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New York Times Under Fire Over Negative Tesla Car Review

By Alex Johnston
Epoch Times Staff
Created: February 14, 2013 Last Updated: February 15, 2013
Related articles: United States » National News
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A Tesla Model S electric car is displayed during the second press preview day at the 2012 North American International Auto Show Jan. 10, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. (Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)

A Tesla Model S electric car is displayed during the second press preview day at the 2012 North American International Auto Show Jan. 10, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. (Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)

Telsa CEO Elon Musk fired a salvo at the New York Times in saying that the paper of record inaccurately reviewed the auto company’s Model S luxury electric car.

Musk released vehicle log data from the review car that appears to contradict the article published by the Times. It included graphs on the car’s range and mileage, accusing the reviewer, John Broder, of giving an unfair portrayal of his experience driving the vehicle along the East Coast. 

“The logs show again that our Model S never had a chance with John Broder,” Musk wrote, before adding: “He simply did not accurately capture what happened and worked very hard to force our car to stop running.”

The Tesla CEO contended that Broder did not fully charge the vehicle at each station and did not adhere to the instructions for the best speed, nor did he adhere to the recommended climate control settings. Musk added that Broder charged the vehicle three separate times to 90 percent, 72 percent, and later, 28 percent.

“Despite narrowly making each leg, he charged less and less each time. Why would anyone do that?” Musk questioned. Broder also did not use the ideal route for the planned trip, Musk said. 

Also, Musk claimed that in one instance, Broder “drove right past a public charge station while the car repeatedly warned him that it was very low on range.” 

Graphs that Musk uploaded on the company’s blog also appear to contradict Broder’s account saying he stayed below the speed limit and kept the heating down.

Broder’s review, which appeared in the newspaper’s website on Tuesday, details him driving along the East Coast in the Model S. He ultimately said the luxury vehicle broke down and ended up on a flatbed truck. 

Responding to criticism from Tesla, Broder said on the Times’ website that his “account was not a fake.”

“It happened just the way I described it. When I first charged the car, which was equipped with the highest-capacity battery available, of 85 kilowatt-hours, at the Tesla Supercharger station in Newark, Del., I left it connected to the cable for 49 minutes until the dash display read ‘Charging Complete.’ The battery meter read 90 percent full, with a range of 242 miles,” he wrote in a blog.

Broder said that his test “was intended to demonstrate its practicality as a ‘normal use,’ no-compromise car, as Tesla markets it.”

“Now that Tesla is striving to be a mass-market automaker, it cannot realistically expect all 20,000 buyers a year (the Model S sales goal) to be electric-car acolytes who will plug in at every Walmart stop,” Broder said.

“Knowing then what I know now about the car, its sensitivity to cold and additional ways to maximize range, I certainly would have treated the test differently,” he added. “But the conclusion might not have been any better for Tesla.”

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