back to article Journo says Elon Musk apologized for Tesla battery fiasco

A New York Times journalist has hit back at Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk's charges that he botched a review of the company's Model S electric car, claiming that Musk had even acknowledged his troubles with the vehicle before the review went to press. In a detailed post to The Times' "Wheels" blog on Tuesday, John Broder argued …

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  1. Thorne

    Yes but

    Whatever way you look at it, electric cars will never take off until you can refill in five minutes or less

    1. Comments are attributed to your handle
      Thumb Up

      Re: Yes but

      ... and until said electricity doesn't come from fossil fuels in the first place.

      1. adrian727
        Mushroom

        Re: Yes but

        No fossil fuels? Then nuke it

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Nucleon

        1. Comments are attributed to your handle
          Happy

          Re: Yes but

          Reactor in the back - what could possibly go wrong?

    2. Donald Becker

      Re: Yes but

      I don't agree with "refill in five minutes or less".

      If you can charge at home (admittedly ruling out many city and apartment dwellers), you just change your daily routine to plugging in when you get home for the evening. With overnight charging you start out each day with a full charge. That can be less hassle than going to a special store and taking five or ten minutes when the fuel tank runs low. After a while it seems like way less inconvenience than standing in the cold, risking dripping gas on your hands, clothes or shoes.

      That doesn't address long trips, but for most drivers those are rare (a few times a year) and never unexpected.

      1. Thorne

        Re: Yes but

        "That doesn't address long trips, but for most drivers those are rare (a few times a year) and never unexpected."

        So you need to own two cars just in case you actually need to go somewhere further than to work and back?

        So far I can see the market for these being innercity greenies, who don't go anywhere. What about the other 99.9% of the world?

        A fast recharge that still takes an hour to do stops electric cars from ever becoming mainstream

        1. Steve Todd
          Stop

          Re: Yes but - @Thorn

          "So you need to own two cars just in case you actually need to go somewhere further than to work and back?"

          There are these companies, you may have heard of them, that will rent you a car when you need one. If that's only a few times a year then this is far cheaper than owning one. The average person in the US drives less than 30 miles per day, do they all need to own vehicles that can cover 400+ miles on a tank? If so you can apply the same logic and argue that they all need cars that fly at 600MPH because they do that a couple of times per year also.

          1. Da Weezil
            Flame

            Re: Yes but - @Thorn

            ....And most weekends I need a car capable of doing far more than this toy can manage, I'm sure the hire companies would love a steady income stream like that, but in REAL LIFE this isn't sustainable so the nasty pollution causing not at all green electric car is no more than a novelty item for airheads to chatter about at dinner parties, in the real world it doesn't work, is over priced and causes far more pollution than it fans like to admit.

            This is not a real world solution

            1. Steve Todd
              Stop

              Re: Yes but - @Thorn - @Da Weezil

              You personally may need (or more likely just want) to drive more than 200 miles per day almost every weekend, in which case current EVs aren't practical FOR YOU, but that doesn't mean that they are not practical for a large number of people. The less of them that use petrol the more that is available for you. How is that a bad thing?

            2. Psyx
              Mushroom

              Re: Yes but - @Thorn

              "This is not a real world solution"

              Not for you. But pink G-strings aren't a solution for you, either. Should companies stop selling them?

              However, they are solutions for *other people*. Not everything on the market needs to cater for your needs. That is why there are choices.

              Frankly, I'd love a Roadster, and it would suit my needs extremely well. It's not even the faux green factor so much as the startling performance and cheap 'fuel'. Shame about the purchase price, really.

          2. Ross Luker

            Re: Yes but - @Thorn

            The point to the average punter is, I have a car that does both my commute and a cross country trip quite happily. Why would I replace that with something that only does one of those things, and be expected to shell out extra cash if I want to go visit Grandma at Christmas?

        2. Psyx
          Stop

          Re: Yes but

          "That doesn't address long trips, but for most drivers those are rare (a few times a year) and never unexpected."

          "So you need to own two cars just in case you actually need to go somewhere further than to work and back?"

          If it's a few times a year, then it's cheaper to rent a car for it or take a train. And it'd still be cheaper than petrol *if* initial purchase price can be reduced. Having a second car to use a few times a year is just an obtuse solution to the issue.

          1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

            Re: Yes but

            @Psyx et al: Certainly you can hire a car when you need to make a long trip. Two problems with that:

            1. For most people the constant availability of their car is a valuable attribute. Consider the truism that inner-city dwellers can save a lot of money if they don't own a car, but use taxis for all short journeys and hire cars for long ones. If you try this, you'll find that you don't do many things that you would do if you had a car, because the cost is direct.

            2. Unless you live next door to the car hire office, hiring and returning a car will probably add at least two hours to your journey time. You will also have the annoyance of having to load and unload your luggage and find somewhere to park your electric car.

            1. Psyx
              Pint

              Re: Yes but

              "1. For most people the constant availability of their car is a valuable attribute."

              I hear you, but I think that at most it's a terribly minor inconvenience. Sure, some people will absolutely refuse to make any convenience compromise to save some money, but many will. And it's not like long road trips are usually impulse affairs. All in all, getting a hire car is probably less of a chore than catching a train, and quite a few people don't consider that so much of an inconvenience as to render them useless.

              "Consider the truism that inner-city dwellers can save a lot of money if they don't own a car, but use taxis for all short journeys and hire cars for long ones. If you try this, you'll find that you don't do many things that you would do if you had a car, because the cost is direct."

              That's a problem with people being economical when it comes to getting out actual pound notes, rather than paying hidden charges, though. It's not a problem with the technology, but a perception bias. And not necessarily a bad one: Surely making people think about expense rather than just spending money without thought is a *positive* thing?

              "2. Unless you live next door to the car hire office, hiring and returning a car will probably add at least two hours to your journey time. You will also have the annoyance of having to load and unload your luggage and find somewhere to park your electric car."

              Car hire places are usually happy to have a car parked outside in my experience. Or catch a cab there. Many even deliver the car to your door. And remember that we are talking about urban drivers here. I don't know anyone who lives in an urban area who doesn't have a car hire place within an hour's drive. All-told, it's hardly a major hurdle. Frankly, it's already what I do on long trips, because my motor isn't practical for them either. It's simply a change of habit, and one that saves money.

            2. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: Yes but

              2a: car clubs exist in london and a lot of other places - the rental car is at most only a block or 2 away and parking is reserved for the things. This does require forward planning but that's not an issue if it's a regular thing.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Yes but

                Problem with car clubs, is you pay whilst you have the car away from its parking place, so if you want to go to town, or on holiday, you have to return the car, so you cant even use it to collect a hire car.

        3. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Yes but

          or have one car for day-to-day stuff and rent one for longhaul stuff.

          That's a more practical option in a lot of cases anyway, given you can't pack a car into aircraft carry-on luggage.

        4. Gobbledygook
          Facepalm

          Re: Yes but

          You RENT a car that one time a year you need the additional range. There are plenty of places to rent a car cheaply.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: Yes but

            "You RENT a car that one time a year you need the additional range. "

            That's a great option now. Unless there's a serious improvement in EV range, what happens if EVs do become popular with city dwellers/local commuters? I'm thinking weekends and especially holidays when many those EV owners are more likely to want a long range hire car.

            I had a hire car last year while mine was in for some work to be carried out. I had a problem with it while en route to York. They tried to fix it there because they had no more cars available (all pre-booked/fleet hire). Another fault developed heading back to Newcastle. Same problem at the original hire station. They had *ONE* car they could swap me with.

            They REALLY don't like having unused cars sitting around stationary nstead of earning money.

      2. InsaneGeek
        Unhappy

        Re: Yes but

        Problem is that from a normal home power plug estimates a 2 day charge time, which means that you wouldn't be able to have a full charge daily.

        The other big massive hole I see in this is that unless I keep my garage heated I will be losing money. Where gas powered vehicles, the power source just gets cold with the Tesla it goes poof into the air so it probably is dramatically worse for the environment as it consumed electricity from the grid, the cold whether took it away and you have to pay and use more resources from the grid to recharge a vehicle sitting still.

        1. Tom 13

          Re: unless I keep my garage heated

          And that's assuming you have a garage. I mean, where I live, we're glad when we can find a curb we can park our car next to.

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Yes but

          When batteries get cold their chemical reactions slow down - which means that voltage droops. The number of joules stored doesn't change though, so they provide reduced current for a longer period. (or as they warm up the "lost" power returns.)

          This is why it's best to put your phone in an inner pocket if it's extremely cold outside.

          In the case of electric cars it's more a case of trying to get rid of waste heat. Thse discharge/charge currents can make things toasty and smoky if not carefully managed (which also means a cold battery pack will wake up pretty quickly)

          This effect is well known even in lead-acid batteries. At minus 40C you won't get enough current out to crank the motor(*) unless you switch on the headlights for a few minutes first - that discharge current is enough to warm the battery up to do its job.

          (*) Or if you do, there's a high risk of cracking the battery plates.

      3. Jtom Bronze badge

        Re: Yes but

        I don't know where you live, but in my part of the US it is not uncommon to have an hour commute to work each way, assuming you don't make any stops along the way. I'm not worried about the miles you can drive, but the time element. How long can you be stuck in an interstate traffic jam, at night, in the rain, with temps just above freezing? You may need lights, wipers, and heater for a couple of hours in addition to driving a hundred miles.

        1. Corinne

          Re: Yes but

          As Jtom points out, time sitting in traffic jams on a cold night will be a big worry. As someone who has spent many hours in the past stuck in jams on the M25 in cold temperatures I wouldn't be very happy if I couldn't have heating & radio on at these times. A 1 hour trip in light traffic becomes 2 hours at least in the rush hour and much more if there's an accident (not uncommon sadly) and I know an awful lot of people who commute via the M25 - that's the London orbital motorway for our transatlantic friends, a very popular route to avoid the horrors of central London.

          1. Steve Todd

            Re: Yes but - @Corinne

            The heater, lights and audio system are a small load compared to the motor. You could sit stationary in traffic in a Leaf, for example, with all three running at max and use less than 10% of the battery's power.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Yes but - @Corinne

              Lights, heater / AC on max and everything else in the car are likely to use more than 10% ??

            2. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: Yes but - @Corinne

              In an EV it makes sense for the "heater" to be a full-blown heat pump rather than a piece of resistive wire.

              The extra weight over standard cooling kit is minimal.

              If someone's having to run an EV in cold weather and the heating off they're already operating at the ragged edge of oblivion or there are serious design flaws, given battery heat needs to be vented somewhere and the cabin is as good a place to direct it as anywhere in such conditions. It's more like those 1000mpg economy runs than any real-world operating conditions.

          2. Psyx
            Pint

            Re: Yes but

            "As Jtom points out, time sitting in traffic jams on a cold night will be a big worry."

            Well, it is in a petrol car too, if you've only put in barely enough fuel to make the journey.

            To be fair to electric cars though, sitting stationary isn't going to be sucking any power, except for lights/stereo et al, which is a small draw on the power, compared to moving a vehicle at 50mph. I'd rather be stunk in a traffic jam with a 'low fuel' warning in an electric car than petrol, I feel.

            1. Andy ORourke

              Re: Yes but

              @ Psyx, yes, but if the traffic jam is that bad you're not moving and even if it's cold I'd like to have the ability to switch the vehicle off knowing that whatever reserve I had in the tank would still be there when I switch it back on rather than the charge evaporate in the cold night air as these reports suggest

          3. Tom 13

            Re: stuck in jams on the M25

            Never been to Old Blighty so I've never been on the M25, but you could substitute just about any road that intersects one of the big city beltways in the northeast US and your description would still be apt. Except I think you mostly get rain in London and not much snow. We get a lot of snow for several months of the year.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yes but

        You have to be kidding me, a huge number of people don't have offstreet parking, and while a small number of more money than sense greenies may live in city centres many people people have to cover far more than 50 miles a day fand or rural areas this is a complete no starter...

        Telsa and its ilk are a novelty item, a fashion accessory. It is not a viable car for the masses. The muppets behind it need to get a grip on real life.

        1. Psyx
          Facepalm

          Re: Yes but

          "Telsa and its ilk are a novelty item, a fashion accessory. It is not a viable car for the masses. The muppets behind it need to get a grip on real life."

          You mean like mobile phones 20 years ago?

          Yeah: Best we not bother developing it any more, then.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Yes but

          Ford and its ilk are a novelty item, a fashion accessory. It is not a viable horse and cart for the masses. The muppets behind it need to get a grip on real life.

    3. Jamie Jones Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Yes but

      > Whatever way you look at it, electric cars will never take off until you can refill in five minutes or less

      And wings. The car will need wings.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yes but

      There is an alternative to this, how about an EV car that you don't 'fill up' at all? with over night charging and a big enough battery you'd never need to stop en-route. but we are talking at least 500 mile range to make this a feasible option. Moores law does not exist for batteries but if you could double capacity in 10 years then that 300 mile tesla could be a 600 mile car.

      1. Thomas 4

        Re: Yes but

        I think electric cars have potential for those that live in cities for short frequent trips to work and back, or going across town. I'd be a little dubious about taking even the very latest one on a long trip (say London to Wales or even further). The only catch with that is that London has pretty good public transport compared to some of the other places I've lived, thus rendering an electric car somewhat pointless. =/

        Plus I don't have a garage, so I'd need the world's most monster extension lead to reach the car park next to my flat.

      2. Tom 13

        Re: big enough battery you'd never need to stop en-route.

        You need to lay of the pharmaceuticals. The car in the article couldn't manage 200 miles let alone 500. As it notes, not so much of a problem in more temperate areas, but in cold regions (more than half the day below the freezing point for water) batteries are crap for holding charge. It's a well established known scientific fact. Sort of like gravity. And trying to ignore it is sort of like trying to ignore gravity when you jump of the top of Big Ben: it will mess you up something fierce.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yes but

      Offered him a test in a few months when the temperatures are higher as well?

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yes but

      That's not really true - if your range is predictable you can live with a longer charge time - but that is why it is better suited to perhaps buses, delivery vehicles for whose range may only vary by +/- 20% a day. For personal vehicles where you need a range of 0 one day and 400 miles another it is impossible (commercially non-viable) to do unless you can recharge very quickly or have a system to swap out a standard battery pack.

      I am not a massive fan of hybrid vehicles but at least if they can run on electric 100% for most days and use fossil fuels when you need a much longer range it's a solution.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Yes but

        Several EV enthusiats have "solved" the issue of long trips by prducing a "power trailer" - essentially a generator on wheels. This works pretty well by all accounts.

        Several other crazies have extended the concept into "pusher trailers" - usually the front end of a FWD car under remote control. Surpisingly these are also reported to work pretty well.

    7. Bryan Seigneur

      Re: Yes but

      Moving the goal posts. It's wonderful to watch them move!

      Superchargers are at 90kW, planning on 120kW for the $30k BlueStar. I don't think anyone should execute an EV road trip without proper planning. And as it stands right now, anything other than a Tesla and superchargers are going to slow you down to almost twice the time of an ICE car for the same journey.

      http://seekingalpha.com/article/1122181-has-tesla-solved-the-road-trip-problem

      All non-Tesla EVs (short range, slow charging like the Leaf, iMiEV, et al) will eventually have to undercut the price of ICE vehicles to be successful. When that happens, watch out. In the meantime the volume production and sales of the Tesla have already proven the high quality of that car and the infrastructure.

  2. Magani
    Stop

    While we're on the Tesla topic,...

    ...who was the mental giant who came up with the idea of needing battery power to release the handbrake? I realise that it's probably not in the spirit of high tech, but it's worked just fine for the last hundred years or so, and in a vehicle the weight of the Tesla/Lotus why is it needed?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/10/automobiles/stalled-on-the-ev-highway.html?pagewanted=all&_r=2&

    Icon 'cos that's what happens with no ergs.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: While we're on the Tesla topic,...

      Electric handbrake seems pretty common over there.

      My last US hire car had it, and that was a big-standard petrol.

      I'm guessing its due to the prevalence of automatics, and idiots forgetting to put the brake on when parked.

      1. Andy ORourke
        Happy

        Re: While we're on the Tesla topic,...

        Or idiots forgetting to release the parking brake when they can't find it in the "usual" place - "this bloke I know" once hired a car in Australia, picked it up and couldnt find the parking brake so drove it one block to the hotel where upon relating this tale to his Aussie mate about no parking brake and performing like a dog was then introduced to the concept of the parking brake as a pedal on the very left hand side of the drivers footwell.............

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: While we're on the Tesla topic,...

        It's a "parking brake", not a "hand brake" and it's only to be used while "parked".

        The lever thingie is called an "emergency brake" Stateside - used for parking and for emergencies.

        Putting the parking brake on at traffic lights, etc (as is common in the uk) is an instant license test FAIL in many jurisdictions. (I suspect it's because there's a fairly high risk that the brake shoes will freeze solid in subzero conditions)

    2. Chris Miller

      Don't get me started on electronic handbrakes

      Coming to a saloon near you. I tested a BMW 530 manual with this 'feature'. Having spent 40 years perfecting my skill at releasing the handbrake while simultaneously raising the clutch and depressing the accelerator, I asked the salesman how the hell you were supposed to do hill starts without either stalling it or rolling back. He mumbled something about it being fine with the automatic version, which I expect it is.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Don't get me started on electronic handbrakes

        "He mumbled something about it being fine with the automatic version, which I expect it is."

        So developed for the Merkin market.

      2. Silverburn

        Re: Don't get me started on electronic handbrakes

        That and it's probably got that "electronic hill hold" thingy as well.

        So they introduced 2 bits of (expensive) technology to replace *one* simple one that was working perfectly well and didn't need replacing.

        <slow clap>

      3. Vic

        Re: Don't get me started on electronic handbrakes

        > I asked the salesman how the hell you were supposed to do hill starts

        I drove a car with an auto handbrake once - an Audi, IIRC. It was perfect - worked just like a real hillstart, but I didn't need to do anything with my left hand.

        I suspect moving back to a conventional handbrake might have been fun if I'd got used to it, though...

        Vic.

      4. fandom Silver badge

        Re: Don't get me started on electronic handbrakes

        "how the hell you were supposed to do hill starts without either stalling it or rolling back"

        You slowly release the clutch until you notice that traction is about to kick in, then you move your foot from the brake to the accelerator and press it.

        I have always thought that using the handbrake is kind of cheating.

      5. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: Don't get me started on electronic handbrakes

        I asked the salesman how the hell you were supposed to do hill starts without either stalling it or rolling back.

        The answer's simple. You just set off and it disengages automagically. The reason you can spot 'leccy handbraked cars by the dent in the back is that not enough people RTFM before driving off in their new toy.

        Including it would seem your BMW salesman, who should be sacked.

        BTW, they all have a manual override somewhere, usually in the boot, to permit recovery when the electrics have failed.

        What I did see the other day though is that now these things are available, the safety nazis have got in on the act. I saw a complaint from a larger gentleman who had bought an Audi. He was in the habit of taking off his seatbelt so that he could turn around when reversing and was highly pissed off to find that a) it automagically engaged the handbrake when the seatbelt was disengaged and b) it wasn't possible to override this behaviour.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Don't get me started on electronic handbrakes

          "He was in the habit of taking off his seatbelt so that he could turn around when reversing "

          This was perfectly legal when I learnt to drive. Only whilst reversing/manoeuvring though

    3. TeeCee Gold badge
      Facepalm

      Re: While we're on the Tesla topic,...

      At least you can release a 'leccy brake with the manual override, if you bother to RTFM.

      For real fun, look at the Toyota / Lexus Hybrid range. Parking is engaged with a button and happens automatically when you switch the things off. This immobilises the transmission with a parking pawl in the conventional manner. The only way to move one, if the electrics crap themselves completely and jumping to the emergency power terminal does no good, is to jack it up and remove the parking pawl and its actuator from the transmission assembly.

      Oops.

      1. Steve Todd
        Stop

        Re: While we're on the Tesla topic,...

        Most automatic gear boxes don't like being towed. You need a flatbed recovery wagon, or one with wheel lifts. Citroens with hydraulic suspension are even more fun.

  3. paulc
    Mushroom

    Basically still not "Fit For Purpose" as a replacement for Petrol/Deisel

    All the whinging from Elon Musk just advertises this fact even more... Streisand Effect in action...

    1. GitMeMyShootinIrons

      Re: Basically still not "Fit For Purpose" as a replacement for Petrol/Deisel

      Agreed. As pointed out earlier, until batteries are capable of reliably holding sufficient power (regardless of weather) to cover 400+ miles (and to really compete, you're looking more like 600+) and can top up in five minutes to at least 80% of that, then forget it.

      There are many occupations that require such range on a car on a daily basis, ignoring daily commuters. Sales types, field engineers and taxi drivers spring to mind.

      1. Steve Todd
        Stop

        Re: Basically still not "Fit For Purpose" as a replacement for Petrol/Deisel

        What percentage of the driving population do these occupations represent (hint: since the average milage per year for a car in the UK is 12,000, which equates to 50 miles per working day, then the answer must be low). We're not talking about banning all petrol cars instantly, just replacing them for the vast majority of occasions that their range is more than sufficient.

        1. Vic

          Re: Basically still not "Fit For Purpose" as a replacement for Petrol/Deisel

          > 12,000, which equates to 50 miles per working day

          ...Except that it doesn't. It equates to 20 per working day, plus lots more on the weekend.

          Getting the mean distance covered isn't the problem. Covering substantially all of the use cases for a sufficiently large number of vehicles is decidedly more difficult.

          Vic.

        2. Psyx
          Pint

          Re: Basically still not "Fit For Purpose" as a replacement for Petrol/Deisel

          Apparently Steve, as long as electric cars aren't a solution for everyone whining about the idea, they are a shit idea and shouldn't be developed or bothered with.

          And there was me thinking this was a tech website...

          *goes to find something to throw a clog into*

  4. Thomas 4

    An idea springs to mind

    To get around the whole charging point thing, why not just have wireless charging built in to the parking spot? No need for adapters or power cables that way. =)

    1. Thomas 4

      Re: An idea springs to mind

      Ninja'd by an entire goddamn Reg article. Wow.

    2. Naughtyhorse

      Re: An idea springs to mind

      charging via a wire takes forever, via wireless, that will be forever^2

      add 20% to the ammount of juice requred for a charge (that goes out as heat)stick a bit more weight and complexity into the car, to make it even crapper.

      both test drives of muskmobiles that come to mind, hilight the fact that the claims made by the manufacturer are total and utter bollocks, it wont go that fast, for that long on that charge, or charge that quickly.

      could be a coincidence, but it does strike me that the car is not fit for purpose, and the company is full of shit.

    3. Da Weezil
      Facepalm

      Re: An idea springs to mind

      And this addresses the poor range and slow recharge how? Lets not get into the question of who would fund this, and where all this electricity is going to come from - especially on a nice still summers day...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: An idea springs to mind

      Or inductive charging from the road?? Wonder how the GPS/Radio/mobile would react to that?

  5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Facepalm

    6 of 1, 1/2 dozen of the other?

    So.

    Journo is advised to plug in over night in cold areas.

    Journo ignores advice and capacity disappears.

    OTOH

    IRL everywhere is not Southern California. IE It gets cold at night and not every place you stop at night will have a charge plug. IOW depending solely on active cooling/heating to maintain charge is not a good idea.

    I'm not sure either Tesla or jouno come out of this looking good.

    I really hope there is a re-match and both will apply what they have learnt about each other.

    A case of "D'oh" s all round?

    1. Silverburn

      Re: 6 of 1, 1/2 dozen of the other?

      The whole problem with *current* electrics (cars and infastructure) is that it's a degredation of the lifestyle a petrol car gives you. It's a step backwards.

      Petrol gives you range, reliability, global reach, convenience and performance. Electrics...don't. So what he left it outside in the cold without a charger plugged in? That's a step *backwards*. Stopping every 200 miles, instead of every 400-600? Backwards. Fluctuations in range/performance due to temperature? Backwards. Hours to fill up, instead of 5 minutes? Backwards.

      Electrics need to *advance* the concept of "the car" - on all fronts - if they are to be accepted. They need to be BETTER - the next generation, if you will. They need to be faster (ok, they can be already), have better range, have better reliability and have more convenience. We are a long, long way from that, and that's *exactly* what these types of articles prove. Being "green" (and that's questionable) is not enough.

      1. Psyx
        Stop

        Re: 6 of 1, 1/2 dozen of the other?

        "Petrol gives you range, reliability, global reach, convenience and performance. Electrics...don't."

        Think about that carefully again.

        Petrol has the range still, hands down.

        Reliability? Electric has *far* fewer moving and component parts and is potentially a lot more reliable.

        Global reach? In what way? You mean you can drive a car over the sea, or do you mean that you can buy petrol where you can't get electricity? I'd dispute that, as there are a lot more electrical outlets in the world than petrol pumps.

        Convenience? In refuelling, petrol has that... maybe. Though not for me, because I consider it more convenient to get in and plug a car in that I do going to a petrol station. I don't know in what other way petrol is more convenient. What say you?

        Performance? 0-60 in 3.7 seconds, and a 12 second 1/4 mile. 125mph top speed is generally enough for most occasions, too. What does your car do it in? That 0-60 time is a genuinely staggering number. And that's not good enough?

        By all means slate the car for it's genuine downsides (range and recharge time), but there's no need to just pluck some other stuff out of the air and state it as fact.

        1. PatientOne

          Re: 6 of 1, 1/2 dozen of the other?

          @Psyx

          Petrol has an edge over electric in that it doesn't just lose fuel due to a cold spell. It's kind of an important issue that could probably be fixed with some insulation but hasn't been.

          I would say an electric car is more hazardous in a crash than petrol due to the chemicals in the battery, and the fumes should the battery start leaking, but that depends on the battery technology and will change, no doubt.

          But the biggest advantage of petrol over electric? You can hear the damn things! Electric cars are too quiet. I've a friend who is partially sighted and relies on sound to warn of approaching cars: They can hear petrol cars easily enough, but not electric. There's little to no hum, or whine, or road noise until they're almost on you. Easy to fix: Add a small speaker to cast an 'engine' sound ahead of the car. Just hasn't been done, yet.

          Other than that: Am waiting for the tech to mature and the faults to be ironed out. Would help, myself, but I can't afford one, and as I tend to go out into the wilds, I really don't want to risk finding my battery's gone flat and I'm now stranded.

          1. Psyx
            Pint

            Re: 6 of 1, 1/2 dozen of the other?

            "Petrol has an edge over electric in that it doesn't just lose fuel due to a cold spell. It's kind of an important issue that could probably be fixed with some insulation but hasn't been."

            But it will be. And for home charging the thing will be plugged in all night anyway. Hardly a deal-breaker, and solvable within a year. It's really a bit of a non-problem, especially for urban drivers who the product is ideal for, who probably aren't going to use more than 50 miles of range a day anyway.

            "I would say an electric car is more hazardous in a crash than petrol due to the chemicals in the battery, and the fumes should the battery start leaking, but that depends on the battery technology and will change, no doubt."

            I'd disagree, based on the factor that electric cars have to meet the same safety standards as petrol ones. And it's a lot harder to rupture a battery than a petrol tank. I've been in quite a few car crashes, and had several petrol tanks rupture, but never a battery. Remember: Safety testing isn't going to be wavered for electric vehicles in any way. We've all been driving around with a bunch of petrol fumes in a box for years, and it's never been a massive concern. I feel you are perhaps making a bit of an unfair knee-jerk judgement there.

            "But the biggest advantage of petrol over electric? You can hear the damn things! ...Easy to fix: Add a small speaker to cast an 'engine' sound ahead of the car. Just hasn't been done, yet."

            Yes, it has already been thought of and done.

            However, I'm rather in disagreement with the idea. We have the chance here to quieten our loud streets and improve the living environment for people who live by busy roads, and it beggars belief to me that we're considering making them 'noisy'. So pedestrians will have to *look* before crossing the road... well, I don't have a problem with that. It's a problem for the sight impaired, but what's the best solution to that: Come up with an alternative solution of some kind (transponder in vehicle, keyed to 'beep' in the hearing aids of nearby people when approaching perhaps), or put a speaker in every car and keep our cities noisy? I consider the quietness to be a massive bonus and we have a real chance here to improve the quality of city life and sleep patterns of a lot of people.

            1. PatientOne

              Re: 6 of 1, 1/2 dozen of the other?

              @Psyx

              1) I've been in a car crash where my fuel tank was ruptured, and sure, the petrol all spilled out. The danger was that the vapors would ignite. However, batteries are considered hazardous waste where as petrol and petrol tanks are not. True, petrol is a fuel and would be siphoned off, hence it isn't a waste, but there will be residue in the tank. So what is it in the battery that is so hazardous? What about it is toxic? Well, the chemicals that are inside.

              But the risk is related to the tech used in the battery. I'm not saying EV's will use fluid cell tech, just that in the event of a breach, the chemicals inside are more likely to be hazardous than petrol.

              2) Car noise. At no point did I say that electric cars had to be as noisy as petrol, just that they should have an 'engine' noise so they can be distinguished from other background sounds. A quiet hum would suffice - nothing too intrusive, just audible enough for a person who is out walking can hear as the car approaches.

              However, one thing you suggest has me puzzled: Why does a visually impaired person need a hearing aid?

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Megaphone

            Re: 6 of 1, 1/2 dozen of the other?

            "Add a small speaker to cast an 'engine' sound ahead of the car."

            Downloadable "ringtones" for cars. First on I hear with Crazy Frog, I'll shoot the bugger. (Note to self. Buy gun)

            "Just hasn't been done, yet."

            Actually, it has. Heard something about it on the radio last year. Probably not in any production vehicles yet as the idea is far too sensible and probably needs some sort of Govt. testing and regulation :-(

            Even then, they were talking about having a choice of sounds, eg Ferrari engine noises etc. tied into the vehicle speed/acceleration/braking systems for a proper effect.

            1. Pookietoo

              Re: Heard something about it on the radio last year

              Lotus has been developing active noise control for something like 20 years. ISTR the technology was initially used to reduce cabin noise and improve music playback, but then they added realistic, adjustable engine noise to improve the driving experience. :-)

            2. Vic

              Re: 6 of 1, 1/2 dozen of the other?

              > they were talking about having a choice of sounds, eg Ferrari engine noises etc

              They did this on "Tomorrow's World", many years. ago. ISTR Ketih Chegwin in one of those skinny '80s ties[1].

              They were demoing an anti-noise system with an engine noise synthesiser, so that you could make your dodgy old Fiesta sound like a sports car.

              Such systems - without the engine synth, natch - are available in the "nice" end of jet aircraft catalogues...

              Vic.

              [1] Sorry for that. I have a special offer on Mind Bleach this week, if you're interested...

        2. Silverburn

          Re: 6 of 1, 1/2 dozen of the other?

          "Petrol gives you range, reliability, global reach, convenience and performance. Electrics...don't."

          Think about that carefully again.

          Ok, I will.

          Reliability? Electric has *far* fewer moving and component parts and is potentially a lot more reliable.

          I agree...but potentially reliable != reliable today

          ...or do you mean that you can buy petrol where you can't get electricity?

          Yes. Because you can.

          I'd dispute that, as there are a lot more electrical outlets in the world than petrol pumps.

          Maybe, but they're all different sockets, different voltages, and only located in towns. And for flat dwellers, charging from your home circuit is impossible.

          Petrol is standardised worldwide (see RON), petrol doesn't suffer from performance issues in cold temps, the pump nozzles are all the same, and in the middle of a desert, you'll find a pump before you find a charging point *today*.

          I consider it more convenient to get in and plug a car in that I do going to a petrol station. I don't know in what other way petrol is more convenient. What say you?

          Plugging is the easy bit...if you can find one...and find one that fits your car...and the voltages are compatible...and if you don't mind the HOURS of waiting for a full charge, even on fast charge. Petrol filling wins massively.

          Performance? 0-60 in 3.7 seconds, and a 12 second 1/4 mile. 125mph top speed is generally enough for most occasions, too. What does your car do it in? That 0-60 time is a genuinely staggering number. And that's not good enough?

          If you read what I said, I acknowledge electric performance. circa 100% torque from 1-2rpm will never be matched by petrol.

          By all means slate the car for it's genuine downsides (range and recharge time), but there's no need to just pluck some other stuff out of the air and state it as fact.

          1. range and recharge time...low temps performance, convenience

          2. It is fact. You're the one trying to pluck stuff out the air.

          1. Psyx
            Stop

            Re: 6 of 1, 1/2 dozen of the other?

            "I agree...but potentially reliable != reliable today"

            I said potentially because I don't have any hard figures. And you don't have any MTF figures that says it's less reliable to petrol, so you kinda just grabbed the fact from nowhere. I *suspect* that it might already be more reliable, given the lack of moving parts and that electric motors are essentially nothing new. In any case it would certainly be poor form to cite reliability as an issue when it hasn't proved to be. I don't think your point is at all valid.

            I don't think that the inability to charge a Tesla in a village without any electricity can seriously be cited as a major problem, either. The third world uses thirty year old vehicles at present, so it isn't likely to be getting *any* new technologies any time soon. That petrol is easier to obtain than electricity is still something I'd debate, though.

            "If you read what I said, I acknowledge electric performance."

            Only in a backhanded way, after already saying they aren't fast enough! See: "They need to be faster (ok, they can be already), have better range, have better reliability and have more convenience. We are a long, long way from that"

            "and that's *exactly* what these types of articles prove."

            Except they really don't. Only if you take them at face value. I'd really recommend reading this:

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

            The problem appears to have been that the hack already decided that he wanted not to review the charging system, but that he wanted to slate the car.

    2. Naughtyhorse

      Re: 6 of 1, 1/2 dozen of the other?

      RTFA

      the test was for the charging stations _not_ the car.

      1. PatientOne

        Re: 6 of 1, 1/2 dozen of the other?

        @Naughtyhorse

        The article mentions that, yes, but it also talks about how the car performed. Such as it loosing charge due to the cold. So while the intent might have been to write about the charging stations, it moved on to problems with the car instead (in particular the issue of it losing charge in cold weather).

        Tesla should accept the fact a problem has been identified and they should work to fix it while letting their customers know about it. It's important because running out of power unexpectedly in an electric car can't be solved by having a spare can of fuel in the car, or calling out a truck with some fuel. Rather, it requires the car be recovered to the recharging point. Possible opening for mobile charging vehicles, perhaps, but this illustrates potential risks that drivers of Tesla and other electric cars need to be aware of and watch out for, and could put lives at risk if the driver is any distance from help.

      2. Tom 13

        Re: test was for the charging stations _not_ the car.

        We're the consumers. When the alleged impartial tester rigs the test in a way we don't like he gave go screw himself. The car AND the chargers have to work in concert to deliver a reliable, reasonably fast means of transit from point A to point B.

        If it ain't ready for Alpha testing, keep your pie hole shut and keep the car in the lab. Don't try to sell it and get consumers to do all your research for you. Granted I don't expect MS will ever learn this lesson, but I expect that people who don't work for them and read articles on this site will.

  6. Jonathan 29

    logs don't lie

    The data on the Tesla blog clearly proves Broder is a lying scumbag.

    1. PatientOne

      Re: logs don't lie

      @Jonathan 29

      'logs don't lie'

      They can be edited so they do lie. Or simply fabricated. It's not hard. All you need is a text editor.

      'The data on the Tesla blog *implies* Broder is a lying scumbag.'

      That would be more accurate.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      Re: logs don't lie

      "The data on the Tesla blog clearly proves Broder is a lying scumbag."

      I'd qualify that and say they appear to show that.

      But there is no independent chain of evidence one way or the other.

      There might be an argument for an independent body to fit some kind of black box to all cars sent on road tests by companies. If anyone complains they take the test out of archive and publish it for everyone to see. All road tests are subjective after all and you're reading the reviewers impression of the vehicle as much as it's detailed handling and driving qualities.

      Finding (or forming) a body everybody would trust is likely to be tricky.

  7. Simon Rockman
    FAIL

    electric handbrakes

    Are easier to package and reduce build costs. I hate them, them and electric power steering, the Fiat 500 has no feel at all.

    Musk makes himself look a fool taking on trusted journalists like the NY Times and Top Gear, he clearly lives in a world where people say "yes sir, Mr Musk" , and when someone points out that the cars are not very good , or will lunch $60,000 of batteries if it goes fully flat, he throws a hissy fit.

    He should concentrate on rockets where he is almost as good as the SPB, and give up on cars that only rich Californians want.

    The next Tesla, an MPV is called the Tesla X, no doubt to capitalise on the Dragon X.

    1. Silverburn
      Happy

      Re: electric handbrakes

      The next Tesla, an MPV is called the Tesla X, no doubt to capitalise on the Dragon X.

      If it can me and the kids into low earth orbit on the way to Tesco's and in a cost effective and reuseable way, I can't wait to preorder one.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Holmes

    Uhm, yeah

    So the whole NYT article is faked but they're still going to provide new chargers to close the gap ?

    When someone starts telling a completely bogus story about something I build and I know its bogus; heck I can even prove it with logs and such, then there's no way I'm going to invest hundreds if not thousands of dollars to change stuff. Why should I when if I know that it simply works as it should?

    Doesn't quite add up.

    1. Psyx
      Pint

      Re: Uhm, yeah

      "Why should I when if I know that it simply works as it should?"

      Umm... PR?

      Even if it's total crap, the company needs to respond in some way. It happens all the time.

    2. GettinSadda
      Facepalm

      Re: Uhm, yeah

      >"So the whole NYT article is faked but they're still going to provide new chargers to close the gap ?"

      So by that logic, if petrol cars can go 400 miles between filling up, why would anyone put filling stations closer together than 400 miles?

      Tesla are not adding more Super Charger stations because of the NYC article, they were always planning to add more to allow for more flexibility for drivers.

  9. fandom Silver badge

    Tesla's offcial answer

    If you are curious you can read a post-mortem analysis of the test drive by Tesla:

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

    1. GettinSadda

      Re: Tesla's offcial answer

      I love the bit where they catch him out trying to do a Top Gear by spending ages driving around the car park near the Super Charger trying to run the battery flat. He then gets bored when this fails and goes to charge up.

    2. Psyx
      Thumb Up

      Re: Tesla's offcial answer

      Brilliant link. Ta.

      Well worth a look for anyone who was interested enough to bother commenting.

      1. Psyx
        FAIL

        Re: Tesla's offcial answer

        Downvoted by some muppet who'd rather froth without having both sides of the story, one assumes. /rolleyes

        Wilful ignorance is a sad trait.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Personally I dislike having to go to the petrol station and fill up - for my daily commute if I could just plug in at home and / or at work that would be a good thing. If it were a hybrid and could run on petrol for extended range that would be better but of course costs more / more complex to build.

  11. Colin Millar
    Coat

    Just to gratuitously poke a stick at a sleeping fanboi

    Is this in fact the iCar?

    Mustn't use it in cold weather, mustn't take detours - in fact you can only use it in a way previously agreed with the manufacturer.

    Does it also fail if you hold the steering wheel in the wrong place?

    1. Psyx
      Pint

      Re: Just to gratuitously poke a stick at a sleeping fanboi

      No, it fails when you deliberately do everything you can to fuck it up.

      Kind of the 'phone equivalent of pouring water all over it and taking it to a 'Genius' and saying it stopped working.

      And like the example, it seems that both Apple and Tesla have ways of finding out when customers are talking shit to them!

      1. Colin Millar
        Trollface

        Re: Just to gratuitously poke a stick at a sleeping fanboi

        Oh I love these comment forums

        It's like you can prod the wasps nest to see the buzzy things without any of the danger of the stingy bit getting you.

        Right - I'm off to see if I can enrage a tribe of penguins.

        1. James O'Shea Silver badge

          Re: Just to gratuitously poke a stick at a sleeping fanboi

          "I'm off to see if I can enrage a tribe of penguins."

          Easily done. Wave a Samsung laptop at them.

  12. NBCanuck
    Thumb Down

    "..Musk offered Broder a second test drive of the Model S "in a few months," once the new East Coast Superchargers have come online."

    Right.....and when we're into Spriing and not the middle of Winter. Right.

  13. Rick Brasche
    Big Brother

    LOL

    so "normal use" is to sit on your @rse for hours to do what any normal car does in a few minutes?

    And doesn't require the use of a monopolized charger whose very technology is controlled by a single entity?

    Does anyone but me worry about the amount of telemetry Musk was able to get from both the car and charging stations?

    Big Brother Musk is watching you. Correcting the "truthiness" of your narrative.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A Most Peculiar Test Drive ..

    "You may have heard recently about an article written by John Broder from The New York Times that makes numerous claims about the performance of the Model S. We are upset by this article because it does not factually represent Tesla technology, which is designed and tested to operate well in both hot and cold climates" link

  15. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Meh

    There are really 2 issues in this story.

    Is the journo on the level?

    How viable is the Tesla S / supercharger network?

    The link to tesla motors

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

    paints a very different picture to the journo's story. His driving is pretty lead footed and he likes his aircon. And if (as the log seems to show) you don't fully charge the battery (IE a full hour) then you're asking for trouble. Surprise surprise, that's what you get. Journos can't be trusted might be a big shock for US readers, not so much for Europeans.

    Which leaves wheather the Tesla S Supercharger network can deliver the range. The answer seems to be "Yes, if you allow a proper amount of time on your journey for top ups and (if it's a long journey) they've got charge stations on your route."

    Interestingly Tesla claim they sell a lot of vehicles into Scandinavia without problems, which begs the question do the get a special "cold weather" pack? Are Scandinavian garages better insulated?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Holmes

    Broder responds to Tesla Data ..

    'Mr. Straubel said Tesla did not store data on exact locations where their cars were driven because of privacy concerns, although Tesla seemed to know that I had driven six-tenths of a mile “in a tiny 100-space parking lot.”

    While Mr. Musk has accused me of doing this to drain the battery, I was in fact driving around the Milford service plaza on Interstate 95, in the dark, trying to find the unlighted and poorly marked Tesla Supercharger`. link

    With the help of Googlemaps, do you think the Tesla Supercharger was unlit, poorly marked and poorly visible from the parking lot?.

    1. James O'Shea Silver badge

      Re: Broder responds to Tesla Data ..

      Errm... I certainly can't see anything which looks as though it might be a 'supercharger' anywhere near the two points marked on the map as having 'superchargers'. And that pic appears to have been taken in broad daylight. Was it taken _before_ the devices were installed?

      There appear to be lights over to one side of one of the alleged locations of the chargers, and behind the other location. Exactly how much light would be available at night is unclear. One set of lights appear to be high-intensity sodium vapor lamps (at least, that what similar light stands on I-95 down here in Florida carry, I've never set foot in Connecticut and have no idea how they do their highway illumination). If they are, in fact, sodium vapor lamps, then one of the charges is on the edge of a bright, yellowish light, and might indeed be difficult to see depending on the angle of view and its paint job... which I don't know about as the charge doesn't seem to be visible in the pic. Perhaps someone could supply an image of what it looks like?

      And, oh, one of the chargers (if it is, in fact, in the location marked, I don't know 'cause it doesn't show up in the pic) appears to be in a position which would, in fact, be quite difficult to see if approached from the left, though it would be easily visible (if it were there...) if approached from the right. From which direction was Mr. Broder approaching?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        DC to Boston in a Tesla Model S ..

        "Can a Tesla Model S make it from Washington, D.C., to Boston without riding on a flatbed truck?" link

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