Feeds

back to article Tesla's Elon Musk v The New York Times, Round 2

There's no love lost between Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk and New York Times reporter John Broder this Valentine's Day, with the debate over the accuracy of Broder's recent review of the Tesla Model S having devolved into a bitter display of online "he said, she said." The public spat first erupted on Monday, when the paper …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

FAIL

They're both full of $#!T

Broder wanted to write a more exciting article and so did his best to get in trouble and added copious varnish. Mission accomplished. Musk, rather than address the inherent limitations of Model S (who cares if he charged for 47 or 58 minutes?), chooses to attack the reporter personally. I would be vewy wowwied about the future of Tesla if I was an investor.

6
12

Re: They're both full of $#!T

Broder used very specific numbers in his story, "58 minutes" when it was actually 47 minutes, "54 MPH" when it actually was 60MPH, etc.

All of the incorrect numbers were to the detriment of Tesla. That makes them unlikely to be innocent mistakes.

13
10
Bronze badge

Re: They're both full of $#!T

That is only true if you make two huge assumptions Donald.

First, that CEO Musk is completely accurate and telling the truth.

Second, that the car recorded the data accurately.

I see no reason to make those either of those two assumptions, let alone both of them.

11
1

Re: They're both full of $#!T

>who cares if he charged for 47 or 58 minutes?

I used to think the same about my car until i realized that the amount of time the nozzle is in the hole is proportional to the amount of energy that can be crammed into the tank.

Seems that Musk could have been less aggressive - driving in circles for 1/2 mile in an electric at low speeds is going to have next to no effect on at 100+ mile journey at highway speeds. Ditto taking a trip into town should be where the car excels.

If he had just kept to the facts - "if you don't fill it up, the car has less range you dumbass" , and "you didn't slow down when you said you had to" then he would have a more solid story. Now because he embellished it with things which are unprovable, like the 1/2 mile carpark, the NYT will just focus on disproving these and ignore the lies that matter to the review.

4
1
Bronze badge

Re: They're both full of $#!T

Yeah, but so what if the car has less range on a partial charge.

I have a full tank once a week. I don't expect my car to conk out on a short journey simply because I did not fuel it up completely.

It is the same deal with an electric vehicle.

And charging an electric vehicle can take several hours. Sure it is just an hour in the super fast charging station, but few consumers are going to have those in their homes.

You can expect several trips each year will be made on partial charges and those trips should not require a tow.

7
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: They're both full of $#!T

I have a full tank once a week. I don't expect my car to conk out on a short journey simply because I did not fuel it up completely.

Exactly - you can reasonably* rely on a car fuel gage, whereas an electric one seems to be prone to a lot of variables which you have less control over.

(*) depends on how you drive, of course. I had an Audi which happily went from 10l/100km to +50l/100km (i.e. fivefold increase), but that was the difference between regular use or going well past 250 km/h. In normal conditions, the distance between "low fuel" and "time to walk" remains pretty stable, and I think the main problem is that this expectation doesn't "port" very well to electric cars..

4
0
Silver badge
Pint

Re: They're both full of $#!T

"I have a full tank once a week. I don't expect my car to conk out on a short journey simply because I did not fuel it up completely. It is the same deal with an electric vehicle."

I agree.

However, when my car tells me "You have 30 miles of fuel" and I'm driving 45 miles somewhere, I'd be a dumb-ass to get in and drive. We're not twelve, and we are all wise enough to put in more than enough fiel to get where we want to, aren't we? And if I was a journo writing a review of the car, I'd have to be deliberately trying to fuck it up in order to write a negative review. That's essentially what I believe happened here. Maybe all of Tesla's counter-claims aren't 100% (the driving around trying to find the power charger thingy sounds a plausible reason for driving around a car park), but I feel that the general thrust of 'You tried your hardest to balls this test up just so you could write the 'exciting' review you wanted to' is essentially true.

Thoughts?

3
6
Childcatcher

Re: They're both full of $#!T - Someone is Lying

In a couple of places the two blog posts seem to directly contradict each other:

Musk says it never ran out of power, Broder says the car warned it was shutting down and then did. So either one of them is lying or the car will shut-down when there is power remaining.

Musk claims Broder was told to keep charging one the last leg and stopped "expressly against the advice of Tesla personnel". Broder states he was told to charge for one hour then continue "expressly on the instructions of Tesla personnel". Again one of them must be lying.

Musk claims Broder took an unplanned detour through lower Manhattan, Broder claims he had a planned stop in a different part of Manhattan which added about two miles to the trip. Weather the detour was planned or unplanned frankly makes little difference as, presumably, every Tesla owner doesn't OK their journey plan with Tesla beforehand. I don't understand why Musk cares about this, unless it was a big detour not the two miles Broder claims.

Six days after the trip when Broder asked for copies of the logged data, presumably before the story was published (assumption on my part) "to compare against my notes and recollections" i.e. ensure his review was accurate. Tesla said they "did not store data on exact locations where their cars were driven because of privacy concerns". Later they published a bunch of this data that doesn't exist. So either he is lying about this, they lied to him about it existing or it was fabricated at a later date.

Based on current statements I believe either Musk, Broder or Both of them are lying. With such conflicting statements it doesn't seem possible that this is all just a misunderstanding.

4
0
Pint

Re: They're both full of $#!T

Your car tells you "You have 30 miles of range" but you need to go 45 miles. In the last few hours or days it has been wildly inaccurate, both optimistic and pessimistic.

You have a Tesla rep on the phone telling you to they have diagnostic info from the car and charge for an hour before continuing and ignore the predicted range and it will sort itself out.

Are you really saying you would keep on charging and ignore the experts who tell say you've got more than enough juice?

"I'd have to be deliberately trying to fuck it up in order to write a negative review.". No. Its possible you deliberately fucked it up to get a negative review, its also possible you didn't deliberately fuck it up and still had a negative experience and wrote the review based on this.

3
0
Silver badge

Re: They're both full of $#!T

except the journo wasn't writing a review of the car, it was a review of the charging infrastructure. which is inadequate

2
0

Re: They're both full of $#!T

Tesla wanted him to write a review about the charging infrastructure, he actually wrote more about problems with the car and the charging infrastructure.

When you give a reporter a product to review you don't get to dictate what they write.

2
0
Silver badge

Re: They're both full of $#!T

quote: "When you give a reporter a product to review you don't get to dictate what they write."

True at face value, however many companies will specifically only give (read: free) review products to people they expect to give them a good review. People who they expect to give a bad review are told they are free to buy the product themselves, just like Joe Public can.

How likely do you think it is that Broder will get given another Tesla to review? How many other manufacturers of electrics will hand Broder a car to review, after this slugfest with Tesla?

The net result of this may be that NYT end up having to purchase electric cars from a dealership if they want to review them, which means they lose out on pre-release offers, and are out of pocket for the equipment. Which is legal (Tesla can refuse to give freebies to anyone they like, last I checked), and also understandable (Tesla are in the business of selling products), but which leads to somewhat shady business practises to keep everyone sweet.

See also: software reviews that never fall below 5 out of 10 ;)

0
0

Re: They're both full of $#!T

In town driving uses the most energy, so taking a two mile trip in down town Manhattan might sound innocent enough, but if you're stuck in stop-and-go in traffic for an hour with the heater going it is going to put a severe dent in your battery capacity.

During an auto show (about 20 years ago) I spoke with a fellow who was promoting electric conversions or some such. His enthusiasm was all well and good, but when asked how the vehicle would perform (range-wise) on a cold Canadian evening (-15C) with heater, headlights, drive-motors, windscreen wipers, marker lights etc. all needing power, subsided slightly. A simple solution to the demands made on the batteries for cabin heat would be to use something other than electric power... perhaps resurrect the old VW gas-heaters (modified for Propane or Natural Gas).

Another point from the story. The Journo says that Tesla put the wrong size tires on the vehicle. Was he trying to imply that this might be the cause for the discrepency in the logged speed and what he said he did? Wouldn't the car record what it is displaying on the instruments?

0
0
Vic
Silver badge

Re: They're both full of $#!T

> Wouldn't the car record what it is displaying on the instruments?

Not if it's a GPS logger...

Vic.

2
0
Bronze badge

Re: They're both full of $#!T

In my experience, even a basic hand-held GPS from the Nineties can give a good check on speed. If I were testing a vehicle of this sort, I would be inclined to use a tablet with GPS to log the journey, independently of the vehicle instruments.

Checking my Nexus 7, I have GPS, accelerometers, a gyroscope. and magnetic sensors. A magnetic compass in a vehicle is unreliable, but surely there must be an app that can log what's happening. A motoring journalist can record a lot of hard facts, if he wants to.

0
0
Bronze badge

salacious?

I think he's over-egging things for sure. I mean there's no mention of shifting [gears], hugging curves, burning rubber, [lug] nuts popping, [cam] shaft action, driving stick, sucking [diesel], the point of no return, or even throbbing pistons.I'm sure that if "salacious" was the goal, he could have done a much better job.

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Another quote from Musk

Well, Musky the Musk Rat anyway:

Don't go away angry Deputy Dawg, just go away!

0
0

From the article ....

It would appear that Musk is dealing in facts.

Broder in evasion.

If i had the readies i would buy one, simple as.

5
14
Anonymous Coward

Re: From the article ....

Funny, I see it as Broder taking a car for a test drive, driving it like any other car and being honest about the outcome, then, as is his way, Musk throws his toys out. There's no room for Silicon Valley babies in the automotive industry.

I can't imagine any regular car or even a range extender getting driven at a constant 57mph for a review, that would be silly.

20
10

Surely you're joking

Musk: "Broder was so determined to run down the battery so he could give the Model S a bad review that he drove in circles in a parking lot"

Musk is dealing in one small fact (he drove in circles) and a few giant conjectures (he did so intentionally, with the particular intent of running down the battery, with the further intent that running down the battery would enable him to give the car a bad review) and ignoring other salient facts (That he somehow failed to run the battery down, that it was done at night, and at a Tesla Motors dealership parking lot.)

10
0
Silver badge

Re: From the article ....

i assume the requisite readies includes the cost of getting a tow home a couple of times a week?

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: From the article ....

Funny, I see it as Broder trying to get a better story by not driving it like anyone who owned the car would and exaggerating and misrepresenting what he did. Pretty normal journalistic behavior.

The owners understand the limitations and characteristics.

You plug in overnight to allow it to have the battery in optimal conditions.

Just like you don't deliberately run a conventional car with minimal fuel, you don't just try to get by on minimal charge.

Just like a conventional car, over time you learn how efficient it is in different conditions so you know whether to fill up or top up before a long trip. (In a conventional car rather than inconvenience it's about avoiding the high prices at motorway petrol stations.)

Now, had he been sensible then he could still have written that driving in winter was too restrictive (and would have been worse in colder conditions) and too long with the current network (to which network Tesla will be adding), but "Needs to be Better in the Cold, Probably Not a Problem When It's Warmer" isn't as good a story as "Epic! Fail!"

2
1
Silver badge
Meh

Re: From the article ....

So a journalist is 'inaccurate' with his facts.

A manufacturer exaggerates his product's abilities.

Is there a story here? Pass me the popcorn :)

0
0
Bronze badge
FAIL

Re: From the article ....

Except he didn't try to get by with "minimal fuel", he charged it so that the battery held way beyond the expected range for the journey, just not to "full", much like anyone with a petrol car might not fill up to the top but fill enough for the journey ahead.

2
1
Irk
Black Helicopters

Re: From the article ....

The only time I've filled my car up not to full was when I was a college student and couldn't afford more than a few gallons of gas a week. Filling up the most when you're already stopped makes more sense than having to stop off earlier further down the journey when you won't be sure of where a safe place to refuel will be.

Journo could have easily waited longer to recharge the vehicle to full, then reported "Supercharger stations take longer than an hour to recharge car". It would have looked better than "Instead of being cautious, I tried to rely exactly on a trip meter estimation in a day and age when computer phones still can't reliably tell us whether their batteries are at 100%."

0
0
Windows

Re: From the article ....

Except, this was not a review of the car per se; It was a review of the maximum range of the vehcile, under controlled optimum driving.. sort of like when Clarkson took the diesel Passat from London to Edinburgh.

So, to have a journo, known to be in the pockets of oil companies, dick about in car parks and, frankly, try everything in his power to fail, just smacks backhanders, and undermines his and the NYT's credability, (if they had any, I don't live on that side of the pond and don't read said paper, and have never (before this review) heard of the jurno either.).

0
1

It Must Be User Error.

Tesla apparently is styling its customer service after Microsoft's.

8
3
Coat

Re: It Must Be User Error.

@jr424242: No, Apple. He's driving it wrong.

Mines the one with the faux turtleneck.

16
1
Bronze badge

Publish the logs and be damned

Who knows what we'll find....

Perhaps they'll back up one side or the other, or chart a course somewhere between the two.

(Hoperfully they will not show that Broder went over the speed limit)

Though there might well be propietary information in them, perhaps a subset of the data would do - time, speed, acceleration, charge remaining....

1
0

Re: Publish the logs and be damned

They did, somewhat.

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

4
0
Bronze badge

Re: Publish the logs and be damned

Publish the logs?

You spend your days reading the Reg and you don't know that computer files can be altered?

Plus, who is to say that the unaltered logs were accurate?

The vehicle was being test driven. You expect a vehicle being test driven to have no faults whatsoever in any component? Accurate logs requires several components to be error free.

2
2
Silver badge

Re: The vehicle was being test driven.

According to the article they were testing the charging infrastructure, not the car.

0
0
Black Helicopters

Facebook on wheels?

Anybody else find it spooky that the car had that much information about the journey? Is this normal for Teslas, or did this particular car have special logging systems installed.

6
1

Re: Facebook on wheels?

From the bits of reading around tht I've done, the logging is availiable on all Tesla cars. It is normally switched off, and the data unavailiable to Tesla, but if you ask them to switch it on, it will be.

Since the Top Gear incident, Tesla have apparently left it on for all media test drives, for cases such as this one.

1
0

Re: Facebook on wheels?

Elon Musk has explained several times that when they lend cars to journalists to review they log all of the data. They started doing this after the bad experience they had with Top Gear pretending to run out of power.

For normal users they don't log the data unless the user has opted in which I guess you might do if there was a problem with the car.

1
0
Black Helicopters

Re: Facebook on wheels?

Since they first had bad "unfair" reviews from the press, Tesla's media loaners have extensive logging set up on them to prove what liars journalists are (that's how they knew the car in the Top Gear test hadn't actually run out of charge). No-one's ever mentioned if that's set on the production models as well though....

0
0

Re: Facebook on wheels?

They specially said after the Top Gear incident, that all cars given to journalists have logging on by default.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Facebook on wheels?

"Since they first had bad "unfair" reviews from the press, Tesla's media loaners have extensive logging set up on them to prove what liars journalists are (that's how they knew the car in the Top Gear test hadn't actually run out of charge). No-one's ever mentioned if that's set on the production models as well though...."

According to Tesla, it's not.

I actually think it's a sensible idea to log review milage, especially in the wake of the Top Gear review. If you were running the company, wouldn't you do the same thing?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Facebook on wheels?

They knew that the TG car was not out of battery.........because it was being pushed, and they knew that when the car shut's down, the parking brake cannot be disabled!

I also took a risk today, I set off in my car for a 30 mile journey without filling up first, what a rebel!

0
0
Silver badge
Unhappy

Re: Facebook on wheels?

"I also took a risk today, I set off in my car for a 30 mile journey without filling up first, what a rebel!"

:-)

Part of what I'm getting from this story is that digital readouts of "range remaining", despite giving a specific value are not to be trusted. Well, who'd a thunk it? On the other hand, many people (in the general population, not specifically "here") see a digital readout and take that precisely displayed figure as an accurate figure.

Digital:

What time is it? "1:36".

How much fuel in the car? "128 miles"

Analogue:

What time is it? "Just after half one"

Home much fuel in the car? "less than 1/4 tank, better get some petrol now/soon"

People, being analogue, often don't deal well with digital "stuff". Maybe it's a learning experience we are still going through or maybe it just that we are analogue.

1
0
Bronze badge

Re: Facebook on wheels?

I remember, getting on for twenty years ago, driving a vehicle with a fuel consumption meter. It was a Renault 25, and getting on a bit even then. My father's driving was far less fuel-efficient than mine. I think I was regularly getting 50% more miles per gallon, but partly that was longer runs that got the engine warmed properly.

Tesla and Broder both seem to be forgetting that drivers vary. Just some better anticipation of road conditions ahead, easing off on the throttle rather than hard braking, makes a difference.

0
0
FAIL

Re: Facebook on wheels?

> they knew that when the car shut's down, the parking brake cannot be disabled!

Seriously?! So if it runs out of electricity you can't tow it, you have to put it on a trailer?

0
0
Bronze badge

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk arguments are pathetic

Elon Musk's arguments basically assert that his car has major design faults and is unfit for purpose and must be babied to work. Specifically:

1. Musk says his car failed because it was not fully recharged.

A car should not require complete re-fueling or re-charging to make a non-maximum range journey.

2. Musk said his car failed because the journalist attempted to keep the interior temperature more than 42°F warmer than the exterior temperature.

If a car cannot heat the interior to 73°F when the outside temperature is 30°F it won't be able to heat the interior to 63°F when the outside temperature is 20°F. And in Canada, when the outside temperature is -30F Musk's car will not be able to keep the interior above 12°F (-11°C).

3. Musk said his car failed because the journalist drove it faster than 54mph.

If the car cannot do highway speeds without drastic loss or range, it is useless on highways.

4. Musk said the car failed because it was driven in a city.

If a car cannot handle a short trip in a city, it is useless for city driving.

5. Musk said the car failed because the journalist passed by a charging station without stopping.

If a car has to stop at every charging station or fuel depot it is useless.

Useless on highways, useless in cities, useless in winter, unable to pass a re-charging station without stopping -- Elon Musk, you're in a hole and the more you dig the deeper it is getting.

42
39
FAIL

Re: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk arguments are pathetic

>1. Musk says his car failed because it was not fully recharged.

Musk said the car was not recharged to the point where the range indicatior specified that the journey could be completed, in fact, it specified MUCH less range (32 miles for a 61 mile journey)

>2. Musk said his car failed because the journalist attempted to keep the interior temperature more than 42°F warmer than the exterior temperature.

No, the NYT said that the heating needed to be reduced to save power when the journo actually increased it

>3. Musk said his car failed because the journalist drove it faster than 54mph.

No, again, the NYT said that the car had to be driven at low speeds to prevent running out of fuel, the telemetry show that this did not happen, it was a lie.

>4. Musk said the car failed because it was driven in a city.

No, Musk said that the car was taken on a detour which added miles to the journey

>5. Musk said the car failed because the journalist passed by a charging station without stopping.

No, Musk said that the car showed 0 miles range 20 miles of the journey, during this time the journo did not stop at charging stations that were available.

You should learn read better like.

20
9
Anonymous Coward

Re: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk arguments are pathetic

> Musk said the car was not recharged to the point where the range indicatior specified that the journey could be completed, in fact, it specified MUCH less range (32 miles for a 61 mile journey)

The original article states:

"Tesla’s experts said that pumping in a little energy would help restore the power lost overnight as a result of the cold weather, and after an hour they cleared me to resume the trip to Milford."

It was Tesla's experts who said he should be able to complete his journey.

8
0

Re: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk arguments are pathetic

>> 1. Musk says his car failed because it was not fully recharged.

No he didn't.

>> 2. Musk said his car failed because the journalist attempted to keep the interior temperature more than 42°F warmer than the exterior temperature.

No he didn't..

>> 3. Musk said his car failed because the journalist drove it faster than 54mph.

No he didn't.

>> 4. Musk said the car failed because it was driven in a city.

No he didn't.

>> 5. Musk said the car failed because the journalist passed by a charging station without stopping.

No he didn't.

29
4
Bronze badge
Stop

Re: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk arguments are pathetic

Does how it's driven actually matter?

Who here actually drives their car with no items in it, with no passengers, and travels at 50mph to hit the manufacturers stated MPG? No one. So why the hell would you go out and pay hundreds of thousands of pounds/dollars on a car which you should be able to drive like any other car, but change your driving habits to get the most out of the vehicle? It's nonsense.

8
1
Silver badge
Pint

Re: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk arguments are pathetic

"Does how it's driven actually matter?"

It kind of does if you're blatantly a bit stupid about it and try driving somewhere without enough fuel in the tank. If you drove a Diesel and I handed you the keys to an Enzo, would you get in and try to drive it a couple of hundred miles on half a tank of gas and then bitch about how you shouldn't have had to change your driving habits?

"which you should be able to drive like any other car, but change your driving habits to get the most out of the vehicle? It's nonsense."

Only if you want *exactly the same thing* from every vehicle you own. Have you never bought a sports-car that won't go over kerbs and speed bumps and only likes 99RON fuel? Or a truck that won't fit in multi-story car-parks? I honestly don't mind changing driving habits for interesting vehicles. I wouldn't want this particular car, but I certainly wouldn't mind accommodating the Roadsters foibles in exchange for benefits that other cars can't give me.

4
3
Bronze badge

Re: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk arguments are pathetic

You are paying supercar prices for a Tesla car. You would expect supercar performance for that. Obviously, you're not going to get that. So you would then think that you are buying a premium luxury car for that money (like a Jaguar). So you would expect it to match that in terms of range and comfort. So far, that won't be the case either.

Essentially, you are paying supercar prices for a car you could only realistically drive to work and back. Why bother paying that much money for a car when you could buy a super economical supermini or a dual fuel car (such as the Vauxhall Ampera)? It's complete nonsense.

There's an old saying: You get what you pay for. With a Tesla, or any other electric car, you aren't getting it.

6
5
Silver badge

Re: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk arguments are pathetic

In my books Elon Musk is right regardless of how implausible or stupid his arguments may be.

He can launch a rocket to ISS and Broder can't!

:-)

5
1

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.