE cars is far less than BEVs
     
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  111. Who would set out driving a gasoline car on a 61 mile trip with the gas gauge virtually on empty? Why would Mr. Broder do the exact same thing in an EV?

    Neil
     
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  112. You have just confirmed my point. People wouldn't do that in a gas car b/c they are "more familiar" with them than BEVs. Sure, Mr. Broder might have different intent, but the fact is that driving/owning an BEV requires a different type of experience that many of the ICE owners don't have. Most ICE owners don't understand the fact that BEVs typically carrying no more than 1 gallon gas equvilant of energy in their vehicle. They also don't understand how much climate control can impact their range. Those are real world experience that "most" ICE owners don't get...
     
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  113. broader was simply being objective, with journalistic integrity, rarely seen in the things I read, with all the P R Stunts trying to justify false claims about a political organizer, pretending to be a contribution to aerospace, solar, and ev's, for american taxpayer dollar in the pocket of nothing
     
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  114. The only thing that Broder was "objective" about was teh fact that he played a "perfect role" in the worse ICE idiot there is. That was my point. He tried to show if you are an "idiot" who is used to operate the modern machine with the old ICE experience and you will end up with a problem. That is my point. 1. EVs require a shift in operating mode. 2. There are too many idiots out there who aren't ready to shift. So Tesla needs to do a better job if they want BEVs to be as wide spread as ICE cars.
    3. If Broder is truly "objective", then he should have stated that in his "experiement" as trying to be as "dumb" as a typical ICE driver get. But he didn't...
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  115. the problem with ev's is similar to wind and solar which cost the grid 40 % more than current suppliers like nuclear and coal power. Obama is not a scientist and does not appear to be an economist either, and seems to be fully behind wind, solar, and EV's. Each on has its place in energy, but no matter how hard you try to make them more than their small sector in energy supply if you do not understand engineering manners of scale, and economic justification, you will end up on the losing end the tallest man or whatever it is, castes a long dim shadow
     
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  116. The reason that nuclear and coal are cheap is b/c the cost of their waste or pollution aren't taken into consideration. Tax payers and people downstream are paying for the disposal of the waste and pollution generated from those two sources...
     
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  117. Its what powers tslas, the smutty car painted a darker shade of green
     
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  118. Another thing learned from this is that Tesla needs a better "customer support" department. As the spread of BEV adoption approach the average population, the level of support need will go up. They need to get ready for that waves of "stupid questions" phase.

    A funny story, one lady rushed into my local Chevy Dealer service room while I was waiting to get my tire patched for a small punchture. She came into the room and asked out "loudly", "I need help!!", "my kid played with my SUV and somehow managed to change all the controls to French and I can't find a way to switch it back and I can't do anything anymore...Help! I need help now!"

    Just about everyone in room laughed out loudly. But apparently, no one spoke French in that room...
     
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  119. You must assume that we believe Broder about talking to numerous Tesla employees since he doesn't name who gave him the particular false advice.
     
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  120. tsla needs a car capable of performing as stated on the advertising, instead of the BRICK it is, or will be unless you give your devote time and attention to a coal powered electric car
     
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  121. I agree that BEV has its limitation in the extreme weather, but calling it a "brick" or "coal powered electric car" is really stupid. I don't want to go into details to prove to you why that is.
     
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  122. Coal and Nuclear supply the grid with near 85% of energy, wind and solar near 2 % in spite of the billions tossed away over the last 4 years, in the vast failed experiments that litter our landscape killing untold numbers of birds, when thorium nuclear reactors, and hydrogen fuel cells are our future, along with petrochemicals which play a vital role in our supply of goods and services, Lithium laptop batteries also have their place, its laptops, and some other battery powered goods in a similar energy demand range
     
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  123. @ Jackie cox,

    How energy will 200,000 EVs draw per day? Typical driving is about 40 miles per day. 2% is MORE than enough to cover that. That 85% is powering the rest of the industrial usage. When you reduce your gasoline usage, it will also reduce those dirty powers that needs to power the refinery and gas stations.

    Just so you know. I am NOT calling for elimination of all fosill fuels over night. But there is NOTHING wrong with moving towards more green energy.

    Personally, my Volt is powered by both the 3KW solar panels on my roof and the 1MW solar panels at work.
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  124. and i suppose you think the grid knows where the wind and solar go and where coal and nuclear go? wow, what a grid
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  125. I LOVE my all-electric 2011 Nissan Leaf. It's fun, zippy, and much more reliable than any gas car because it's so much simpler. 23,300+ miles so far, and aside from a very flat tire (and no spare) I've never been stranded.
     
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  126. Fargo to Bismark? Tonight? The forecast temperature is near 0 Fahrenheit. Your leaf will be frozen by the side of the road. You will be dead if no one rescues you. My Univega is a better commuter. My VW TDI can make the run from Fargo to Bismark.

    The Leaf is a commuter,not a general purpose car.
     
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  127. Looks like a much too public debate where a lot of confusion and presumed motives have spun out of control. I can see many of Broder's points. The 54 mph vs 60 or so average speed is still an open issue. I drove three times around the parking lot of the Tesla Supercharger in Folsom CA trying to locate it, in daylight no less.

    So Mr Border, I retract my implications that the article was untruthful.

    It's really a shame for all involved that this wasn't resolved with a phone call or emails clarifying the viewpoints of both sides and reconciling that with the data.

    Consumers without instructions on EVs could experience these issues. Work to do.

    http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/14/that-tesla-data-what-it-says-and-what-it-doesnt/
     
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  128. Here is a reporter who drove the Model S from Washington DC to Boston MA with no problems:

    http://money.cnn.com/2013/02/15/autos/tesla-model-s/

    He had range to spare, in fact.

    The New York Times has to very concerned about their reputation - it is the most important asset they have.

    Mr. Broder is trying to spin things but he is a journalist - and not an entertainer. I watched Transport Evolved podcast #138 and Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield ( http://www.youtube.com/user/aminorjourney ) and she mentions that the BBC "reports" on this in a one-sided self-serving way.

    I think that Elon Musk knew what he was doing.

    Neil
     
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  129. losing money for 10 years running, oh yeah as a bankruptcy expert he is well aware of the eventual outcome of his laptop battery powered car company still with us because of lord obama.
     
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  130. Teslosterone - The passion of testing, driving or owning a Tesla.
     
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  131. Electric cars need energy density that no current battery can supply. That is why battery dependent electric cars may succeed as urban commuters but they will fail as general purpose autos.
    I take kayaking trips that would put all currently available electric cars out of their safe charge range. That means that if I was going to buy any Tesla I would still need a real car to take on such a trip.
    I can hop in my Jetta TDI and drive 200 miles to a remote area without worrying about where I am going to plug it in. Until electric cars can do the same they are a not general purpose cars.
    I have a challenge for Mr. Musk: Newport Oregon to the Steens Mountains. You WILL loose. The Tesla is just a toy for rich people. Nothing more, nothing less!
     
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  132. Its a correct piece of journalism, the P R Stunts are lacking perspective in reality. BRICK's are an advertising misleading delima
     
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  133. NYT got it right.
     
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  134. I have to say that Mr. Voelcker is trying hard to be fair but is trying even harder to cover for the NYT. He keeps talking about the negative effect of temperature on electric cars but that is a straw man. That is not what is in dispute here and never has been. It is whether or not a typical person could have made that trip without trouble. The people leaving from Maryland today will prove that easily I presume. By the way, cold weather also affects gas engine mileage negatively. Why did you not mention that? This is due to several reasons but primarily due to using less "dense" blends in the winter to making starting easier.
     
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  135. @Dan: Cold weather affects delivery of battery pack energy as much as 30 percent. IIRC, the maximum impact on gas mileage is less than 10 percent. Not quite comparable, IMHO.

    And I don't feel I'm trying to cover for the NYT. I'm trying to present all relevant facts so that readers can make up their own minds. Sounds like you've done that already?
     
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  136. Sir, I guess I have made up my mind, though I did say my final judge will be the folks in Maryland making the run today. And I was a bit unclear. I believe Broder is using ambient temperature as a straw man and you were using it as a red herring. You were spending an awful lot of time on the subject; and I state again that it's not the issue here. Also, I think you were a little tougher on Musk on small issues and less tough on Broder on big ones.
     
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  137. Ready this blog then...

    http://andwediditourway.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/the-not-so-ev-life.html
     
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  138. http://andwediditourway.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/the-not-so-ev-life.html

    The Big Ones ? Eh ?
     
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  139. temperature, time, hills, design flaws, lithium coeffiecent of expansion, etc etc. Its not about the NY Times, Its about green stuff, and how much you can get playing the green car game in a coal car. Its all about the actual variables, If you are objective like Mr. Voelcker, and have journalistic integrity then thats puts you in a different book than the one you write about, one with limited perspective, the work of a P R Stuntster
     
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  140. Sorry, I meant to vote up and it didn't let me change it!
     
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  141. the part about petrochemicals coming from dead dinosaurs, may be a bit misleading, as I know pumpers who have gone back to depleted oil wells after 40 years which are now pumping again, And several of them, most engineers, state their belief of some species of microbe or catalyst is responsible for converting the underground strata into petrochemicals, specifically petroleum, giving rise as to whether its a renewable resource or not. The study of underground petroleum deposits is extremely difficult to perform, but time changes all belief systems, and diamonds like oil may be formed differently than we thought---2 cents on oil---2 cents is more than tesla is worth ha ha ha
     
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  142. Another point that needs to be made: cold reduces the range of internal combustion cars, too. Quite a bit on shorter trips, in fact. I know my mileage drops by about 20% in the winter vs the summer. And if I plug in a block heater, my warm up time would be shortened by enough to save me 5-8% on my mileage.

    At 6F (which it apparently was on the night Mr. Broder stayed in the hotel) and say a 4 year old battery or if he left the dome light on or if there was a little water in the tank - what guarantee would Mr. Broder have that the engine would even start; let alone be able to go as far as it would have on the ~1/4 tank of gas?

    Neil
     
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  143. drop in stock price, by elon who gets an ipo listed n the nyse, then spends 15 million in an effort to get others to buy stock is criminality, a cheap hustler backed up by obama the dictator who is forcing his homosexual manifesto on america while destroying our nations economy.when will someone finally take the both of them out of americas equation. during sequestration elon buys a 15 million dollar mansion with obama money
     
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  144. the future of automotive that will end ev's are hydrogen fuel cells (hydrides)
     
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  145. Dear John I have been watching the actions of elon musk as they relate to obama possibly with much more interest than the average reader, separating fact from fiction I see clearly a bankruptcy expert at large supported by our present commander and chief, without considering how he attained his position or his executive orders , more than 100, I do however disagree with the scientific and economist content of his actions and see a pattern of fraud and treason in his ongoing government, and fully expect eventual prosecution by federal courts and grand juries, his decision to back wind , solar, EV's and other elements of science he plans to replace our ebergy infrastructure is done without sound study or proof of concept the cost enormous
     
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  146. Its a very serious discussion you have begun, discrediting what the so-called commander in chief gives billions in incentive to support along with loans and grants, with only 80 thousand EV's with 40 % solar roof panels. The investment fraud is enormous, many people believe whatever they read see hear and are told, without investigating the chronological timeline of activities surrounding criminality in government. they need to know the real facts, not a planned activity of paid P R Stunt Masters with plans to lure the unwary investor. Most negative customer remarks are taken down immediately, Your truthful column is more powerful than a blog. and will help many people to avoid being conned by con artists. normally I don't get so involved.
     
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  147. @Jackie: Do you hold, or have you shorted, stock in Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA} ??

    What are the motivations for the 50-plus comments you've posted on this topic in the last 3 days?
     
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  148. I dislike criminality in government backing unqualified people because they made political donations, who promote unsound ideas to steal money from unwary investors and buyers.
     
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  149. It doesn't surprise me that the Old Grey Lady would give an fraud laden report and try to sully the reputation of a man who does things his own way. How dare Tesla state that you can live a normal life with an electric car, everybody knows you must suffer to be green! It's time to quit wasting paper and drop the NYT's from peoples reading habits. It would do us all some good.
     
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