Quoted: Elon Musk goes to Tesla Model S logs in fight against New York Times article

“We were played for a fool and as a result, let down the cause of electric vehicles. For that, I am deeply sorry.”

Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, in a blog post that disputes a recent account of a road trip in a Model S sedan by New York Times reporter John Broder. Broder described a cold, nightmarish East Coast trip during which he said the electric vehicle failed to live up to its expected range and ended up having to be towed. (See Quoted: not so charged up about the Tesla Model S and CEOs and drama…) As the Merc’s Dana Hull reports, heat management inside batteries is key to their performance. In Musk’s blog post, which he says is based on the logs of the Model S driven by Broder, the CEO says the reporter claimed to have turned the heat down when “he in fact turned the temperature up to 74 F.” Musk also writes, “our highest per capita sales are in Norway, where customers drive our cars during Arctic winters in permanent midnight.” The apparently all-seeing logs show that Broder “never” set the cruise control to 54 miles per hour, as the reporter wrote, and ignored the Silicon Valley automaker’s advice about fully charging the battery, Musk said in his post. He accuses Broder of “outright disdain for electric cars,” and asks the NYT to investigate the veracity of the article.


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  • RedRat

    But still, electric vehicle are not meant for long distance cruising. In reality they are meant for commute distances of a RT of about 40 miles. When you get back home, you have to recharge the battery, which can take several hours depending on your home setup. If all you do are short trips to the store, some shopping at the mall, an electric car will do fine. But I certainly would not contemplate taking a trip of over 50 miles, especially with the lack of recharging stations. Musk and others must face the fact that electric vehicle have limitation and don’t work for everyone. I think he is right here in that the reporter pushed the car over its limits perhaps. Musk has the data logger on his side it seems.


    RedRat — the Tesla has a 300 mile range. Not sure how you can say it’s not meant for long-range cruising.

  • Wisdom Would be Welcome

    This whole story is a contemporary example of just how new accomplishments are derided with attempt to push them right off the map.

    Appreciation indeed to Elon Musk and his company for building such a remarkable step into the real future.

    The example of Tesla cars used in Norway is a great one: the winters are a much more challenging environment than a tootle up the East Coast.

    The reporter should be utterly ashamed of himself if the situation is as it seems, for indications of bias against a future, and for a tale told apparently as a dramatic lie.

    Indeed the NY Times should look carefully into what he has done, either to clear it, or to put a cold stop to this kind of propaganda.

  • Chuck Karish

    When a customer doesn’t understand how your product works and expresses frustration that it doesn’t meet his expectations, it’s not a great idea to call him a liar and to publish a half-baked attack on him.

    This is one of the cases where the customer is always right. If he can’t figure out how to use the product properly, it’s the vendors fault. No excuses.

  • RedRat

    As in all things, manufacturing claims of potential mileage on these cars may sometimes be given out with more regard to looking good, then telling the truth. I read the article and it did appear that the writer had some problems out of the starting gate. I would hope that the NYTimes investigates what exactly the writer did or did not do.

    My original comment about typical electrical cars, not top of the line Teslas that have costs that push, if not exceed $100K, but are typical of Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, and Ford’s vehicles, still stands. Most of these pure electrics are more useful for short commuter trips not extensive cruising. You are informed about that going in. Not all electrics are going to be used under optimal conditions, e.g., cold weather driving, availability of charging stations, etc. Frankly, for most average Americans who want to save fuel, I think the hybrids are the way to go. These help to reduce the anxiety of recharging and gas stations are plentiful. I think the future is with the hybrids.

  • dermbuilder

    Ultimately, I think the best idea would be to scrap the whole concept of the automobile as we know it and to go with robotic vehicles that have no manual controls, and ride on electrified rails. It is a little known fact that the majority of the energy used by today’s vehicles is wasted by the rubber tires, not lost to air resistance or other factors. Get rid of the rubber tires and vehicles will use less than half as much energy.

    Also robotic vehicles would eliminate the problems of driving while intoxicated, inattentive driving because of texting, and transportation of people with physical handicaps including blindness, as well as those unable to drive due to age, both too old, and too young.

    Electrified rails would eliminate all battery problems, and contrary to common belief, safe low voltages could be used. Also, ultralight rail systems could be built for a small fraction of the current cost of constructing highways. Also rails are more practical than having vehicles steer themselves, especially in areas where snow and ice are a problem. When was the last time you heard of a train hitting a patch of ice and skidding into a ditch.