Tesla uses data to refute New York Times report
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk says data don’t lie. He’s using information from a Model S loaned to New York Times writer John M. Broder to dispute a report the electric sedan didn’t deliver enough driving range to take advantage of Tesla’s Supercharger stations in the Northeast.
Broder’s report, published Feb. 8 and which you can read here, chronicles his drive from Washington, D.C. to Groton, Conn., a trip of some 350 miles.
On paper the drive looked possible due to the estimated 265-mile range of the Model S with an 85-kilowatt-hour battery and two recently opened 480-volt rapid recharge stations that could take the Model S battery pack to full charge in about one hour.
Yet Broder reported a cold-weather trip fraught with range anxiety, faster-than-expected drop in battery charge levels and ultimately a powerless car that had to be towed to a recharge station — all an indictment of electric vehicle technology and capabilities.
Musk’s immediate response after the story was published was to brand it as “fake” in a comment on Twitter, as the report prompted a drop in Tesla’s stock price. The newspaper stood by its report.
Now Musk has laid out his case, using the data logged by the test car. In a post on the blog at the Tesla Motors website, Musk says Broder “did not accurately capture what happens and worked very hard to force our car to stop running.”
Musk says data from the car shows:
– The car never ran out of power.
– Broder did not recharge the car long enough to have enough range for legs of his trip.
– The reporter drove past available public charging stations despite the warning that the car was low on power.
– Broder drove faster than what he reported, which drains the battery quicker, and did not dial back the heating control.
– That Broder appeared to try and completely drain the Model S battery by driving around a parking lot for more than half a mile.
The blog post includes five charts of data Musk says came from the Model S that Broder drove.
Musk says Tesla has logged data from cars loaned to media for test drives since late 2008, after the popular U.K. TV show “Top Gear” showed two Tesla Roadsters that supposedly ran out of power after 55 miles and had to be pushed off the track. The show’s producers later admitted that the scene of the car being pushed had been staged “in order to show what would happen if the Roadster had run out of charge.”
In the blog, Musk says: “The logs show again that our Model S never had a chance with John Broder.”
Tesla says it won’t comment further on Broder’s story.
The New York Times is reviewing Musk’s assertions and plans to make a detailed statement later Thursday, spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said. She added that the newspaper stands by Broder’s story.
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By Dale Jewett