Tesla Re-Slams New York Time's 'Fake' Review of Electric Car

Thursday, 14 Feb 2013 05:23 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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Tesla Motors is continuing to defend its Model S electric car that was knocked in a New York Times review which claimed it stalled out during a test drive.

Tesla co-founder Elon Musk, a billionaire inventor who also founded electronic funds transferal service PayPal and space transport company SpaceX, published a detailed critique Wednesday of auto reviewer John Broder's test drive logs.

"The logs show again that our Model S never had a chance with John Broder," Musk wrote on Tesla's website. "He simply did not accurately capture what happened and worked very hard to force our car to stop running."

In his Feb. 8 review, Broder said the Model S ran out of power during a road trip from Washington, D.C., to Connecticut. Broder claims he was forced to turn down the heat and drive below the speed limit to conserve battery power, but the car eventually stalled out and had to be towed to a charging station.

On Monday, Musk went on Twitter to call the entire review a "fake."


According to Musk's evaluation of the test logs, Broder never fully charged the car, took a long "detour," purposely drove past charging stations when the car was on low battery, and acted against Tesla's advice when he embarked on one 61-mile leg of the trip despite the range display of 32 miles. Furthermore, Musk said, the Model S never actually totally ran out of energy.

"The car has been driven through Death Valley (the hottest place on Earth) in the middle of summer and on a track of pure ice in a Minnesota winter," Musk wrote. "It has traveled over 600 miles in a day from the snowcapped peaks of Tahoe to Los Angeles, and moreover by no lesser person than another reporter from New York Times. Yet, somehow John Broder 'discovered' a problem and was unavoidably left stranded on the road. Or was he?"

The article Musk posted Wednesday contains detailed graphs of the test drive's distance, speed, and cabin temperature and also insinuates that Broder was dishonest in his review because of his preconceived opinion of electric cars.

"In his own words in an article published last year, this is how Broder felt about electric cars before even seeing the Model S: 'Yet the state of the electric car is dismal, the victim of hyped expectations, technological flops, high costs and a hostile political climate.' Our car never even had a chance," Musk wrote.

Broder responded to Musk's original Twitter claims Tuesday with an article of his own where he denied he manipulated the story.

"My account was not a fake. It happened just the way I described it," he wrote.

Broder claims Musk called him before the review ran and offered his sympathy and regrets about the outcome of the test drive. Musk reportedly told Broder he could do another one in a few months.

"I'm game," Broder wrote.

Related stories:

Tesla Electric Sedan Snags Motor Trend's 'Car of the Year' Award


Goldman: Buy Tesla before Model S Sudan Debut

Tesla Motors Fourth-Quarter Loss Widens to $81.5 Million

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