New York Times reporter John Broder told a harrowing story of a test drive from Delaware to Connecticut in a Tesla-supplied Model S. Broder wanted to review both the car and Tesla’s Supercharger stations along I95. The drive ended on a flatbed truck with a Model S that had run out of juice. The story landed Broder on Elon Musk’s shitlist.
“NYTimes article about Tesla range in cold is fake. Vehicle logs tell true story that he didn’t actually charge to max & took a long detour,” Musk tweeted, and the Tweet was re-tweeted more than a thousand times.
New York Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy told Reuters that the article about Broder’s test drive “was completely factual, describing the trip in detail exactly as it occurred. Any suggestion that the account was ‘fake’ is, of course, flatly untrue.”
The report, which is required reading for both EV lovers and haters, is big on suspense. After an uneventful drive from Washington D C, it gets interesting after a 49 minute stop at the first Supercharger. Only after turning the heat to low, and later to off, Broder limps into the next Supercharger station with “Recharge Now” flashing in red.
Broder is going north, and it is getting cold. The Model S does not like it. After a night parked in Connecticut, two thirds of the available range are gone. Even after an emergency charge on the way, the battery is exhausted and the car shuts down. A tow truck is called. There are problems getting the car on the flatbed because an “electrically actuated parking brake would not release without battery power.”
Broder documents everything in great detail, along with many calls to Tesla, all the way up to Tesla’s chief technology officer, J B Straubel.
The New York Times spokeswoman said Broder “followed the instructions he was given in multiple conversations with Tesla personnel,” and “there was no unreported detour,” as Musk claims.