By on February 12, 2013

Tow truck delivers Model S to charging station

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.

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131 Comments on “After Tesla Stalls, Musk Calls NY Times Report A Fake...”


  • avatar
    Highway27

    As far as I’m concerned, Elon Musk doesn’t have a lot of credibility in situations like this. I’ve always found him to be overly defensive and quick to blame others.

    We’ll see how this one turns out, I think this one’s going to be significantly different from the Top Gear / Tesla foofooraw.

    • 0 avatar

      As much as I love the Tesla Model S – this was inevitable. Cold weather decreases battery efficiency and consequently: range.
      The main problem with the Model S is that it lacks a generator. A Compressed Natural Gas, diesel and gasoline generator OPTIONAL for people living in states or areas where these fuel sources are cheap would make the Model S 100 times better than the Karma.

      Until then, the only safe bet on an EV is the VOLT or ELR.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        I have to agree. As all of these different issues pop up – the Volt seems to have the happiest group of owners and doesn’t suffer from issues like climate or, let the snickers begin, range anxiety.

        I’m a huge fan of electric cars – right now a Leaf would meet about 90% of my driving needs. But I will admit, despite my strong desire for this to succeed, and my belief that this is the future, that round 2.0 of the electric car – we’re still not ready (I guess you could say round 3.0 as there were electric cars at the turn of the 20th century).

        If I was going to even consider an electric car, it would be a Volt, Prius Plug-In, or Fusion Plug-In. That’s it.

        As I noted below even if Elon is right, that the story is a fake, that they took a detour and after 49 minutes at a charging station the Tesla S wasn’t fully charged, it still highlights the flaws of a pure electric, and the problems using the cells they selected in a rather ingenious setup otherwise.

        If I can’t take a detour, planned or otherwise in an electric car – its value to me as transportation is…

        The more I think of it, Elon saying, “the logs say he took a long detour,” make me go – so what. I can go buy a Prius C that gets 52 MPG and take all the damn detours I want. Or for a base price that is now at $60,000 before government hand outs, I can buy an Audi A6 with thousands left over for gallons of super unleaded, and take all the detours I want.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        IMO, the best option for an EV is a towable trailer with a generator & umbilical. On long trips you have the range you need; for short trips you don’t needl it; and one can be shared across multiple cars.

      • 0 avatar
        TecnamTwin

        Let’s dissect the NYT article and electric car hating journalist as proved by his post in March of last year. He fraudulently named the article “Stalling out on Tesla’s Electric Highway” insinuating that the car had mechanical problems.
        Then he drove it to a Supercharger and did not give it a full range charge. After that, he drove to a hotel where he did not plug it in. I’ll bet he plugged his phone in that night. In the morning, he did not preheat the car and battery before he set out again.
        He then continued driving even after his stated range was below the distance to the destination and kept driving with a red CHARGE NOW warning on the dash, only calling Tesla Motors after his situation was dire. Then he drove it until it stopped for lack of electrons.
        During his trip there was an unscheduled detour in Manhattan that he only mentioned in the article as a short break in Manhattan. Of course the New York Times denies this and claims the entire report as totally factual.
        It’s an electric car. Plug it in and everything’s fine. He would have had a nice relaxing trip if he had given it a range charge at the Supercharger stations which are free BTW and charged overnight at the hotel. Then again, nice drives don’t sell papers.

        The Tesla Model S has many owners that have successfully done long road trips, but you don’t see any of those accounts in the New York Times. Look up “Gallons of Light” if you want the other side of the story; the story that says taking a Model S on a road trip is a great experience.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        This story is full of fail both on the part of the reporter and Tesla. Tesla could have directed him to one of the dozens of pay chargers along his route instead of only their free super chargers and he could have stayed at one of the hotels in Boston that had a charger, downloaded the free app, unless he has a Windows phone or stopped at any Nissan dealer along the way.

        As far as not fully charging it at the super charger that would have taken a lot longer. A battery near the bottom of it’s SOC takes a charge much quicker than one near full. Charging it from 80% to 100% takes about as much time as from 10% to 80% it’s just the nature of all current batteries.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        @TecnamTwin

        I’m pretty pro-electric car. I am waiting for either the next wave of development in a 2016 – 2018 time line to take the plunge or not jump if they fade way. It would make sense to me – but I have to pick apart some points in your post.

        …Then he drove it to a Supercharger and did not give it a full range charge…

        That’s like saying I drove to a gas pump and only gave it 3/4 of a tank. Waiting 49 minutes for a charge and not getting a full one isn’t acceptable. How can you argue it is when I can fill up a gas tank in 5 to 10 minutes. The last 20% or so of charging a battery can take as long as the 20% to 80% – it is just the way it is. But 49 minutes, on a supercharger, and still didn’t get a full charge – don’t you see a bigger problem. And what would have happened had someone else been plugged in? Wait for them for 50 minutes and then wait another 50 minutes?

        …After that, he drove to a hotel where he did not plug it in…

        No, he didn’t it – and likely the hotel had no provision for plugging in an electric car like most hotels don’t. But beside that, as the story says, he had enough range according to the car to reach his final destination. Why would he have to plug it in? If I owned an electric car, and I got home and the car said I had 40 miles range left, give I drive 10 miles round trip to work – I wouldn’t plug it in. You’re implying I have to plug in an electric car every time I stop and park it.

        …I’ll bet he plugged his phone in that night. In the morning, he did not preheat the car and battery before he set out again…

        Huh. I lived in South Dakota once. Got down to 20 below. Never did have to preheat the car and/or battery. For that matter when I lived in New England and it would get down to 0 regularly, no battery warmer required. Go out, and start the car – and it wasn’t even fuel injected. Today you generally don’t have to even warm up an ICE car. Again, if it is harder and takes longer the benefit exactly becomes…what exactly?

        …He then continued driving even after his stated range was below the distance to the destination and kept driving with a red CHARGE NOW warning on the dash, only calling Tesla Motors after his situation was dire. Then he drove it until it stopped for lack of electrons…

        The car “computer” said he had 19 miles left to drive 11 miles to a charging station. He never states how long he charged the car the second time – but lets face it, according to Tesla propaganda, the car has a 300 mile range – he shouldn’t have needed to charge it once. Even by the EPA test standard of 265 miles, he should have had adequate range with no charge. But the car only offered up 242 miles to begin with on a full charge at the start of the story – a full 21% below Tesla’s claimed range. Imagine if a gas burner was getting 21% less than what the manufacturer claimed – why Consumer Reports would write a story…never mind.

        …During his trip there was an unscheduled detour in Manhattan that he only mentioned in the article as a short break in Manhattan. Of course the New York Times denies this and claims the entire report as totally factual…

        Again – so what. What if there was traffic and he needed to take a detour because he was waived off the highway. What if I have passengers with me who see a sign that says, “House of Mud, 52 miles ahead,” and they wail, please, please, lets go drive and see the House of Mud! Does that mean, sorry, I am on my preprogrammed trip and I cannot deviate because if I do we’ll run of electricity and be screwed. If that’s the value proposition – you can keep your Tesla and any other electric car.

        …It’s an electric car. Plug it in and everything’s fine…

        Lets go back to the story. Plugged in and full charged at the “go” point. Tesla claims 300 miles. EPA claims 265 miles. Car said 242 miles. Lost 71% of its charge sitting outside in 10 degree weather (not exactly extreme cold) because of the ambient. Gave up another 30% of the remaining charge being “conditioned” to run. Required two charges on a route that should have required exactly – zero.

        Even if the story is a big ball of munch – it doesn’t bode well for the Model S.

        …He would have had a nice relaxing trip if he had given it a range charge at the Supercharger stations which are free BTW…

        Go back and read the story, he calls out specifically that the superchargers are free.

        …and charged overnight at the hotel…

        Did the hotel have a charging station? If it was a true HOTEL and not a MOTEL even running an extension cord would not be an option – right – kind of hard to do it from the third floor in room 385 with windows that don’t open. You mean if I drive an electric car on a road trip I can only stay at hotels with charging stations? That’s going to be a big problem in fly over states and the vast suburban and rural landscape that is America. I don’t think Yellowstone National Park is big on having chargers everywhere, or the Badlands of South Dakota, or out by the King Ranch in Texas, or in Monument Valley of Arizona, or…

        …The Tesla Model S has many owners that have successfully done long road trips, but you don’t see any of those accounts in the New York Times. Look up “Gallons of Light” if you want the other side of the story; the story that says taking a Model S on a road trip is a great experience…

        Ya, Gallons of Light. A “fan” video. Just a fan that HIRED writers and consultants, used the same camera equipment to film the Hobbit, the Ultimate Arm video camera mounting system and filmed the whole trip in a gas burning Suburban. Further, he scouted out the entire route and charging stations BEFORE filming his “volunteer” family on their road trip. That scouting mission by the way, not done in a Tesla.

        http://www.gallonsoflight.com

        That isn’t a “road trip,” it’s a complete farce. Road trips I go on don’t require producers scouting out charging points and planning a specific route for me to get me where I’m going.

      • 0 avatar
        Thinkin...

        Gotta love how the sentiment here is: “the only save bet on an EV is one that runs on gasoline.”

        Kinda like complaining about the luggage space in an F1 car. Electric vehicles aren’t the best at everything. Nor are gas powered cars. What EVs do well, they do really well. Like a school bus is great at hauling kids, but (generally) miserable on a track day. Why people think that an EV must be a true replacement for every type of car in every type of driving mystifies me.

        Case in point: I hate my motorcycle in the snow. But that certainly doesn’t mean that the only motorcycle that I’ll consider must have four wheels.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        While this article is now a couple of pages back I think it deserves Tesla’s response with the data log from this trip. It can be found on their blog here. http://www.teslamotors.com/blog/most-peculiar-test-drive note speeds of up to 80mph when the writer claimed he was going 65 or 45 mph. Also note that when the range was getting low he turned up the heat not shut it off. Also not the map with all the charging stations along the way that he bypassed.

    • 0 avatar

      The latest: the NYT reports that Musk has offered Broder another testdrive along the BosWash corridor, when they will have more supercharging stations.

      I agree completely with you about Musk. This notion that Broder would fake the test drive just seems like nonsense, and if Broder had truly faked the test drive, I’m sure Musk woiuldn’t make another offer.

      http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/12/the-charges-are-flying-over-a-test-of-teslas-charging-network/?nl=automobiles&emc=edit_ws_20130212

      • 0 avatar
        TecnamTwin

        APaGttH:
        As far as warming up the Tesla Model S, you can do that from your phone while you’re still in bed.

        Broder just didn’t do what was need to make it to his destination, namely plugging it in. Why is it so hard for people to get it? Just plug the thing in! If you don’t put gas in a car it can’t go, same for electrons.

        A Model S takes much longer to fill but costs nothing whereas a typical luxury sedan takes 5 min. and $50-75 to fill up. I’d prefer to spend some time at the nearby mall and spend that $75 on something else while the car’s charging.

        • 0 avatar
          CRConrad

          He plugged it in wherever he could; like, at two — no, three, wasn’t it? — charging stations. The only place he didn’t plug it in, where you “Just plug it in! Just plug it in!!” types MIGHT have a case, is overnight at the hotel — but:

          A) Nobody told him he’d have to.

          B) In the evening, the car’s instruments said it had more distance left than he had to go the next day.

          C) For the umpteenth time, DO YOU KNOW THAT THE HOTEL EVEN _H_A_D_ ANYWHERE TO PLUG IT IN?

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        @TecnamTwin

        You missed my point. With a modern ICE you don’t need to warm up the engine (not a 10 degree morning) you can turn the key, climb in and go.

        I can “warm up” both my vehicles from my bed too. I can remote start an $18K Chevy Cruze with OnStar through a smartphone today.

        The fact that the battery needs/requires a warm up solution is a problem in itself.

        You also glossed right past that a vast majority of malls, hotels, motels, resorts, parks, stores, etc. etc. don’t have a place to charge an electric car. Just plugging in to some random 120VAC outlet outdoors in some parts of the country is considered theft of service.

        Last I checked – electricity was not free. It is generated from in order coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydro, biomass, fuel oil, and other renewable (solar, wind, etc.). Coal, natural gas, nuclear, and fuel oil all come with environmental impact. Hydro as we are now learning comes with its own impact with the changes/damage it does to the ecosystem. There is a reason why the Native Americans in the old black and white pictures of the Grand Coulee Dam look so unhappy. Their lands flooded, their salmon runs which they depended on for income – wiped out. But don’t fool yourself that filling up an electric car is errr, free. Even if the mall is providing you a “free” charger SOMEONE is paying, and that cost in the end, is being passed back to you.

      • 0 avatar
        TecnamTwin

        APaGttH:

        You ask before you plug in and give them five bucks.

        So the same technology in a high-end car is in a cheap car. Yay! Technology in cheaper cars is always a good thing, but it in no way puts down the expensive cars that share the same nice features.

        Since when is warming a car a problem if you can do from bed then? It’s part of planning a long trip. You want to just mindlessly jump in the car and go drive for hundreds of miles. That’s unwise, and you deserve to run out of gas because you forgot to fill it up the night before. Planning should always be part of the process.

        I don’t have to pay a red cent for the use of a Supercharger or any other free charger I find. I already invested in the car and paid for my share of electrons. As far as charging at my house, it would cost me about $35 a month for electricity. I know that there is never a free lunch. What do you take me for? a left-wing radical bleeding heart liberal?

        I know that most hotels currently don’t have a dedicated EV charger. This is the start of a rEVolution. What’s the point of having 200 million EV chargers if there are only 200,000 EVs on the road?
        The fact remains that as EVs proliferate, hotel, restaurant, and business chains are beginning to build chargers at their locations.

        The Tesla Supercharger routes are in their infancy and there are only six stations in the whole nation. However, Tesla is building more of them elsewhere. Once they get coverage, then they can improve charger density.

        EVs and their infrastructure are not perfect. However, what they do, they do well, and that is why I want one. For the 5% of driving EVs are not as good, but for 95% of driving EVs excel. Why complain about and highlight the 5%?!!

        You said that you are for EVs. I know now that you are actually a hopeful skeptic.

      • 0 avatar
        nonce

        Tesla claims right on their website that you can leave the car unplugged overnight, or even leave it at the airport for a week.

        If Tesla specifically told him to make sure to plug it in overnight and he didn’t, then the problem is on Broder. Otherwise, trying the things the car says it can do isn’t abusing the car.

  • avatar

    I watched this pour onto twitter, and didn’t care. I don’t need an electric car yet, nor will I soon. Nor anyone else for that matter. Tesla makes a cool product with technology that is still in its infancy. People would be understanding if they just said it ran out of juice.

    • 0 avatar
      Stumpaster

      People would be understanding if they just said it ran out of juice. But that would be telling JUST a small fraction of the story, which you should read. From my perspective of happy fossil fuel burner, this was a trip from hell. The one you take when you decide to take a Renault 4 of your old uncle’s hands and drive it across four states. You are never sure you’d make it to the next stop; you are freezing your ass off; and the car does strand you intermittently, thus taking all predictability out of the trip. Read the article, it is indeed a harrowing tale.

      • 0 avatar
        TecnamTwin

        Elon Musk is going to publish the actual data and drive path of this journalist as read from the Model S’s “Black Box” which is always on for the press to prevent this sort of thing. He made the trip harrowing because that’s what sells papers. Several Tesla owners have made that trip successfully. He didn’t take the necessary steps to ensure his success. In fact, he did just the opposite.

        • 0 avatar
          CRConrad

          And now, two weeks later, he is still “going to” publish _the actual data_ ; what he’s published so far are graphs allegedly based on the actual data.

          Graphs.

          Allegedly.

      • 0 avatar

        Exactly.

      • 0 avatar
        madcynic

        So…where is the published black box data? I’m not impatient, but accusing someone of fraud and then taking time to back that up with evidence just seems like a patently bad idea…

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    No surprise to anyone knowledgable in batteries. Capacity goes down at low temperature; impedance increases, so usable capacity under heavy load can drop dramatically. 70% loss of range is very possible. This is a niche car for those willing to live within its limited operating envelope. IMHO, that’s too small a niche to sustain Tesla as a profitable company in the long run.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Say it ain’t so. I never thought the Grey Lady would tell a fib, especially to espouse left wing ideals.

    • 0 avatar
      nic_mach

      How is attacking an American-made electric car espousing left wing ideals? Please explain.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      I’m not one to worship the Times – indeed, I trust them about as far as I can throw them.

      But I’d expect their reflexive, half-unconscious coastal-elite therefore-Progressive-ish bias to bias them in favor of EVs.

      When they go against expected bias, it’s interesting.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Jalopnik calls the Tesla Model S “the world’s most expensive beta test” and goes on with stories of owner complaints. I would like to make an open offer to any unsatisfied Tesla owner. I will buy your Tesla Model S for $20,000 cash, problems and all. This offer is open to the first two Model S owners that reply. This is your chance to get rid of your problems. That’s just the kind of guy I am, a problem solver.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Tesla’s most likely customers include many that still believe the New York Times is a credible source of information. I tend to think the story here is true, as there is little chance that they wanted to discredit the idea that electric cars are now viable. The reporter was probably just caught between his ideology and freezing to death, so reality triumphed for once. He’ll fall back into character after a few warm days indoors, and some sort of middle way will be found to explain how his intentions were good but the car is still brilliant and life giving.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      When Charles Lane at the Washington Post writes about this with the headline “The Electric Car Mistake” you know that the conventional wisdom is starting to change.

      I am amazed that the NYT and the Post are publishing stories that begin to explain why the electric car promise will not come true. That is the sound of nails being pounded into the electric car coffin.

    • 0 avatar
      powermatic

      Alternative Reading

      “The NY Times is not a source of credible, factual news. Except when I agree with it.””

    • 0 avatar
      powermatic

      Alternative Reading:

      “The NY Times is not a source of credible, factual news. Except when I agree with it.”

      Still cranky and bitter, eh CJ, but don’t worry-someday you’ll pass on, and won’t be required to witness the horrific changes going on around you. Enjoy the next four years!

  • avatar
    -Cole-

    PayPal always blames you too

  • avatar
    cargogh

    LATimes was running a Tesla story at the same time. Theirs was more electrifying and glowing.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      It’s a lot less cold in Los Angeles, too.

      (Even if Musk is completely correct, though, the Tesla wouldn’t be on my radar if I was a bazillionaire*. It doesn’t meet any value proposition I can formulate.

      * That means “very rich”.)

      • 0 avatar
        CRConrad

        Hey, come on, isn’t “It’s very pretty!” still a value proposition?

        Sure, only an aesthetic one (“De gustibus…”), which an ordinary person wouldn’t put too much monetary value on… But you specifically said, “if I was a bazillionaire”.

        Hey, betcha it could help pull leftie pinko whacko librul envirohippie chicks, too — there’s yet another value proposition!

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    The comments about the New York Times and left wing ideology are silly. Is this the kind of thinking that leads to something resembling the truth? On the other hand, perhaps I’m just dense and such statements are really meant to be tongue-in-cheek. At least I hope so.

  • avatar
    henkdevries

    The title should be something like:
    Reporter does stupid test in cold (and fails) and Elon Musk says his cars can beat physics.

    This test states the obvious, to me, and just discredits Tesla. Every battery in every vehicle has these “peculiarities”. Although this might be the sort of truth finding that is necessary for the general public.

    On the other hand Elon Musk shouldn’t deny this deficit. Just face it, it’s an electric car: not as suitable in all conditions as a car with an ICE. Of course what Tesla portrays in the beginning is stupid: an electric vehicle that is as good or better than ICE vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      Bingo. This is one of the driving reasons (no pun intended) why Audi has shelved its pure electric e-tron vehicle plans: the technology just isn’t there yet.

      Sure, it works under *perfect circumstances*, but reality triumphs over the lab and we all know that consumers, on the aggregate, don’t think, act or buy based on what was discovered in the lab or on the track.

      It’s that harsh smack of reality that is going to bring the EV fad back down to earth. Don’t get me wrong, I find this all to be wonderfully neat and I applaud the work being done to advance EVs, but we are simply not at a point where this is a viable transportation option outside of the margins of society.

    • 0 avatar
      tankd0g

      “Reporter tries to use car as a car, car fails at being a car.”

  • avatar
    Eggshen2013

    Electric cars are just not ready for prime time.
    Until there is a major breakthrough in battery technology they never will be.
    The incremental battery improvements we have seen in recent years has not been enough to make EV’s practical.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      For me, the range of the Tesla (the largest battery version) would never be an issue. The furthest I’m going to drive is about 120 mi. I think it’s been at least six years since I’ve ventured further than that in a single day in a car. Any further and I’m flying. I could easily live with a Tesla. I think the bigger issue for most people will be battery prices.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        I also think you might be an outlier, though an EV might well suit you admirably.

        Me, well… I drive a lot more than 120 miles in a day with great regularity, and so do a lot of people I know.

        (Indeed, from here in Portland, 120 miles won’t even get me to Seattle – so that’s a complete 100% deal-breaker. And of course, Vancouver is right out.

        For the hippies that want a “no-fossil” economy, well… push for nuclear power and electrolysis and lots of hydrogen fuel cells, say.

        That would actually *work*.

        Or floating algae farms for biodiesel, if you can convince Greenpeace not to sink them for Killing The Baby Kelp or whatever the hell excuse they’d find to not let you have thousands of square miles of them…)

      • 0 avatar
        tankd0g

        Have you never left your house and realized you didn’t charge your phone the night before? Imagine that’s your car. You could live with it but you’d be doing a lot of planning ahead to make sure you could plug it in literally everywhere you go. If 1/4 of the population were driving these things, it would be a logistical nightmare and a horrible strain on an already antiquated electrical grid in America. So long as these stay toys that only people who don’t actually need to worry about the price of gas, or their car, are buying, we’ll be ok.

  • avatar
    Type57SC

    I’m not sure what the fuss is. It’s pretty understandable that a tester car (so no history to learn driving and consumptions habits) didn’t show the right range in the cold, and that it lost charge in deeply sub-zero temperatures. The Tesla reps called at that mill town charger should have said wait there until the display says X miles rather than guessed at the juice. But the reviewer shouldn’t have left that charging station to drive 80 miles when the range says 49. Even if the Tesla reps tells me that’s okay, I wouldn’t attempt that.

    The author was pretty positive about many aspects and didn’t seem to pile on, so I don’t know what the issue Musk has is, unless the guy left the car idling all night and that’s why it went down to 20 miles capacity.

    Maybe instead of miles, EVs should just show KWhs and a range of miles, but focus the driver on learning their own approximation of range much like people in ICE powered cars did for decades before the luxury cars started putting range estimaters in trip computers.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      “Maybe instead of miles, EVs should just show KWhs and a range of miles…”

      Good idea. Let me know how that works for your wife, mom, or girlfriend. Seriously, do you think anybody but an engineer will be able to figure out how many KWhs it takes to get to and from the mall?

      Electric cars are not ready for the mass market. Maybe someday, but we are nowhere near that time.

      • 0 avatar
        stryker1

        +1
        If you need to have an engineering degree to own this car, you shouldn’t own this car.

      • 0 avatar
        Type57SC

        It seems like the gas gauge works and doesn’t require an engineering degree. The power remaining in the usable portion of the battery is your EV fuel. I hear that it would be less predictable than a gas gauge but it would also give people a real sense of control seing the bars (or actual usable # of KWhs) go down fast in the cold, and go down slowly when crawling around downtown in 60 degree weather.

        So yes, I would have no problem with the women in my life having to learn their range in the car they drive every day. I wouldn’t use an EV for city to city trips at this stage, but they seem ready for the mass market as a car for commuting and city travel with the back up of rental cars or second cars for longer distance stuff.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Some engineers might enjoy the collaborative nature of completing a trip successfully in a Tesla. Other engineers might admire good engineering instead. I know which type of engineer’s work I’d rather rely on.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        People who are interested in being beta testers for electric cars are exactly engineers.

        This isn’t a car for wives, mothers, or girlfriends. Why do you insist on dumbing it down for them as if it were?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Wow Dan. Is there a prize for most sexist post that I’m unaware of?

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        Keep in mind that this whole story was based around a PLANNED excursion. What happens when you come home from your commute and your kid misses his carpool ride/requires stitches/has to get to soccer practice…any your car is almost out out of juice?

        Do you tell you bleeding kid to wait an hour (or 9) for the car to charge up? Sorry but you’ll have to miss the game because our car can’t really move?

        Normally the people who put up with unreliable cars are people who are poor and don’t have better alternatives. Most people try to own the most reliable transportation they can afford. Electric cars pretty much turn that notion upside down.

        Anybody (in a real life family) who would put up with the unreliability of an electric car is a little odd; anybody who thinks their significant other would put up with that is probably destined to be very single for a very long time.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        “Do you tell you bleeding kid to wait an hour (or 9) for the car to charge up?”

        Seriously, why do some people come up with the dumbest examples possible when trying to find to poorly justify why a particular vehicle doesn’t meet their lifestyle? “If I put a bleeding kid in my stupid example, maybe it’ll sound more reasonable…”

        If your kid is bleeding, and you’re some distance away, if it’s really bad enough, shouldn’t the kid be riding an ambulance? Or maybe you should have been supervising him/her so he/she didn’t get injured? But no, clearly, you should choose your car based on the fact that your kid might be bleeding 20 minutes away from you by car, and you’re the only one who is going to be capable of taking that kid to the ER.

        The reality is that people who can afford it almost always over-compensate for edge cases that rarely come up. The “what ifs” mean that some people buy pickup trucks for the 2 days a year they need a pickup, or a bigger SUV for that 1 ski trip/year. Some of these scenarios are simply fabricated, and the others could easily be dealt with more cost-effectively by renting/borrowing.

      • 0 avatar
        oldfatandrich

        So simply put and so correct.

      • 0 avatar
        RJM

        My wife I have a Nissan Leaf, and two ICE vehicles, we also have two teen-aged sons; the older has a driver’s license (3 licenses in the family). The Leaf’s display panel makes wild guesses about remaining range that need to be ignored. Typically I can drop from an estimated 76 miles to 57 miles driving the 5 miles up hill to work. Making the reverse trip rarely causes the range to drop a single mile.
        It also has a display of 12 (?) bars similar in appearance to the gas gauge in my 10-year-old minivan with 170K miles and my Prius with 70K miles.
        In addition there is a rim of 12 bar tips to show the total capacity of the battery. Decrease from 12 to 9 or 10 is what the Phoenix hue and cry is about.
        My wife doesn’t like the Leaf, too constraining on impromptu side trips & she has a hard time estimating range -> range anxiety borders on panic, so she drives the Prius. I love the Leaf, because I am the one who has to pay for all the gasoline (traditional “Leave it to Beaver” family, wife looks after the home front, I go out of the home to earn the cash, and the two sons are busy having crises at school or with friends). However, I bicycle or take the bus to work, leaving the sons to drive it the 15 miles to school. If they need to go farther, they take the mini-van, otherwise, we are making it last a long time for taking groups of people or pulling the pop-top trailer.
        The Prius gets used for out of town work trips, with the van substituting for the wife’s needs.
        Perhaps it is heresy on a Car-Afficianado site, but we thus manage to burn less than a gallon of gasoline on a typical day. (For the nay-sayers, about the amount of electricity used, I travel about 4 miles per kWh, and it is estimated producing a gallon of gas requires 6-8 kWh of electricity — I can travel 24-32 miles on the amount of electricity required to make a gallon of gas).

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    You cannot change the laws of physics.

    Batteries don’t like temperature extremes. Batteries lose their oompf as it gets colder. This is really simple stuff.

    Electric cars are going to have issues in extreme climates, whether it be rapidly deteriorating batteries in Phoenix based Leaves (wouldn’t that be the plural of Leaf) or a Tesla S gasping for power after being parked outside in bitter cold air.

    Even if the story is a 100% complete fake. Lets give Elon all benefit of the doubt (undeserved given his track record in these sort of situations – hello Top Gear). It highlights the biggest short coming of electric cars. Fifty minute charge times (don’t be pedantic I read 49 minutes) and inability to take “detours” out of fear of a dead battery remain the fatal flaw.

    The more and more and more that comes out, it seems that Chevrolet and Toyota (and coming soon Ford) with their plug-in vehicles got it closer to right.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Engineers from the Mediterranean climate of California are likely to underestimate the impact of weather.

      For instance, the first generation of The Nest thermostat went on sale nationally without support for two-stage HVAC systems. From my place in the middle of the Midwest, that’s a laughably naive mistake that only Californians and Floridians could make.

      I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tesla make some mistakes WRT weatherability of their cars, because Silicon Valley really is located in a meteorological paradise. Fortunately, one of the hallmarks of the silicon valley engineering culture is to learn from your mistakes, and fast. I bet Tesla will put up a supercharger stations at a narrower interval on I-95 “right quick”.

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        >>Engineers from the Mediterranean climate of California are likely to underestimate the impact of weather.

        One solution, at least when using NAV to plan a long trip, is to have the car’s computer get the route’s weather and prevailing temperatures. The power gauge can then factor that in and give a better reading.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “Engineers from the Mediterranean climate of California are likely to underestimate the impact of weather.”

        Mr. Musk and the senior management team have a vested interest in making exaggerated claims about their product. That would be true, no matter what the weather is like.

        At some point, Musk will need to find a buyer for the company, otherwise it’s going to fail due to a lack of positive cash flow. Since the technological limitations of batteries are beyond his control, he hopes to offset those deficiencies by, well, ignoring them.

        It’s an interesting business case. He had better hope that an existing automaker that has a desire to dabble in EVs such as TMC buys the company, as the operations alone don’t provide a compelling reason to acquire it.

      • 0 avatar
        hf_auto

        One big difference between a Nest and a Model S- cold and hot weather testing is a fundamental portion of vehicle development, it’s as basic as crash testing. There’s little doubt that this car has seen sub-zero testing under Tesla’s watch.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @hf_auto:

        Testing, yes. Living with the weather, no.

        I’m pro-EV and pro-Tesla. I hope to replace my Sienna with a Model X one day.

        But, I work for a dot-com that has its headquarters in silicon valley, and this is something that my company messes up too. The Californians just don’t understand winter weather in a personal way, and I have to point out naive mistakes in our software that are blindingly obvious to anyone in a place with actual seasons. I defer to the Californians about earthquakes and traffic, but they’re likely to make mistakes when it comes to winterization – because they’re deriving the issues and solutions from 1st principles and lab tests, rather than this morning’s commute. But the Silicon Valley engineering culture respects mistakes that teach us how to do things better, so they’ll get it eventually – and probably sooner rather than later, now that the big boss is making it a priority.

        In the meantime, expect to see some supercharger stations added to the map and some battery/powertrain/HVAC engineers burning the midnight LEDs over at Tesla HQ.

        I look forward to buying a Tesla Model X, or better yet, a Tesla Minivan when my rising income meets their move-downmarket-one-step-at-a-time strategy some time in the next few years!

      • 0 avatar
        RJM

        As far as exagerating performance to improve sales. I would think he would be ahead to follow the old maxim: “Under promise and Over perform”. One story such as this or word of mouth from one stranded BEV motorist counters the benefit of many thousands of advertising dollars.
        Nissan is bad at this, the charging and range portion of their Leaf web site has the bold statement “Driving entirely around the island of Oahu is about 92 miles. You can get around the whole island on one charge” Anyone taking that at face value and purchasing a Leaf to commute to a job 40 miles away is going to get stranded and tell everyone what a POS the car is. On the other hand, someone saying they use the car for daily commute of 20 miles each way, and spends $5 per week on electricity (200 miles @ 4 miles/kWh and 10c per kWh) is going to be an enthusiastic advocate (as am I).

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “As far as exagerating performance to improve sales. I would think he would be ahead to follow the old maxim: ‘Under promise and Over perform’”

        I think that he’s less interested in making a mass market product than he is in making a business that can be flipped (or, in this case, flipped again, if you count the IPO.)

        In that sense, it looks like a typical tech startup. Tech companies have a tendency of selling hardware and software before all of the bugs have been worked out, lest they be left behind by their competitors. In tech, it’s better to be first than to be perfect.

        Meanwhile, Tesla is on track to run out of cash. But to sell off the business (presumably to a larger automaker), Musk doesn’t need to make a profit, so much as he needs to build a reasonable brand, plus R&D that has credibility. If there are enough customers to create the impression that the company has some sort of critical mass, that appearance of hope for the future might be enough.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    Musk’s accusations about the report are almost more damning for the car than the report itself.
    screaming something like “You didn’t keep in mind the daunting list of provisos and asterisks that you need to know about if you intend to drive this car! Of course you’d be screwed if you forgot to plug it in overnight on cold evenings, or if you had to change your route even a little bit, or drive at highway speed, etc…!” doesn’t seem like great marketing.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Agreed.

      During my IT career, I’ve moved from wearing RTFM shirts to trying to make things so blindingly obvious through good design that someone with a 70 IQ can’t miss it.

      So it is with the car. Musk is probably right, but normal people don’t know and don’t care. And, so, catering to people who will never learn the basica is now an engineering constraint and the car needs to deal with it.

      I want an electric car, and am prepared to live with the limitations. But the limitations are real. The Leaf is a 46 mile car in real life: the EPA mileage is 72 miles, the recommended maximum daily charge in the owner’s manual 80% (57 miles) minus another 20% for weather and the unexpected (46 miles). That will work for my personal needs, and I really loved driving the Leaf with its awesome NVH and amusement park takeoff-power. But we’ve got to be realistic about big purchases, and I don’t yet have $30k to spend on a car merely because I like it.

    • 0 avatar
      RJM

      Many of the respondants have a classic car, or a big truck that they don’t want to run into the grounc,. If you have the BEV as your daily driver, but also have a fun car, you have a solution. The un-charged BEV gets left at home and you drive the fun car to work. Same if you need to take a long trip – pretend it is the weekend and take the fun car.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Broder, you wimp. Real men don’t need heaters in their cars.
    Just kidding. Starting at $61K, I would expect a model S to have a small thorium, nuclear powered back up generator. Then you could have power and heat galore. OK maybe that’s too much to ask for the first generation model. How about a propane powered battery and interior heater for these conditions.

  • avatar

    The Fisker Karma included a solar roof to assist the air conditioner on top of the gas generator. I’d like someone to invent a lightweight solar panoramic roof – that would help the Tesla immensely.

    Still, a battery can lose 80% of its efficiency in winter due to the fact so many accesories are being used and it’s not getting fully charged during regen braking. This was INEVITABLE.

    • 0 avatar
      TecnamTwin

      No it wasn’t. Several Tesla owners have successfully done this trip recently.

    • 0 avatar
      mklrivpwner

      They already have. It’s not in a commercial application but a micro-thin solar panel has been in existence for years and could be applied as a simple “tinting” on a panoramic roof.
      The costs are currently preventative, as they are 3 times as expensive and less than 30% as effective as compared to regular solar panels (which are notoriusly inefficient to begin with).
      Not to mention the constant fight against road salt in Winter (when you’d need the solar regen most).

    • 0 avatar
      nonce

      A solar panel covering 7 square meters (assuming you put it on all your windows) will generate 2.1 Kilowatts under ideal conditions. That is, noon-time, no shade, best solar panels known to man.

      Over the course of a day, Broder’s car will be hit with 21KWh of sunlight. With 30% efficiency that about 6.3KWh, at 10% that will be 2.1KWh, enough to drive — about 10 miles.

  • avatar
    rushn

    That’s a whole lot of comments with resounding finality before either side presented all arguments/counter-arguments. Ahh, the joy of knowing it all from one’s toilet sit with a laptop on your lap.

  • avatar
    David Hester

    Even if there was a rapid charging station added to every gasoline station in the country, requiring an hour to fully recharge the car is simply not acceptable. Until the technology advances to the point that the batteries can be fully charged in under 15 minutes, the EV will be relegated to second car status at best for the vast majority of consumers. They are just not practical as an alternative to an ICE powered car or “regular” hybrid. Normal people don’t have time sit and twiddle their thumbs for an hour waiting for their car to juice up so they can continue on to work. Normal consumers don’t need the hassle of “range anxiety” when they come home late one night and forget to plug in their EV to trickle charge while they slept. They are not going to have patience when they come out to a car on a cold morning that they left the night before with a 75% charge to find that low temperatures have drained the battery to the point that they can’t even make it to the next charging station. Until the technology catches up to the efficencies of the good old ICE, EVs will be a novelty.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      What you’re missing is that EVs start the day with a full battery. You plug in at home with an L2 charger most of the time.

      The only time you need to wait an hour is during a road trip.

      If the chargers are somewhere worth spending an hour (coffee shop, playground, mini golf, roadside attraction, etc), then road-tripping becomes fun again. Now that I travel with a wife and kid, I’m totally up for stopping an hour every couple of hundred miles. It’s already required for the sake of sanity and diapers, so I’d like to do it somewhere more kid friendly than a gas station. This is a non-issue for me – and it could actually improve family travel.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    We obviously dont know the whole story and probably never will. I don’t know this reporter or if he has any type of ethics. He maybe just doing a carbon copy of our friend from the Detroit news paper. I dont know Musk (don’t care too). I would say that I will just believe the black-box but just like statistics the author can get them to say anything that he or she desires that would cover their ass and prove their point. If you guys are right about the car then you are right, however it seems to be several commentators are jumping the gun on this one.
    All of you are correct concerning the battery tech and cold weather ( my 8 year old knows that). Like I said I dont trust the car company nor the driver (he probably did something stupid as well). If he is telling the truth then I will gladly eat crow (grilled not fried, cutting back yeah know). I really hope the truth comes out. I am curious about this one. I am not into EV’s but would love to know what really happened. Besides I am still holding out for a Mazda diesel/hybrid CX9.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    With all the EV drivers stopping for an hour snack every time the car needs charging, the obesity rate will skyrocket. Which means the cars will have shorter range pulling around their heavier owners, which means more stops to charge, which means…

  • avatar
    fredtal

    I don’t believe any of this from any one. Please send the car to me and let me see if I can get to work and back on a single charge. 65 miles average over 50mph

  • avatar

    None of this would matter if people didn’t take everything at face value. Unfortunately, the first bit of information a consumer comes across is often what determines his/her purchase. “The Model-S doesn’t get good range in cold weather? Ooh…that isn’t good. I’d better go get that Karma instead.” If people actually weighed these articles for what they are (single pieces in a sea of information), they’d quickly see the reality and Mister Musk wouldn’t feel so compelled to defend his baby. The truth would speak for itself.

    Ah, well…

  • avatar
    TecnamTwin

    APaGttH:

    So Tesla isn’t perfect right now; so I’m not even going to consider electric car’s ready for prime-time. Non sequitur.

    The question remains, did he really want to make it to his destination?

    Do you really think owners would drive their car like this journalist did? It appears that he really didn’t want to do what was necessary to make it.

    It does take almost an hour to get a full charge vs going to a gas station, but it’s free. Model S owners don’t seem to mind too much. It’s worth it because they won’t be using Superchargers that often. Most of the time they will drive to work plug in when they get home.

    Tesla is building more Superchargers and adding chargers to the existing ones when they get busy.

    Tesla has already stated that the 300 miles was achieved using the EPA 2-cycle or at a steady speed of 55mph. The EPA rated it at 265 which is typical of normal freeway driving. During the winter, range is decreased, and that is common knowledge that batteries capacities are reduced when they are cold.
    The EPA already says that a gas burner’s mileage can be reduced by as much as 33% due to various factors. I haven’t seen any articles about this subject. Have you?

    It is a lie to insinuate that Tesla says the Model S can do 300 miles on a charge, no caveats.

    Many hotels are installing dedicated EV chargers in their parking lots and garages.

    The Gallons of Light commercial shows what a road trip could be. No other car can do what the Tesla can do which is travel vast distances for free on the power of sunlight. Besides, why would you take a road trip and not plan your route? The producer of Gallons of Light said that he did not have the latest camera equipment used in blockbusters, but he did a great job with the nice camera equipment that he had.

    It took almost 50 years for gasoline infrastructure to come close current levels. Do you really expect Tesla Motors to have already blanketed the country with Superchargers? It takes time for an entire infrastructure to be put into place, but it is happening.

    The status quo needs to change, and Tesla is the right company to do it. They don’t have everything perfect, and they don’t have to. They just need to make it great and they have, which is why the Model S is selling quite well.

    While it is true that you can buy some comparable luxury cars for less or buy used, that’s totally missing the point. The Tesla Model S is an awesome car as confirmed by so many glowing reviews. It’s not really about saving money though you would if you bought an E63 AMG (vs the Model S Performance).

    People buy it because of what it is and because of what it stands for. It is all about American innovation, freedom, economy, national security, the ability to power you car from renewables, driving past gas stations, the adrenaline rush from seamless, uninterrupted power and acceleration, quietness, great handling, great suspension, absolute gorgeousness, lots of storage space, a 17″ touchscreen, no hump in the rear floor, a frunk, etc.

    That is worth investing in.

    • 0 avatar
      carlos.negros

      Taking a trip in an EV requires planning and common sense.
      1) Always fully charge if there is any question about battery reserve in cold weather
      2) Find a hotel with indoor parking if the temperature is going to drop below 5 degrees. Plus the car in to a trickle charger when you park it overnight in the cold to allow the batter heater to operate
      3)Never use ebrake if snowy out and parking overnight outside
      4)Don’t go by the miles left on the computer readout but by the number of bars left on the battery.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Having driven my Leaf since late September, I’m learning the nuances of ‘range’.

    Nobody – nobody – should plan a trip that is close to the reported range.

    My car is still young (3k miles), but I have NOT noticed any range bleeding away while it sits in the cold of western PA. What I have noticed is that the use of climate control reduces range, but speed affects it the most.

    The Leaf’s range seems to be optimized for 45 mph. In addition, there is an “ECO” setting which adds 10% to the reported range, but also reduces the HVAC draw to 1-1.5 kW, rather than 5 kW. When your average power consumption is 10 kW, that’s a big deal. ECO mode also deadens the throttle response, but it doesn’t reduce available power. Also, downhills repay most of what uphills take from the battery.

    Early on, I made an Apollo 13-esque trip in the Leaf due to my foolish planning. EV drivers should plan well, and I am learning how to do this.

    As for Mr. Musk, I have a great deal of respect for him and Tesla. If his claim is true, we’ll know soon enough when he releases the data.

    However, until EVs can be filled quickly, they’ll never go mainstream. EVs are like chainsaws – they’re no good in the hands of the careless.

  • avatar
    mrcool1122

    People like to complain about how long it takes to charge the battery from zero. But one hardly ever runs down the battery to zero. I start every morning with a full charge, drive to work and around town, and still have more than 50% remaining. Plug it in at night, charged, done. And even when I do drive farther (LA to Santa Barbara or San Diego), it’s still not an issue. You forget how much time of your day is spent NOT in the car and, unlike a gas car, you can add charge to the battery anytime you’re not moving. It’s a different mentality than a gas car, where you have a tank of gas and you drive it down to near empty and fill it up again– it’s a constant topping up. Which has worked in my existing lifestyle perfectly. Sure, this isn’t the car for someone living on a farm in South Dakota. But I personally wasn’t going to buy a car based on the 2% of my time that I spend doing extremely long road trips.

  • avatar
    360joules

    Even on the back of the truck it looks good! My neighbor has a Volt (on an omigosh-GM-was-panicking-giveaway lease) and was chuckling about this article. He gets compliments about his Volt at work a lot (his employer is a computer component mfgr that rhymes with K-Tel). He religiously charges his Volt. He has (two!) backup minivans- wife drives one, kid drives other. He has to periodically plan to halt the charge cycle on his Volt to keep his gasoline fresh in the tank. The mental block to him Volt vs. Tesla (the car bought vs the car he wanted) was, “What if….I flaked & failed to charge….there was a storm or naturally disaster….I was caught in an unusually bad traffic jam…” He wanted & could afford Tesla. The cheap financing was icing on the cake for someone who easily could be rolling in a Tesla. He lives in a temperate part of the Left Coast which rarely goes below 40 degrees F. When I worked in sales I read Selling Retail (I have been told self-help books are an American phenomenon) & learned about FUDs = fears, unknowns, doubts. Tesla was mentally removed from his sales list before a skilled auto salesman could peel away his FUDs to “Yes.”

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Ummmm…he should read his owner’s manual. The Volt will eventually cycle the engine full charge or not and do a forced burn of the gasoline so that as you noted, it is kept fresh in the tank. I seem to remember reading that even if you are 100% EV driving a Volt, the gasoline will be cycled through in roughly 10K to 12K miles of driving.

  • avatar
    blowfish

    After that, he drove to a hotel where he did not plug it in.

    he was digging his own grave, i would have plugged her in even for few hrs, he spend the night there, so he’s pretty brilliant as to left the plug out!

    he may be writing for NYT but he ain’t exactly too swift.

    • 0 avatar
      E46M3_333

      How do you know the hotel had an outlet he could park near and charge with? I could see him asking the desk clerk for a 100 foot extension cord, and then snaking it through the hotel front door for the night.

      Tesla needs to make a towable diesel generator for long trips.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      A 110 VAC wall socket only recharges my Leaf from 4-8 miles per hour. The Tesla’s recharge mileage is probably even less, since its motors consume more energy.

      I wouldn’t count on a hotel having a handy outdoor plug for patrons to use.

  • avatar
    madcynic

    All of these “He should have…” comments fail to miss the point of the review. It is not a review of the Tesla S as an electric car. It is not a review of the Tesla S as a dily driver.
    It is a review of the Tesla S as the no-compromise car. And as such, it concludes that the Tesla simply doesn’t make good on the promise that it can be handled just as you would a normal car.
    Granted, there are things you should and could do re: handling an electric car that differ from that of handling the classic gas/diesel driven vehicle. But as long as this is the case, electric cars will never find the kind of acceptance the combustion-engine-driven ones have – or even the acceptance level of hybrids.
    Personally, I believe hybrids are more of a way forward than Tesla with its infrastructure and *time* requirements.

    • 0 avatar
      TecnamTwin

      It is a different animal with different characteristics. It should not be used the same way because it is not the same.
      The only time you would really notice a difference is during a long road trip. What about all the gas you waste driving a gas burner you keep because of that road trip you take twice a year?

      An EV is more suited to city driving than a gasoline-powered car is. Do you know what most people do? They drive in the city. EVs have the potential to overtake gas-burning cars if only more people will take test drives. Actually seeing, feeling, driving, and hearing from actual owners changes people’s minds.

      High performance EVs such as Tesla’s vehicles also hasten the public’s acceptance of electrification. Their prime time is not right now, but in the near future.

      This is far from typical Model S owner’s use. This is a malicious caricature that has damaged Tesla Motor’s reputation.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        If you are associated with Tesla or an affiliated company, then you ought to disclose it.

      • 0 avatar
        madcynic

        Please remember that Tesla offered the car, knowing the basics of the test drive to be undertaken. Please also note that the test driver claims he was not advised to do all the stuff you claim “he should have” done.
        Tesla knew the parameters of the test. Tesla knew the weather conditions. Yet Tesla let the test go ahead, the car failed. Miserably. Deal with it.

        On a different note, I notice Tesla is expanding to Europe in 2013. Welcome to the German Autobahn. I expect lots of of trouble in that department. It will really be interesting to see a “performance car” that probably cannot make the trip from my home town to Berlin and back (i.e. about 215 miles), unless you drive in a manner that is not typical for a performance car.
        I believe the average German would try that distance at about 100 mph if told he was driving a performance car…

      • 0 avatar
        CRConrad

        This was a road trip. It was intended to test whethere the Tesla could be used — is _usable_ — for road trips.

        A) Do you think he lied to Tesla in order to get to do this test, perhaps claiming he was going to test it urban NYC use, or were they aware that it was going to be tested for usability on a road trip?

        B) Since you are presumably not of the opinion that this test was succesful, do you think that all the caveats you, mr Musk, and your fellow evangelists among the posters here are proposing — “keep it plug in until it says ’100%’!”; “plug it in overnight at the hotel!”, etc — are apt to make it seem _more_ useable for road trips, or less?

        C) Does it say anywhere that he is obligated to replicate “typical Model S owner’s use”? (cf. Question A.)

        D) Are you the least bit aware that you’re coming off as a raving fan-boi here, spittle flying with your “malicious caricature” (etc, etc blah blah) twaddle?

        If anything has damaged Tesla Motor’s reputation, it’s mr Musk’s behaviour… And yours, and that of your whole ilk of foaming-at-the-mouth rabid fanatics.

        “Yeah, it’s too bad it’s not quite up to that yet”, FROM THE START, would have been the appropriate response. (Not any more, though; too late for that now.)

    • 0 avatar
      TecnamTwin

      Your cell phone is different than your home phone. Or have you gotten rid of it yet? When the cellphone first came out, they were not designed to recreate the experience of calling on a land line. They were different and their usage was different.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      “…it concludes that the Tesla simply doesn’t make good on the promise that it can be handled just as you would a normal car.”

      What? Tesla makes no such ‘promise’ that I’m aware of. No EV buyer would expect this.

      ‘No compromise’ is the goal of EV technology, but nobody makes this promise.

      It doesn’t prove much to declare an apple a failure when it must be handled like an orange.

      • 0 avatar
        nonce

        Tesla says you can use the Model S in the cold and that you aren’t required to plug it in. It seems a fair threshold to hold them to do what they say their product can do.

        It feels like their marketing guys got ahead of the engineering guys. They’ll probably figure out how to handle cold-weather losses in a later version. That doesn’t mean that Musk gets to call the review fake, though.

      • 0 avatar
        nonce

        by “you aren’t required to plug it in” was meant “you aren’t required to plug it in every single night.”

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        @nonce: Per my comments above, my Leaf (4 months old) doesn’t seem to lose any range just sitting parked in the cold.

        But the Leaf’s battery is not the same as the gazillion “18650″ cells used in the Model S. If a Tesla is losing range just by sitting there, that’s troubling. Maybe its climate control timer was enabled, which would consume power?

  • avatar
    Cjmadura

    I love my Motorcycles

  • avatar
    cargogh

    If you’ve read the Times this morning, and I guess it is ON.

  • avatar
    nonce

    Musk’s detailed response with data is here. http://www.teslamotors.com/blog/most-peculiar-test-drive

    I haven’t had the chance to devour it yet.

    • 0 avatar
      james2k

      Unless Tesla is making up the log data, John Broder needs to be fired and the NY Times needs to issue an apology.

      • 0 avatar
        1000songs

        I am not a Tesla-fanboi. In fact, I have, at various times, proclaimed Tesla to be a pyramid scheme. And I have very, very serious doubts about Tesla’s ability to survive without billions of dollars of backing.

        That said, it would appear that John Broder is a lying sack of sh!t and, quite possibly, one of the dumbest lying sacks of sh!t around. Elon has the data, and he knows how to use it.

        Tesla 1, NY Times -1000

  • avatar
    nikita

    The point about plugging it in for the purpose of heating the batteries in cold weather is not an unknown requirement for ICE-powered cars just a few decades ago, well beyond the early adopter stage. 5W-20 motor oil and glycol-based antifreeze did not exist until well after WWII. In the 1970′s my GF was plugging in the oil pan heater so that her VW would start in the morning. Chevy had a plug in block heater as a factory option back then.

  • avatar

    This is looking pretty interesting:

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

    D

    • 0 avatar
      cackalacka

      yeah, the real story hear is that post, as well as Broder’s rebuttal:

      http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/12/the-charges-are-flying-over-a-test-of-teslas-charging-network/?ref=johnmbroder

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        There seems to be some disagreement with Tesla’s interpretation of the data. The detour that Musk made such a big deal over was a stop before leaving the city to pick up a passenger. That’s the sort of thing that most cars allow one to take for granted.

        http://www.theatlanticwire.com/technology/2013/02/elon-musks-data-doesnt-back-his-claims-new-york-times-fakery/62149/

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      I like Musk’s response. It’s a good example of how some people will use the appearance of a data dump in order to obfuscate.

      Let’s consider the essence of what Musk is complaining about:

      -Broder spent a good 100+ miles driving 60 mph on an interstate, versus the 54 mph that he claimed to be driving

      -Broder had the gall and audacity to drive at speeds of 65-75 mph on an interstate. He even hit 80+ mph for maybe a whole minute!

      -In a display of cowardice, Broder used his heater while driving through the Northeast in wintertime.

      -Furthermore, Broder was such a nasty person that he actually stopped in Manhattan

      -Broder parked the car overnight without plugging it in

      This Broder guy sounds horrible. Everyone knows that a nice, new car should be driven on interstates at the minimum speed, and that nobody should rely on roadway charging stations in order to get to one’s destination.

      The car (or the guy who wants you to buy one) obviously has needs and feelings, and we should be rearranging our lives around the car, er, Mr. Musk. How rude of any of us to do otherwise.

      • 0 avatar
        rushn

        The point is that Broader’s account does not match what actually happened. Of course, it’s more fun to poke at limitations of the car than integrity of a journalist.

        • 0 avatar
          CRConrad

          No, the point was that Broder’s account actually quite closely matches what even Musk’s slant on the data shows, and where his behaviour differs it’s still not very hard on the car, and not in the least unreasonable.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The point is that Mr. Musk wants to claim that the car has real world usability that it doesn’t have.

        I’m sorry, but it’s simply laughable to get indignant that Broder was driving 60 mph instead of 54 mph. You’d have to be a nitpicker or a dupe to possibly give Musk any credibility points for that.

        Personally, I drive on interstates at speeds well above 54 or 60 mph. The idea that I need to slow down for the sake of Elon Musk’s fragile ego and his even more fragile business model sounds like a bad joke.

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        CNN is attempting to do the same route, although the weather won’t be as cold as Broder’s run. So far so good… they are doing fine. Other Tesla owners (in Tesla forums) report that they have already achieved real world usability with the car.

        The question is did Broder approach this experiment fairly? The data dump has some holes, but so does Broder’s account.

  • avatar
    cargogh

    Perhaps Broder had a head injury or a big change of heart and is currently sacrificing himself to prove the Tesla’s range through the data he had to have known was available to the company.
    Way to go, Broder, with your scheme to get triple coverage of how great you think the Tesla is.

  • avatar
    nonce

    And now the NYT has their latest response: http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/14/that-tesla-data-what-it-says-and-what-it-doesnt/

  • avatar
    sbunny8

    If you ride a bus for ten miles, you better plan on waiting a while at the station to catch the right bus back home. If you pedal a bicycle for 10 miles you better think about how tired you will feel before you have to pedal 10 miles back. If you ride a motorcycle 10 miles you better think about whether it will be too cold or rainy for you to safely ride 10 miles back. Similar planning applies to EVs.

    It seems to me that we have gotten spoiled by the idea that we should be able to go anywhere on a whim and get there at 75mph. If that’s your reference point, you probably shouldn’t buy an EV. But if you are used to things like buses, taxis, trains, bicycles, motorcycles, and you consider an EV in that context, you can think about the advantages and disadvantages and decide if it works for your situation.

    If, like me, you almost never drive more than 40 miles in one day, and you’re willing to make other arrangements on those rare occasions that you need to go farther, such as taking the bus or renting an ICE car, then an EV might work for you.


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