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 …

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  1. solidsoup
    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.

    1. Donald Becker

      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.

      1. WatAWorld

        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.

    2. Will's

      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.

      1. WatAWorld

        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.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          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..

        2. Psyx
          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?

          1. The Commenter formally known as Matt
            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.

          2. The Commenter formally known as Matt
            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. Naughtyhorse

            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

            1. The Commenter formally known as Matt

              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.

              1. NumptyScrub

                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 ;)

      2. BitDr

        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?

        1. Vic

          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.

          1. Dave Bell

            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.

  2. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver 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. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another quote from Musk

    Well, Musky the Musk Rat anyway:

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

  4. The Nazz Silver badge

    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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!"

        1. Test Man
          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.

          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%."

      2. AndrueC 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 :)

      3. Alan Dougherty
        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.).

    2. jr424242

      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.)

    3. Naughtyhorse

      Re: From the article ....

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

  5. jr424242

    It Must Be User Error.

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

    1. J. Cook Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: It Must Be User Error.

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

      Mines the one with the faux turtleneck.

  6. graeme leggett

    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. Ashton Black

      Re: Publish the logs and be damned

      They did, somewhat.

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

    2. WatAWorld

      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.

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: The vehicle was being test driven.

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

  7. Don Casey
    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.

    1. Drem

      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.

    2. DuncanB

      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.

    3. Ross Luker
      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....

      1. Psyx

        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?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          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!

          1. John Brown (no body) 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. Dave Bell

              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.

          2. Alan Edwards
            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?

    4. aj87

      Re: Facebook on wheels?

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

  8. WatAWorld

    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.

    1. Will's
      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

      2. EJ
        Facepalm

        Re: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk arguments are pathetic

        "Read better" - hmm. By that you mean read only Musk's account and not the journalist's account.

        And as we all know from reading accounts of people driving into lakes using GPS, Apple phones inflating the bars of cell signal strength, Nissan's TPMS systems reporting low tire pressures when actually the aluminum wheels corroded around the TPMS sensors and interfered with their operation, BMWs that their oil level sensors report oil overfills or low oil when their oil levels are fine.... telemetry is always fail-proof and 100% accurate.

    2. Lutin

      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.

      1. wolfetone
        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.

        1. Psyx
          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.

          1. wolfetone

            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.

            1. Psyx
              Happy

              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."

              I want to be able to buy a supercar that cheaply! They're south of 100k, putting them (Roadster and S) in the 'fast but not a supercar' and 'decent expensive sedan' territories. I'd argue that the Roadster has pretty spectacular performance figures. You can get better, but it's still good.

              "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."

              I would say that you're not really paying for either the performance or the luxury. Instead you're paying for a new facet of design and a new technology, coupled with reduced fuel costs. Back of fag packet maths dictates that over 100,000 miles a 50mpg car would use £12,000 of fuel at today's prices (so... probably twice that over the life of the car, given the stupid way it's ramping up! *rant*). Now that's not currently enough to eclipse the increased purchase cost, but it at least goes some way to explain why anyone would spend the extra money.

              "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."

              And yet iPhones sell, despite phones a quarter of the price being able to do the same job. Some items are simply aspirational in nature. Sometimes we're just happy to pay a premium for a technology that we like, or a product that is unique. After all: Why buy a Ferrari when one can build a kit-car with similar performance for a quarter of the price?

              Cars are an ENORMOUSLY personal choice. They are the second most expensive thing that many people will ever buy and are the means in which we are perhaps judged by most of the people we see (in passing), and so people want something that expresses them and how they want to be seen. Technically Skodas and VWs are pretty much the same now, so why are people paying £5k more for a VW badge on the front? Because image matters to them. There's nothing inherently wrong with that.

            2. Plantiful

              Re: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk arguments are pathetic

              Actually, you are paying a high price for a Tesla due to the technology and research that has been put into this most significant advance in transportation. The Tesla can give you a round trip of over 250 miles, whereas a Leaf is only good for 70-100 miles (a commuting vehicle).

              As more, open-minded people buy these types of vehicles, there will be more infrastructure to build them, and prices will come down.

    3. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      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!

      :-)

      1. wolfetone

        Re: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk arguments are pathetic

        Pfft, I bet if Broder had Musk's money he could! And besides, Broder doesn't have a stupid sounding name, unlike Musk. "Elon Musk", sounds like a crappy game you'd get on the Atari in the 70's....

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk arguments are pathetic

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

        I think I'm with Mr. Plouzhnikov on this one :-)

        Seriously though, I have to say that having read this journalist's article by chance in the IHT, what immediately sprang up to my mind was "he's just trying to write a polemic article so he gets talked about".

        There might be small shortcomings or really serious flaws with Tesla's products, or electric cars in general, I do not know, and from that man's article I would be none the wiser so what use is his writing to me? It wasn't even entertaining.

    4. Naughtyhorse
      Joke

      Re: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk arguments are pathetic

      "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."

      dig upwards duuuuude

    5. Snake
      Thumb Down

      Re: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk arguments are pathetic

      Your post is a joke because your reading comprehension is simply poor, right?

      I simply LOVE this 'correspondence':

      Musk: Broder says he set the cruise control to 54mph, when in fact he drove at between 65mph and 81mph for the whole trip.

      Broder: That's not how I remember it. Maybe the calculations are wrong, because Tesla actually sent me a car with the wrong size wheels.

      Wrong size wheels. LOL. Dozens of prior tests from dozens of different automotive journalists, using this *precise* car, but *you* got "wrong size wheel" which simply MUST have altered the facts.

      Wow.

      Let's add:

      Musk: Broder took an unplanned, lengthy detour through downtown Manhattan to purposefully drain the car's battery further.

      Broder: I took an approximately two-mile detour through Manhattan – not downtown – just as I told Tesla I would.

      There is NO SUCH THING as a "two-mile detour through Manhattan" on a trip between Washington DC and Boston. There are only 1 major road going along the corridor of that route - the New Jersey Turnpike - up to the level of NYC. And along that corridor there are only 4 opportunities to cross the Hudson River to travel between New Jersey and New York: the Gothals Bridge to Staten Island which connects to the Verrazano Bridge and Long Island and beyond; the Holland Tunnel to lower Manhattan; the Lincoln Tunnel to midtown Manhattan and the George Washington Bridge to Washington Heights in upper Manhattan island.

      Unless one sticks only to the neighborhood of Washington Heights - and that is a specific destination who's proper name is used - getting **anywhere** else in "Manhattan" from the DC to Boston route requires FAR MORE than just "two miles". For example, the first exit off the GWB in the southerly direction is the Henry Hudson Parkway / West Side Highway south, and the first exit is Riverside Park @ 151st Street - a distance of 1.6 miles. One way. And the exit ramp puts you into a PARK, it is another 0.6 miles to get to the first street intersection at 158th Street. To turn around EXACTLY at that point - pretty much nowhere, almost no one lives at that junction - is about 1 mile back. That's almost 3 miles...and you didn't truly go anywhere. Off the route, to nowhere, back again. Did he really pick someone up at 158th street?! Really?!

      The next, "true" exit with larger populations and any services going south off the route is 125th Street - 2.3 miles. One way.

      The Lincoln Tunnel / Holland Tunnel trips are no better and almost always suffer delays, which means his heating system would have been running even if the wheels hadn't been turning. Gothals? He said "Manhattan" and that connections ONLY leads to Staten Island, then Long Island beyond, so that is off the list.

      IN OTHER WORDS: As Musk stays, Broder is simply LYING. The roads and traffic patterns of NYC speak the truth for themselves. It is pretty much IMPOSSIBLE to just go "two miles" as a NYC detour!

      1. ecofeco Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk arguments are pathetic

        ...and there you have it.

    6. Master Rod

      Re: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk arguments are pathetic

      Your comment is pathetic. You have already made up your mind to speak negatively of the Tesla S. Yes! You need to charge it full before use. You don't say, well, I'm only going to the store, then go on a joy ride with the vehicle half discharged, then complain it left you are out in the woods somewhere! Only an idiot would go half cocked in a half charged EV. Stick to what ever it is you know about, and go drive your gas hog. Good Day.!

    7. austerusz

      Re: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk arguments are pathetic

      You obviously didn't read Musk's article.

      According to Musk, the car *didn't fail*

      Logs (that are now public) show the car still had charge and there was no failure recording. The "reporter" first said that the car ran our of charge. Then he said that maybe it didn't but it shutdown anyway, despite the recordings.

      The guy was instructed to do some things and chose to not do them. I would argue that he was right to test the car outside of parameters because it is interesting to customers to see what a failure margin it has, but he has no right to claim he did everything as told when he obviously didn't.

      The car had the supercharge system and the statement was "if you use supercharging, then the range is extended by that much". The guy turned it off and then claimed it didn't reach the extended range. Well ... d'uh! If you turn of the system that helps extend the range, it is common sense it won't reach that range .... but yet the car reported it had charge *despite* that. To me that's a plus for Tesla.

      The guy already lied about some things, even if the rest as just an error, he showed at least poor judgement.

    8. starfall

      Re: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk arguments are pathetic

      Nice hatchet job, but no factual basis for your reply.

      Musk's response is to illustrate that there was a pattern of irregularities - with the accusation that it was due to dishonestly - in the actual review.

      His argument was that even if you drove a petrol car, and did it against common sense, such as leaving the filling station for a 61 mile trip when your car's computer says it has only 32 miles of range left, it almost certain you would be stuck on the side of the road too.

    9. TheRealRoland
      Unhappy

      Re: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk arguments are pathetic

      Sounds to me this car is perfectly suited for driving in California. Fine. Keep it there. That NYTimes article only reinforces my idea about this car. Which is probably the reason why Tesla will keep trying to fight and win this PR kerfuffle.

      Sat in one over the weekend, was disappointed with the legroom and headroom, absence of cooled (!) seats for a car in this price range, and that horrible touchscreen in the center console, with virtual buttons that are way too small to properly touch without looking.

    10. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk arguments are pathetic

      Your argument fails straight on 1. If someone deliberately fills their tank with less petrol than it requires to reach their destination and subsequently the car runs out of fuel, the only conclusion that can be drawn is they're an idiot or attempting to prove a retarded point.

      It's no different if the car is electric or not. Your other points fail along similar lines - the cabin temperature can be anything you like but if you deliberately jack it up to drain power then your car will have less miles. Regardless of the engine underneath.

    11. Plantiful

      Re: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk arguments are pathetic

      As an owner of a Nissan Leaf, you do have to keep an eye on how much energy you have on board, just like in any kind of vehicle. You run out of gas, your car stops. You run your car at 80 mph on a near empty tank, you will need to be towed away. Electric heating takes about 10% of the range off and hard acceleration and highway speeds are less efficient than gentle starts and slower speeds. This is true for gasoline engines as well.

      If I could have afforded a Tesla Model S, I would certainly have bought one. This is the newest form of transportation, and people need to know how to operate it properly, if they are to take advantage of the benefits that electric cars offer: 75% reduction in "fuel" costs, little to no maintenance, great acceleration, and much less carbon pollution (the Leaf gets 72 MPGe where I am operating it, due to the nature of our electricity).

      People need to use their brains a little more.

    12. Valpey

      Re: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk arguments are pathetic

      1.) No, Musk just points out that the car was only charged to 90% at the first supercharger station (I don't think it is disputed that the car readout said "charge complete" at this point) and 72% at the second. By taking advantage of the superchargers, the debacle could have been easily averted, but this alone did not prevent the trip from succeeding.

      2.) It was Broder who said that he kept the temperature set low implying he spent much of the trip driving in a cold cabin. Musk shows that the cabin temp was mostly set at typical levels (and for the specific point in time that Broder chronicles was not set to 64; that didn't happen until 70 miles later - apparently the amount of time it took Broder to work out the mental math). This is one way in which Broder's article misleads.

      3.) Again, it was Broder who suggested he spent much of the trip driving at 54 mph. This is not remotely true. Musk is simply pointing out that Broder lied about how slowly he drove (or when and how much of the trip he spent going slowly). But this did not cause the trip to fail.

      4.) I'm not sure what the contention is with Manhattan. Broder describes it as "After a short break in Manhattan" and Musk calls it "an unplanned detour through downtown Manhattan to give his brother a ride". Petty complaint maybe. Not the reason the trip failed.

      5.) The point is that the car gives fairly good information about range and a motorist cooperating with the car would have obviously had a successful trip. If there is a failure on the Tesla's part, it is that it is probably giving range estimates in more typical conditions (I don't know what "EPA Rated Range" is), maybe failing to account for the temperature (both for battery temp efficiency and cabin heater load) or driver behavior. A cooperative driver would have undoubtedly fully charged at the supercharging station in Milford.

      The big mistake was not plugging the car in overnight (or an illustration of the weakness of the EV, if you prefer); when parked overnight in very cold conditions, the battery loses charge. Broder didn't account for this when he stopped charging at 73% in Milford (after 47 minutes of charging while writing in his article that he charged for 58 minutes). But once he woke up to find that the car had lost charge overnight, and traveled to the charging station in Norwich, it is inexplicable that he would get back on the road with 32 miles of range for a 61 mile trip. Broder claims "and after an hour they cleared me to resume the trip to Milford". But in his response he states, "The Tesla personnel whom I consulted over the phone – Ms. Ra and Mr. Merendino – told me to leave it connected for an hour, and after that the lost range would be restored. I did not ignore their advice." Grammatically, the first claim sounds as if he had a conversation and received "clearance" after charging for an hour (implying they had knowledge that the range estimate was only 32 miles), while the response sounds like he had a conversation before charging for an hour. I do think this is indicative of how the review gets away from itself in conveying truth.

      I might agree that Broder wasn't overtly trying to sabotage his trip, but he did do the minimum in operator effort. Why would you, after experiencing what you claimed was a bad experience in cautiously slow driving, cold cabin temps, and actual range underperforming EPA rated range, not charge the car for another 10 or 20 minutes to give yourself a cushion (especially knowing how uncharacteristically cold it was outside - or that you planned to leave it parked not charging in freezing temps overnight)?

  9. WatAWorld

    Broder was too slack with Tesla, and doubtless other car makers

    If John Broder was a proper journalist he'd have gotten the Tesla anonymously from a dealer or a past customer, rather than accepting a specially tuned and prepped vehicle from Tesla.

    Broder's downfall as a journalist was that he was too lax on Telsa. A reporter should never claim a specially prepared vehicle is typical of what consumers will receive.

    This is a big problem with entertainment, travel and automobile journalists, they lack the journalistic independence and journalistic integrity of real journalists. They accept specially prepared products and report on them as if they were standard stock, they accept special treatment, trips, meals and other rewards which totally undermine journalistic integrity.

    1. Dummy00001
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Broder was too slack with Tesla, and doubtless other car makers

      RTFA carefully. It wasn't test of the car - it was the test of the Tesla's Supercharger station network.

      Network is apparently OK. Car... well we knew the limitations of e-cars beforehand, but Musk comments have simply inflated the story's newsworthiness.

      Now it's more about bashing the car manufacturers and/or the auto reviewers.

  10. Sproggit
    FAIL

    The Balance Of Evidence

    This second round of claim and counter-claim brings some useful additional data to the table. Fortunately, we can ignore most of it, as stated here, as a bit of "he said, she said". What we can't do, however, is ignore the facts.

    Our NYT journalist, in their article, made very clear mention of the fact that they used cruise control in order to preserve battery life. If you look at the analysis data provided by Tesla, it is impossible to spot any period of the test drive during which cruise control was active - the vehicle speed is just a series of irregular spikes, even when on a sustained run. Point 1 to Tesla...

    Where our NYT journo did get specific about aspects of the journey - for example he was very clear and precise in terms of reporting different vehicle speeds, taken from the dashboard of a car on which the speed is very, very easy to read. The data from the trace - and this is clearly visible - reports very different speeds. Point 2 to Tesla...

    Our journalist is also very specific about the timing of charges during the journey. Once again, the Tesla trace data reports this very differently. It is important to note with this point that whilst in his latest response our journo replies with the answer that he was doing what the people from Tesla told him to do... or that he stopped charging when the range indicator said the vehicle had enough charge... Thinking about that, it almost makes sense on the surface. However, if you gave me a car capable of 40mpg for a test drive, and I put 2 gallons of fuel in the tank for a 50 mile drive, I think you'd agree that in reasonable conditions it would get me there. But if I drove around at 6000rpm in 1st gear, chances are it would not. So the response that "I stopped charging when the guage said I should get there..." is a little specious if the unfinished remainder of the sentence is, "... and then drove like a plonker to ensure I wouldn't." Point 3 to Tesla.

    Final thought. Whilst I'd concede that Musk's rebuttal is a bit heavy on the righteous indignation, it is very clearly supported by graphically presented, factual data, captured from the actual vehicle performing the actual test drive. I notice with keen interest that whilst the journalist is very heavy on responses, at not one point does he respond with: "Your data is wrong." That speaks volumes.

    [ Oh, FWIW, I'd consider myself a complete petrolhead and have zero interest EVs... but in this case it looks like a journalist being caught out trying to make up a salacious story and being caught in the act... ]

    1. wolfetone

      Re: The Balance Of Evidence

      If you're in traffic and your on cruise control, your not going to have a constant speed. Also, on the one car I drove with Cruise Control on it as soon as you press the brake pedal the cruise control disengages for safety. So in reality, while the journalist may not have driven it steadily, he still drove it in a way similar to that of a normal car, which is something that this Tesla is going up against.

      1. Snake
        Thumb Down

        Re: The Balance Of Evidence

        Ridiculous.

        The PROBLEM is that most reply posters are from UK, and know NOTHING about the roads that Broder must take to accomplish the trip.

        The I-95 corridor from Washington DC to the Delaware Water Gap, a distance of 66.1 miles, is at most points 6 lanes wide (3 each side). In many places, for example around Baltimore, MD, the I-95 corridor is a "superhighway" at EIGHT LANES WIDE.

        Once you cross the Delaware Water Gap via the Delaware Memorial Bridge, you join the lower section of the New Jersey Turnpike / I-95 which is 4 lanes wide (2 lanes each side)...but only up to exit 7. Going northbound, from exit 7 to the George Washington Bridge exit - a distance of 68.6 miles - it expands to 6 then 8 lanes wide. It then splits into two "spurs" - east and west - EACH with 6 lanes! That's TWELVE TOTAL LANES of traffic!

        Once below Elizabeth and the Holland Tunnel junctions, on "most" days a cruise control can EASILY be set for the going rate of speed. Which is usually 10 to 15 MPH over the speed limit :D

        DON'T give me the line that you can't use cruise control on the NJ Turnpike. You don't know what you are talking about.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Balance Of Evidence

      This is totally correct.

      [FWIW I also consider myself a bit of a car nut, I have a MK Indy, for summer fun and track days, but my daily drive is an electric car. You see I enjoy the performance of the EV and I love the cost of the fuel! (though this does mean i end up putting my foot down a bit more than I should as it's guilt free.. oops) now I'm not stupid, I don't want any compromises with my car so I bought an Ampera with a petrol range extender. I drive every day on electric and when I need longer journeys I put petrol in it and drive.. it's a winning combination and the only way an electric car would work for me, and it does work. A Battery only EV would not have suited my needs. but the EV I drive does. EV's don't always fit the stereotype!]

      1. Psyx
        Pint

        Re: The Balance Of Evidence

        It's nice that we're finally reaching the time where one can be a petrolhead and not somehow emasculated in the eyes of other car fiends for thinking that electric has a place on the roads.

        For me, it's Tesla that made that sea change. I can't afford one, I'll never get one, but with those performance figures and styling the Roadster has certainly earned a spot on my 'top 20 cars I'd buy if I had the money' list.

    3. Naughtyhorse

      Re: The Balance Of Evidence

      and on the other hand the data presented by tesla is all bollocks - all bets are off

      1. Psyx
        Stop

        Re: The Balance Of Evidence

        Citation?

        Why are you willing to believe one undocumented side and discard the documentation of the other?

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: The Balance Of Evidence @ Psyx

          In the article, the journo says that the wheels were the wrong size. This might affect the data if the rolling diameter was altered, but which way depends on whether the diameter was increased or decreased, and how much by how great the difference is. However, the car would probably have had to have been on 10" Mini rims to have made the difference claimed!!

          1. Psyx
            Thumb Up

            Re: The Balance Of Evidence @ Psyx

            "In the article, the journo says that the wheels were the wrong size. This might affect the data if the rolling diameter was altered, but which way depends on whether the diameter was increased or decreased, and how much by how great the difference is. However, the car would probably have had to have been on 10" Mini rims to have made the difference claimed!!"

            Agreed. Unless of course the speedo in the 'black box' was GPS-based (I suspect it might well have been given the GPS-generated mapp released with the tracking data). Analogue speedos on petrol cars are notoriously unreliable, and if you do the maths, even the difference between new and near-bald tyres makes a couple of mph difference.

          2. David Kelly 2

            Re: The Balance Of Evidence @ Psyx

            "In the article, the journo says that the wheels were the wrong size."

            No, in the chat log the "journalist" was only guessing the wheels were the wrong size causing the speedometer to read 54 MPH for claimed 65+ which was logged. Skipping the fact the data log was reading speed from the same source as the speedometer. Skipping the fact he had no disagreement with the distance mileage. Or that he didn't notice any discrepancy in his indicated speed vs prevailing speed. Quite the contrary, he said he was blocking traffic at 54 MPH and the logs say he was driving much faster.

            I have no love lost for EVs but I believe Musk is correct in that the NYT spun this "test". But sadly haven't we come to expect that of the NYT?

          3. Vic

            Re: The Balance Of Evidence @ Psyx

            > However, the car would probably have had to have been on 10" Mini rims to have made the difference claimed!!

            You do know the formula to calculate the circumference of a circle, right?

            54mph to 60mph is an error of about 10%. A difference of 10% in the tyre diameter will make that happen. You don't need 10" wheels for that...

            Vic.

    4. Steve Knox
      FAIL

      Re: The Balance Of Evidence

      What we can't do, however, is ignore the facts.

      Hear hear!

      If you look at the analysis data provided by Tesla...

      The data from the trace [provided by Tesla...

      Once again, the Tesla trace data...

      So all of your "facts" depend on Tesla's data being correct.

      You haven't so much ignored the facts as thrown them away in favor of one side's story.

      The facts can be summarized thusly:

      The reporter tried to drive an expensive vehicle.

      The drive did not go well.

      The reporter wrote a review panning the vehicle.

      The vehicle's manufacturer subsequently blamed the reporter.

      The manufacture has published some numbers which they claim to be the log of the reporter's journey.

      Pretty much everything else depends on whom you're predisposed to believe.

      1. Master Rod

        Re: The Balance Of Evidence

        Computers don't lie! Reporters do. Wow! Did you even finish school?

    5. protection money

      Re: The Balance Of Evidence

      "Musk's rebuttal (...) is very clearly supported by graphically presented, factual data,"

      You seem to be blinded by "not contestable evidences".

      You don't know how these data were produced, if they were tampered, and more importantly, how to understand them.

      A specific point which makes me sympathetic to the journalist (for a time, since is not usual of me) :

      Musk says the battery was "never ran out of charge".

      However, Broder says that "the car spontaneously shut itself down anyway and had to be towed", a fact which has been confirmed by the towing company.

      That the battery system preserves a minimum level of charge in order to remain rechargeable is a technical detail. As a conceptor of the vehicle, Musk knows full well the difference between "there is not an electron left in the battery" and "the car shut itself down". For any normal being, the second sentence is equivalent to "my battery ran out of charge", while the first is equivalent to "my battery is flat dead".

      That Musk tried to tamper evidence interpretations by deliberately mixing distorded technical details tells a lot about its mood and honesty.

      This makes me look all other elements of his "not contestable evidence" with a bit of scepticism.

      Besides, Tesla is known for aggressively suing any media company which does not say nice things about them. Ask BBC, ask "Top Gear". They even sue their own users when they have a bad experience and tend to be too vocal on public forums. Musk also attempted to "erase from history" one of Tesla co-founders and went to court on this. This is a terrible pattern, and tells a lot about the company's mind.

    6. Alan Edwards
      Thumb Up

      Re: The Balance Of Evidence

      > used cruise control in order to preserve battery life

      I once drove an A-Class that would drop down a gear in cruise control where it would stay in top on the same bit of road when not in cruise control. CC tends to be more aggressive with the throttle to maintain speed.

      > the vehicle speed is just a series of irregular spikes, even when on a sustained run. Point 1 to Tesla...

      Not necessarily. On a motorway in traffic you will always be dropping in and out of cruise as you come up on something slower and have to wait to pull out and pass. Also, if you're using GPS to get the speed it will be all over place because of the inaccuracy of GPS. Should be within about 5mph though, maybe with bigger spikes if the GPS loses and regains lock.

  11. Alex Walsh

    And the CNN posse did the same trip without a single problem. fromage frais Rodney...

    1. Anonymous Coward
    2. Dummy00001
      Thumb Down

      Read it in full. And probably read it again to let it sink.

      Quote from the article:

      "Tesla has a load of instructions to maximize battery power, and I think I followed them pretty well."

      That is not the counter. It is more or less confirmation of the Broder's experience: unless you drive perfectly, couple of wrong turns or missed exists mean you might have to call the towing service.

  12. GitMeMyShootinIrons

    Foolish response.

    I'm not especially a fan of electric cars - the poor range characteristics and cost being my issue (just doesn't suit my usage). However, I think Musk has rather fallen into a common mistake when handling reviews - he keeps giving them the oxygen of publicity with his rants (right or wrong). He's being a tad over-sensitive, which betrays one of a number of flaws. He's either lacking in faith in his investment and over-compensating, or overly protective of 'his baby' and doing likewise. Either way, he needs better anger management. This is the press he's dealing with and they tend to be a little prone to dramatisation for a good story (look at media coverage on global warming for that - probably done the cause more harm than good).

    History is littered with similar examples of overreaction - the Peter Wright book Spycatcher wouldn't have sold in as big numbers had the UK government simply ignored it. Likewise, the Satanic Verses. People are more cynical these days. They aren't as lead by individual reviews as they once were. Musk should take a lesson from other car manufacturers - odd bad reviews happen, just don't feed the troll.

    1. Naughtyhorse

      Re: Foolish response.

      and don't pick arguments with people who buy ink by the barrel

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Foolish response.

      No.

      A lesson learned from things like the CNW Dust To Dust Hummer v Prius bollocks and the "Swiftboat" incident in the 2004 US Presidential Election is that you have to respond quickly and strongly because otherwise the public has moved on and bullshit headlines stick.

      In this case Tesla would be quite happy for people to know and follow the details since knowing the details would reduce the damage. With the books they really didn't want people to know the details so they should have left it well alone.

      1. Psyx
        Thumb Up

        Re: Foolish response.

        "A lesson learned from things like the CNW Dust To Dust Hummer v Prius bollocks and the "Swiftboat" incident in the 2004 US Presidential Election is that you have to respond quickly and strongly because otherwise the public has moved on and bullshit headlines stick."

        Agreed.

        People who already made their minds made up will be intractable on the issue of course, but those people aren't the ones being appealed to anyway, because there is clearly no point in doing so. If one thinks electric cars are crap, you'll never buy one and so your opinion matters feck all to Tesla. It's the 'swing voters' like myself who are undecided on the matter who it's worth trying to reason with and aim a counter-argument at.

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: Foolish response.

          Nope - this make Musk come across as a defensive twat who you wouldn't trust to run a fairground ride. I don't see from this how he is different from Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, or that objectionable individual at Oracle whose name I've forgotten. I don't have anything to do with any company being run by psychopaths that stand out from the rest of the psychopaths running big companies.

          It's a shame, because I really like what Musk is doing with SpaceX.

          1. Psyx
            Pint

            Re: Foolish response.

            "Nope - this make Musk come across as a defensive twat who you wouldn't trust to run a fairground ride."

            I personally feel otherwise. In his shoes - and equipped with telemetry - I'd have been pretty narked off and published it as well. Journalists tend to lie, and they get away with it far to often.

            Imagine something amazingly valuable to you (wife, kid, home, pet project or whatever) being slandered in the press and you can prove the journo was lying. Would you not be indignant?

      2. Master Rod

        Re: Foolish response.

        And the only way for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Well, Elon Musk is a good man, and he did something to right a wrong. Broder should be writing about school plays, or girls soccer, not a review of a most admirable care, the Tesla S. He is woefully over his head.

    3. Master Rod

      Re: Foolish response.

      Odd bad news does not happen. It is manufactured. Elon is merely providing data from the cars computer that correlates, substantiates, and verifies that what he says is correct(truth), and what the low rent reporter says is incorrect(lie). Besides, computers don't lie. People do.

  13. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Stop

    I wonder why this test drive totally contradicts all previous drives and reports from other independent agencies.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      please link to any chosen independant agency not including "baneveryfossilfuelcar weekly" elon musk is god monthly or the like

      1. Psyx
        Thumb Up

        Scroll up about a dozen posts, and there's one there.

      2. Chad H.

        How about CNN?

        http://money.cnn.com/2013/02/15/autos/tesla-model-s/

  14. JDX Gold badge

    Really Musk?

    Rather than let a bad review disappear in a week, you want to get everyone reading it with a childish spat?

  15. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge
    Go

    ... and when is El Reg going to review this car?

    C'mon guys, I know you can!

  16. Ed 13
    Facepalm

    Keeping it in the public eye

    "There's no such thing as bad publicity"

    This "argument" (a full five days, not the original 5mins) has significantly raised the profile of the car. Having a shouty CEO is part of that process.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    It doesn't matter who's right anymore

    All this bickering does is lower the credibility of Tesla dramatically. People haven't forgotten their (lost!) lawsuit against the BBC (Top Gear). And those same people are very likely reading all this thinking "here they go again...".

    Its a given that companies who produce a product aren't very keen on bad reviews. You see this happening a lot in the gaming market where some companies actually push out some extra bucks in order to get positive reviews. This was already the case in the C64 era (games magazine covering $new_game and being very positive about it while also featuring 2 full-page ads for that same game. Yeah right....) and it still holds true today.

    But the last you should do is start a public fight. As this article well indicates; the people are left in the dark about who's right (they can only speculate), it only costs time and money and in the end won't change a thing. At best you can simply get other media outlets to give this car a trial run.

    Maybe Top Gear US would like to have a shot at it? When looking at the massive downvotes those guys got on YouTube I'd say it could be a win-win combination ;-)

    1. Rob Carriere

      Re: It doesn't matter who's right anymore

      Actually, it never mattered to start with. Both parties effectively agree that using a model S to drive from New York to Boston is an adventure. That, all by itself, is enough to condemn the vehicle to niche-market status.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It doesn't matter who's right anymore

      You see, that's what happens when people only get the headlines.

      Do you know why they lost to Top Gear? Because the BBC lawyers argued successfully that Top Gear is merely an entertainment show and therefore isn't expected to be accurate. Or in other words "Yes, we lied, but we always lie so that makes it OK."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It doesn't matter who's right anymore

        Of course without this specialised and, at the time of the top gear 'review', non-existant super charging network Top Gear were 100% correct to demonstrate the consequences of trying to drive an electric car without an adequate refueling infrastructure.

        Oh and unless El Reg's reporting is seriously substandard the judge did not agree with you in his judgement http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/10/21/high_court_rules_for_top_gear_in_tesla_libel_case/

        PS - I think EM is doing a bloody good job with Tesla Motors and pushing the boundries of EV technology and is really the first person to seriously solve the rechare problem that has always been the problem for EV's.

        Oh and even though I am a car nut, I don't own one as I live in the middle of a city and we have Car2Go service if I need it.

  18. Camilla Smythe

    Speed Limits...

    Musk: Broder says he set the cruise control to 54mph, when in fact he drove at between 65mph and 81mph for the whole trip.

    Broder: That's not how I remember it. Maybe the calculations are wrong, because Tesla actually sent me a car with the wrong size wheels.

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

    Delaware, Milford and Norwich....

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

    Looks like the test took part in New Jersey where the speed limit is 65mph. Broder regularly drove at 70mph and exceeded that.... could be pushing a point but perhaps US plod might wish to have a word.

    1. Camilla Smythe

      Re: Speed Limits...

      No... Seriously Down Voters.

      Mr Musk apparently has evidence that Mr Broder 'broke the law' and did so repeatedly..

      Broder: That's not how I remember it. Maybe the calculations are wrong, because Tesla actually sent me a car with the wrong size wheels.

      I would assume that the logging software recorded the same information that was provided to the driver and therefore the driver, if they were paying attention, would have recognised something was amiss rather than booting it up to 81mph.... Brum Brum, errr Whine Whine.

      Either Mr Broder has 'broke the law', and needs some tickets, or Mr Musk is telling porkies about how his 'car' logs stuff.

      1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

        Re: Speed Limits...

        Depends how the logging stuff is set up. It might be the Speedo is going off the wheels/gearbox whilst the logger uses GPS (sort of like the black boxes the insurance company uses). Of course, if that's the case I'd question why there isn't a logging system to check the two numbers are the same (to a tolerance) as I'd want to know if my speed was 15-20MPH out

        Either Mr Broder has 'broke the law', and needs some tickets, or Mr Musk is telling porkies about how his 'car' logs stuff.

        I've a sneaky suspicion that the truth may require you to change that or to an and.

      2. Steve Knox

        Re: Speed Limits...

        Mr Musk apparently has evidence that Mr Broder 'broke the law' and did so repeatedly..

        Mr Musk has no evidence that would stand up in a criminal court.

        The only evidence he has has been in the unsupervised custody of an interested party with the means to falsify it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Coffee/keyboard

          Re: Speed Limits...

          Aren't there traffic cameras on the turnpike? I'm sure the logs from the car could be correlated with the cameras and show the average speed between the two points, but not that the driver was cruising along at a constant speed as opposed to yo-yoing in and out of traffic at wildly different speeds (like they drive here in Atlanta).

  19. Sutton Stourmead
    IT Angle

    They are both dancing on the head of a pin - All car manufacturers want all reviews to be done in as controlled a way as possible (therefore 'what it says on the tin' cant be contested, and negativity reduced), and journo's want to publish an interesting and attention grabbing story , it's their job to sell column inches after all... Who would want to read something saying Electric car, was fine, no problems, gave it back, the end.

    I remeber when Aston Martin were less than pleased when Vicky Butler-Henderson snapped a belt on a DB7, and admonished her negative reviewof the car - basically nobody was expected to actually 'push' the fabulous sports car close to it's limit... to which she basically replied wtf is the point of it then?

    Same here - Tesla want a 'test condition' car review which just isnt comparable with a standard user doing standard things in the real world at this current time - give it a few years though.....

    1. TheRealRoland

      @Sutton Stourmead

      Ah, Vicki... Tiff... Quentin...

  20. TeeCee Gold badge
    Mushroom

    Let me just fix that.

    "...what is at stake for sustainable transportmy bank balance is simply too important to the world to ignore."

    A Tesla S is sustainable transport in the same way that a BMW X6 is a hatchback for the school run. The fact that some rich twat will tell you it is doesn't make them right.

    1. Psyx
      Thumb Up

      Re: Let me just fix that.

      Sod the planet: I want 0-60 in under 4 seconds!!

  21. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Interesting development

    CNN have just completed the same trip and had no problems, even though they did a 30 mile detour to avoid traffic, only to get held up in traffic!

    1. TheRealRoland

      Re: Interesting development

      @people pointing to cnn:

      - same conditions? Same test approach?

      If not, no comparison.

      Any fule kno that batteries will have problems when cold.

      So keeping the car sit overnight w/o a full charge, may very well cause problems the next day.

      At the same day the original review was posted, another article about e-cars in the Netherlands was posted. I'm paraphrasing here: a guy driving the Opel Ampera was shifting his driving habits because 'when the battery is warmer, I can drive further.'

      So, to say 'CNN did it w/o any issues, so NYT is a liar' doesn't fly.

  22. Test Man
    Flame

    If this episode has taught me anything, it's that electric cars are STILL an amazing faff to use, compared to a normal petrol car. I for one won't be touching one with a bargepole.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      I know! Weird! It's like the charging infrastructure doesn't exist.

      I wonder how it worked with petrol... Presumably all the petrol stations were losing money hand over fist before the petrol car was invented.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge
        Holmes

        I think just hurt myself laughing.

  23. ecofeco Silver badge
    Holmes

    A Cold Day in Hell

    No vehicle performs well in extreme weather.

    Rule number one in ANY long distance trip: fill up, ALL the way up, and fill often.

    As for this he said/she said? There is enough of the teh stupid to go around.

    But... there has been a clear and chartable trend of the media to try and discredit Tesla since day one that is far and above just healthy skepticism. Because of that, I have to give Tesla the benefit of the doubt on this one.

  24. bRick
    Stop

    The only fair way to test it would be to take the exact same amount of money that was spent fueling the electric car and spend it on petrol, and then trying to repeat the journey in a petrol car.

  25. GotThumbs
    Boffin

    forget this "journalists" individual experience and look at the %'s

    If you want to base the quality of a car and it's company on the "Facts" of this one "Journalist" than that's your choice.

    Personally, I think the guys is a tool and DID write the story to fit his desired intent. It was not going to be a fair and unbiased review.

    Anyone. Anyone who thinks the media is unbiased is lying to themselves. Not since the likes of Walter Cronkite, has a "Journalist" made any attempts to be fair and unbiased. Just listen to today's "Reporters" and "News Readers". They relish in the opportunity at adding their own personal comments to "Spice" up the story. I couldn't care less, what they think. I want to know the uncolored facts of the story. Today's media's mission is to stir up a story and the public emotions....regardless of the consequences.

    As Detective Friday in Dragnet would say: "Just the facts Ma'am, just the facts"

    Let the readers/listens make up their own minds. Just give us ALL the facts to work with.

    Best wishes on YOUR choice of vehicle purchase,

  26. Master Rod

    Viva Tesla!

    Elon! You're a genius! Broder! your an idiot! There! That is the definitive. I would love for a university to bestow an Honorary PhD to Mr. Musk. Any man who can cover his tracks as he did, did damn well at research. Congratulations Elon and Tesla. As for the New York Times, what? You trying to over take Fox News in the bullshit department? Well, you still have a ways to go. As soon as I can afford it, I'm getting an S for me and the X for my wife. Woo! Hoooo! No more gasoline bills!

  27. austerusz

    What I find apalling is the whole "logic" of the situation.

    A car maker sends cars for tests. One tester makes not just a negative review, but launches some fairly wile accusations.

    Anybody in the press questions him? No, what he says it's golden, after all he comes from Top Gear, no?

    The car maker wants to rebuff the statements made by said tester. Immediately they are labelled as troublemakers, tit-for-tatters. Anybody stops to question the initial article? No, fingers point at Tesla. "They're spying on drivers", "they have no place to argue", etc, etc.

    Why not? They have the right to defend the product and it's quite astonishing that the point is not they caught one guy lying outright but the question is how they managed that. Apparently the press got used to being able to just make stuff up and it's a problem when some people got the means to unravel the lies.

  28. Master Rod
    Thumb Up

    There are many idiot journalists out there....

    And Broder is one of them. I do recommend that Tesla not give out their cars for tests by biased individuals and journalists. That is why I dropped my subscriptions to Motor Trend, Road and Track, etc. Too much Bias and Whinning! Ohhh my God, it is not as fast as a Ferrari, nor as comfortable as a Bentley, nor as pretty as a Maserati. Nope, but my VW Jetta is fast -130mph, comfortable contoured seating, and elegantly simple design. These journalists are as lame, and arrogant as they come. To hell with them. Keep up the good fight Elon and Tesla. Hope to be able to afford one or two of your vehicles soon.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/thumb_up_32.png

  29. Errollus

    I sympathize with Broder thinking the Tesla can do miracles!

    " I sympathize with Broder. When one drives the Tesla one is inclined to say: Oh boy, I never have to buy gas again, I can drive and drive and drive, in crazy comfort, with ultimate power under my feet, for ever, for free. That's what it does to one. It's hard to think straight. I drove one over the recent holiday period for several weeks, every day, touring around Colorado. It was bliss. I passed gas stations, saw the queues, and I felt sort of puzzled, guilty almost, but also elated. But unfortunately, even though much less expensive, one has to top up with electricity at intervals. I would start the day with about 220 miles available on the clock, drive all day and evening, and end the day with more than 200 miles still available. This was the regeneration system at work, of course. I would then plug the car in (that takes about 30 seconds) at night, on a slow charge, and have about 225 miles available the next morning. In Denver that cost me less than $2 (8c/kWhr). Then off I would go, day after day. Oh, and I drove in sub-zero temperatures with the climate-control on at 72 degrees. I changed this to 68 degrees when the ladies complained of being too warm! What a marvel this car is!

  30. Herby
    Coat

    Why are they arguing about this?

    We all know that the ability to charge an electric vehicle is a time consuming process. It is a fact of life. Having the "supercharging" stations just takes the ability to charge down to a smaller number. When I fill up my wonderful SUV with 20+ gallons (US) of fuel, it takes less than 15 minutes (longer if I wait in line). With that I can travel from here in Sillycon valley all the way to the Los Angeles area on a SINGLE tank of gas (petrol). These internal combustion engines are wonderful having been perfected over the course of 100 (or more) years to be prime movers.

    While the nice sleek electric vehicles are nice, they just don't have the ability to "tank up" quickly for a 300+ mile drive. The only thing that might get you there is when you have swappable batteries, but that is problematical.

    The money that is being put down this fancy golf cart 550 nm technology could be better put elsewhere. Maybe using electricity to generate nice fuels from the CO2 in the air and some water. Sure it would take lots of energy, but you just reverse the combustion reaction, adding energy in the process. In the words of our Top Gear hosts "how hard can it be"?

    Time to go, Yosemite National Park awaits me this weekend with my nice big SUV.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I like EVs

    Broder seems to have driven the car more or less like a normal car. Apparently that is beyond the state of Musk art. A driver should not have to bow and scrape to the (apparently undocumented) idiosyncrasies of the car.

    Evidently the estimated range part of the car software needs to have the Paypal coders fired, and replaced with anyone that can write firmware. The idiots have the GPS location and time and date, hello? temperature range effect on batteries anyone? How about "you are in Boswash, old fashioned static cruise control isn't going to work all that well".... and expect traffic jams sometimes too, try I-95 or NJP during a typical day. And why isn't the car telling the driver where the charging stations are, flashing little lights saying "Dude, STOP AT THAT STATION OR UR GOING TO WALK!". (wait! Can I patent that idea and then hit money bags Musk up for some licensing? He obviously did not think of it!)

    Most of those writers for car magazines sugar coat everything since otherwise they won't get anyone offering to let them test drive another car. This makes virtually all car evaluations completely worthless-- never a problem found, just less sugar on the pieces the writer did not like (and hope that the reader will figure that out and the car mfg won't....). True EVs are not ready for prime time for the typical driver-- why do you think that the only successful cars to date have gas engines as required battery accessories?

    As far as I can tell, Broder did not hide anything, maybe expecting too much from an immature technology though. Soccer moms and other non-propeller heads had better buy roadside assistance before driving off the lot with one of these cars.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As far as I can tell, Broder did not hide anything,

      except for the GPS unit, which he apparently hid in a car that went a similar route to him but did it much faster.

  32. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  33. asdf Silver badge
    Trollface

    Well Musk's car company shares one thing with Tesla. The inability to turn a profit.

    Financial Highlights

    Most Recent Quarter (mrq): Sep 30, 2012

    Profitability

    Profit Margin (ttm): -265.05%

    Operating Margin (ttm): -262.70%

    Management Effectiveness

    Return on Assets (ttm): -31.83%

    Return on Equity (ttm): -291.29%

    Income Statement

    Revenue (ttm): 146.30M

    Revenue Per Share (ttm): 1.39

    Qtrly Revenue Growth (yoy): -13.10%

    Gross Profit (ttm): 61.60M

    EBITDA (ttm)6: -363.49M

    Net Income Avl to Common (ttm): -387.77M

    Diluted EPS (ttm): -3.69

    Qtrly Earnings Growth (yoy): N/A

    Balance Sheet

    Total Cash (mrq): 85.69M

    Total Cash Per Share (mrq): 0.75

    Total Debt (mrq): 474.51M

    Total Debt/Equity (mrq): N/A

    Current Ratio (mrq): 0.74

    Book Value Per Share (mrq): -0.26

    Cash Flow Statement

    Operating Cash Flow (ttm): -233.11M

    Levered Free Cash Flow (ttm): -314.26M

  34. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Someone in the press engineering a test for a predetermined outcome

    never heard of that before... (not). Pretty much everything on the internet is exactly the same. Journalists routinely have agendas. This one got caught out by logging software oooppsie...

  35. SoFl_G
    WTF?

    Not to mention this was supposed to be a test/evaluation of the supercharging stations as I had read it. Not necessarily the car. Obviously, charging the car all the way up at a station is not in the interest of an interesting test........ And now another journalist makes the same trip in similar weather and has no problem..... He must be a miracle driver... maybe he carried a few electric eels to help the S along..

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    compare it to a vw beetle

    Is the batteries' charge similar to the Beetle's gas tank. The top 20% of the tank holds 50% of the volume.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Am I the only one

    Whilst I love the idea of the Tesla and EV in general (who wants to pay for fuel?), it seems to me I would never buy a car from Mr Musk. Whilst I understand him getting annoyed at journos who write stupid reviews, all I can think is "what happens when my car goes tits up?".

    If Elon Musk has this attitude to PR, I can only imagine what reception I would get if I dared to complain about his precious car. AC because he might sue me for even mentioning it.

    Customer service, Elon Musk has probably heard of it but I wouldn't like to stake my 70k on it if this is his approach to people.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Customer service and PR

      are exactly the same thing! No really, they are!

    2. Vic

      Re: Am I the only one

      > (who wants to pay for fuel?)

      You'll be paying for it somehow.

      At present, most governments take a substantial tax revenue from the sale of fuel. If we all go electric, that disappears.

      Said govenment then has a simple choice :-

      - Do without all that luvverly lucre

      - Find something else to tax to make up the shortfall.

      Hands up who believes it'll be the former...

      Vic.

  38. Maurice Tate

    Fight! Fight!

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