Tesla Model S Road Trip: Electric Cars Make It From DC To CT Page 3

Tesla Road Trip from MD to CT, Feb 2013 - Dante Richardson driving Tesla Model S w/sign in window

Tesla Road Trip from MD to CT, Feb 2013 - Dante Richardson driving Tesla Model S w/sign in window

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Had Broder set the charging to Range mode, and plugged in overnight, he very likely would have had no problems. Whether he knew about standard vs. range charging is another question, although it's neatly spelled out in the Owner's Manual.

To test different scenarios, two of the Road Trip cars did not plug in overnight – to replicate the Broder experience—and two did. Those that did had a bit more range in the morning than those that did not. Even so, all the cars made it back to the Connecticut charging station without any problem.

The Road Trip drivers all said that the range issue and subsequent towing could have been avoided by Broder had he managed the car's energy properly, charged fully, and most importantly, charged overnight.

Third, Tesla support is amazing

One Road Trip cars had a problem: It would not accept a full charge at the Supercharger in Delaware, and two chargers stopped working after that car was plugged in. A quick phone call to Tesla support in California resulted in the company pushing new software codes to the ailing car and to reset both Superchargers. All the cars charged, and completed the trip.

Owner Lauren Knausenberger and her husband Erich had bought the car only a week ago. "You have mission control behind you," she said later. "We had an issue specifically with finishing a charge on a SuperCharger."

"If there's a problem with a normal car you take it to a mechanic," she marveled. "We had a choice between driving the car to the 'mechanic,' having someone come fix it, or getting a software patch on real time--which was incredibly convenient, just beyond cool."

Later in the journey, the Knausenbergers got a flat tire. Their Model S actually told them it had a tire problem. After adding air, they were able to drive two hours to Boston.

"Tesla in Boston opened on Sunday, just to replace our tire and charge [the car] us while they did it," Knausenber continued. "Note that we were driving in the snow on 21-inch summer performance tires, and still made it. We passed two Jeeps with flat tires on the side of the road."

But all the Road Trip drivers agree with Broder on one point: The Tesla Model S is a technological wonder.

Tesla Road Trip from MD to CT, Feb 2013 - Japanese tourists flock around Tesla Model S

Tesla Road Trip from MD to CT, Feb 2013 - Japanese tourists flock around Tesla Model S

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This trip was really about more than the newspaper story, of course, or even the Model S. It was about people who passionately believe that the era of the fossil fuel-powered transportation is ending – and good riddance.

Road Trip participants – all early adopters of this technology – want to bring others into the fold so that transportation is not reliant on fossil fuels and all the baggage that carries in terms of the environment and national security. It doesn't hurt that Tesla is a U.S. company – another positive point for many.

A final point: Everywhere the convoy traveled, the cars generated great interest. Onlookers stopped to shoot photos of the cars as they charged up. They asked questions, they gawked, they asked to sit in the cars. Other drivers gave the Teslas thumbs-up on the road.

The whole experience was like traveling with the stars in a rock band. But here's to the day that trips like this one will soon be everyday events far from worthy of news reporting.

Elvia H. Thompson is Co-Founder of Annapolis Green, an organization that promotes sustainable living in the area around Maryland's capital city through social media, networking events, a weekly radio program and online information sharing. A long-time public relations professional, she blogs for Patch, the local Conference and Visitors' Bureau, and other organizations. She rode along on the Tesla Road Trip, and she now wishes someone would buy her a Tesla Model S.

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Comments (14)
  1. I think it's great that these owners were able to organize this so soon. This plus CNN's recreation of the NY Times test proves that Broder was trying to make the car fail.

  2. Agree. So if one is contemplating the purchase of a Model S, whose advice would they rather seek, John Broder's from the NY Times or that of actual Model S owners?

  3. Elon disputed Broder driving in circles near the Milford supercharger for .6 miles before charging. This was Broder's response:
    "While Mr. Musk has accused me of doing this to drain the battery, I was in fact driving around the Milford service plaza on Interstate 95, in the dark, trying to find the unlighted and poorly marked Tesla Supercharger. "

    Here is a 33 second youtube video of the exit to the Milford superchargers - you can decide for yourself who is telling the truth:


  4. Excellent video, again catching Broder lying. That looked so easy there's no way Broder needed to go .6 miles to find them.

  5. I forgot to plug my KARMA ECOSPORT one night last summer.
    So when the battery went dry (about 45 miles), the ICE kicked in and I drove around fine for the rest of the day. I have no range anxiety. I enjoy answering the many questions about the car. I also enjoy that teenagers who otherwise would not give me the time of day are stopping to inquire.

  6. There's no range anxiety here either this article is about the Tesla owner's responding to a fraudulent claim against the Model S in the New York Times. One question though, what do you tell the inquiring public when they ask is it fast?

  7. Burn.

    (hint for those who haven't driven a Karma, it's a bit of a slug, especially in comparison to a Model S).

  8. I bought the car to plug it in and reduce my oil consumption and because it looks cool. I am not a race car driver and zero to sixty is meaningless for me. In a word, it is fast enough. And again, I do not have to chart out my trips based on charge stations. I do wish Tesla well but I think KARMA gets beat up in the press and blogs more than is deserved.

  9. Great initiative, but one that's likely only to be noticed by a small crowd that already was well aware that the car is capable of trips like this unless you "Broder" it.

    It will take a lot of advocacy to compensate for the effect of one picture of a Model S on a flatbed in a newspaper like the New York Times. It looks like Mr. Broder set out to create that picture and I think that as far as he is concerned it's mission accomplished.

  10. I hope the fact that the car with the charging problem was fixed remotely from the other side of the continent gets more attention. Frankly I think that is the most incredible thing to come out of this whole brouhaha.

  11. Lotta stories have been claiming it was "broke down" which it wasn't. Perfectly drivable, just stopped charging when it got close to 200 rated miles, instead of charging to full. Fixed with a software update in under an hour.

  12. I expect even-handed coverage here, of course, and this is a fine example of it, IMHO. I was, however, not pleased to find some mainstream publications (in this case the Detroit Free Press) basically defending Mr. Broder and the NYT.

    As is noted elsewhere here in the comments, it's easy to convince the EV fans who know a fair amount about EVs and Tesla. It will be a longer, harder struggle to overcome the general ignorance out there in the non-EV crowd.

    Tesla can do it, of course, but people should not assume it will. There will be more disinformation, more idiotic rumors, etc... Thanks to the proactive Tesla owners for doing what they can quickly.

    Mr. Broder, we all make mistakes (or lie like crazy)... Step up and take a second drive.

  13. Broder admitted in a later blog post that he knew what a "Range Charge" was but chose not to perform one because he was worried it would damage the battery. This, despite the fact that Tesla had delivered him the car with a full Range Charge, which would indicate that Tesla intended the car to be fully charged.

    In his original story he reports this in a factual way that nevertheless fails to tell his reader the difference.

    He wrote it had a "Full Charge" when he picked it up. In Delaware he wrote he charged it "until it said 'charge complete' with 242 miles displayed". He absolutely knew the difference, and he used language to conceal the fact that he didn't fully charge it in Delaware.

  14. I think NY Times already admiting fault...


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