Tesla's Elon Musk & NY Times: Disturbing Discrepancies On Model S Range Reporting Page 2

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2012 Tesla Model S

2012 Tesla Model S

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It told the story with some remarkably different details.

Musk dives in by saying Broder's article "does not factually represent Tesla technology, which is designed and tested to operate well in both hot and cold climates."

And, he notes, "About half of all Tesla Roadster and Model S customers drive in temperatures well below freezing in winter."

'Never had a chance'?

The data logs for Broder's car show, Musk writes, "that our Model S never had a chance with John Broder."

Then Tesla dives into nine separate points where it says the data logs contradict Broder's published claims, among them:

  • Cruise control was never set at 54 mph, as claimed; the majority of the trip was done at 65 to 81 mph
  • When Broder claims to have turned down the cabin temperature, the logs show he turned it up to 74 degrees F
  • Broder's time at the SuperCharger station was 47 minutes, not 58 minutes as claimed; those 11 extra minutes could have delivered enough range for the rest of his journey
  • Broder was directed by Tesla to charge the car fully at that point, but he left with the battery at just 72 percent capacity

The post includes five data-log graphs, an annotated version of the original New York Times infographic, an annotated route map, and a map showing all chargers en route.

Disturbing discrepancies

The post also suggests at several points that Broder's motives were less than unbiased: "When the Model S valiantly refused to die, he eventually plugged it in. On the later legs, it is clear Broder was determined not to be foiled again."

The discrepancies raised in Tesla's post, if accurate, are deeply disturbing.

Speed log from Tesla Model S trip conducted by John Broder, The New York Times [from Tesla Motors]

Speed log from Tesla Model S trip conducted by John Broder, The New York Times [from Tesla Motors]

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They appear to indicate that Broder's article was not factual on numerous points. That means that either his reporting and note-taking were sloppy, at best, or that he omitted or concealed relevant facts that would add important context to his claims.

We expect--and eagerly await--a rebuttal from Broder, The New York Times, or both.

Whether the newspaper will consider the discrepancies serious enough to warrant an internal inquiry remains to be seen.

[UPDATE: As of 9:45 am Thursday, it appears that The New York Times is preparing a response to the Tesla post. What form that will take--whether it's merely an update to Broder's Tuesday blog post, or something more substantial--remains to be seen.]

"Please note, no one from Tesla – including Elon – will be providing additional comment on this topic moving forward, as we feel the blog speaks for itself," wrote Tesla communications manager Shanna Hendriks in a note to journalists.

"At this time, this post is the company’s final statement on the issue."

Winter weather tough on range

To be fair, electric-car range does suffer greatly in cold temperatures.

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