New York Times Article - And My response

New York Times Article - And My response

John - I assume you did the research, or perhaps someone at Tesla told you, that when you go for an extended trip you you do a max charge - that would have given you 265+ miles of rated range. When you go on a road trip in your gas car do you put 12 gallons in a 14 gallon tank?

If I go somewhere in my gas car, spend $8 to get 2 gallons and 60 miles of range, but needed 3 gallons to go 90 miles and get there, and run out of gas, shame on me. Plug in overnight, always. It's EASY.

Here's the equivalent - you get gas when you need to. You plug in every night when you get to your destination. There are more outlets in America than gas pumps - probably at least 1 million times more. Every outlet in America is a refilling station. Come on!

Why didn't you point out the basics that you failed on? If you ran out of gas would you blame Ford for not telling you the car's MPG, or Exxon for not having a station when you needed it?

Driving an electric car is NOT less convenient, it just asks you to think differently. Takes effort, just like a gas car requires effort. If you start simple-mindedly with the gas paradigm as the baseline, you have made a basic mistake. Would get on a bike and write a negative article because you couldn't make it go 65 MPH? Please make the effort next time and acknowledge when you don't.

nac | 11 February, 2013

While I have no doubt that the writer of the article was hoping for a negative result with a tow truck and camera operator on speed dial.... What was TM thinking when they arranged this? Did they drive the route first? How could they have been so short-sighted.. media and pr is paramount to a start-up.. and managing results should be expected in a test like this.

egghead | 11 February, 2013

STUPID ARTICLE. Why didn't he plug it in that night? No 110v outlet available? ANYWHERE? Highly doubtful. This is not a reasonable article. Hatchet job is a correct description.

In very cold weather, people often plug ICE cars in to keep the engine block warm.

I fault the author for not blaiming himself for failing to plug the car in on a 10 degree (!!!) night.

jbherman | 11 February, 2013

FYI: Tweet from Elon Musk

@elonmusk: NYTimes article about Tesla range in cold is fake. Vehicle logs tell true story that he didn't actually charge to max & took a long detour.

djm12 | 11 February, 2013

The reporter essentially took the Tesla on a test drive in extreme conditions with little to no preparatation or training. Long range trips in varied weather conditions in any type of vehicle that a person is not accustomed to require preparations. Pilots and sailors know this well.

As far as Tesla is concerned, a "bug" has been demonstrated in the range calculation software. An urgent modification is needed to provide accurate, temperature adjusted range. A warning, similar to ice warnings, may also be helpful.

Brian H | 11 February, 2013

Elon's tweet is right. This was not even a professional reporter, much less an automotive reporter. A total put-up job. The NYT descends to even lower lows than usual. A moribund, money-losing dead paper walking.

L8MDL | 11 February, 2013

Check Mr. Musk's twitter account. The NYT is about ready to learn all about technology. Couldn't happen to a more worthy organization.

drripps | 11 February, 2013

Looking forward to Tesla's blog about this nonsense. Those of us who drive the Model S know the truth. But this BS kind of article is hard to tolerate. And why was this guy motivated to put Tesla in a bad light? This car is amazing!!

DanD | 11 February, 2013

I don't know, I'm having quite a bit of trouble with cold weather. You have to call Tesla Roadside support to get answers and even that is uneven.

I don't know why the Tesla apologists assume every owner should have read every post about the technology and then have a working knowledge of chemical and mechanical engineering just to be able to do the calculations necessary to drive this car.

The "miles left" display is incredibly misleading. When you notice that you've lost 24 miles of charge in less than one hour (like I did) why wouldn't you be alarmed? When you notice that you've traveled 10 miles and used 20 miles of charge (like I did) why wouldn't it concern you?

We all understand that many factors contribute to range. But this isn't an ICE car and the penalty for failure to predict range is much more severe than running low on gas.

jk2014 | 11 February, 2013

Wow! Look at the exorcist neck breaking reversal of the stock after the tweet... Nyt got some splaining to do...

JoeFee | 11 February, 2013

Once again, evidence that journalism is dead in America!

Docrob | 11 February, 2013

If logs can prove he has blatantly lied about what occurred this will be major scandal, its one thing for Top Gear to stage and preplan a bit on their show which everyone knows is 9 parts entertainment to 1 part fact. But for the NYT to run an article with outright falsification would be highly embarrassing to their integrity.

Docrob | 11 February, 2013

DanD, no one expects you to have read every post about the technology, just the manual which clearly and in large font states that the car should never be left for a prolonged period without being plugged in or you risk permanent damage. Your posting your own error on every thread is now rapidly approaching spam.

L8MDL | 11 February, 2013

Mr. Musk is on CNBC right now dealing with the NYT article...

christurbeville | 11 February, 2013

Portable supercharger? Wouldn't that help stranded folks? As many have pointed out we ARE going to run out of juice (whatever juice we use;). So AAA can put 2 gal in my tank or jump my dead battery why can't TTT dump 20kw for me. Still have to wait an hour for it to get there but it beats dragging the poor MS onto a ICE sled just because I didn't plan. I do NOT want to hear what that sounded like brings tears to my eyes.

bradslee | 11 February, 2013

There are always a group of very bias people who would hope that Tesla cannot succeed. In my opinion, these people would take every opportunities to try to approve that they were correct in judging Tesla Model S sometimes even with such stupid and lack-common sense act exemplified by this NYT writer. How shame it is that Mr. Broder does not blame to his own stupidity but to blame Model S. It sounds like that a person who runs out of propane gas in an outdoor BBQ and blames propane tank maker not to help him how to BBQ. If Mr. Broder had the intelligence like our so many proud MS owners knowing and learning MS, in my opinion, either he would have a very happy experience with MS like we MS owners have experienced or he would have to dig something else to satisfy his bias against Model S.

DanD | 11 February, 2013

What error?

I parked my car at the Philly Airport while on a 5 day trip.

That seems like a reasonable thing to do. Nowhere does the manual say not to do that.

So ignore me Docrob. It's apologists like you that perpetuate the Tesla fantasy world that everything is perfect. It's not perfect.

The more people like you try to shout down those of us who are communicating the issues, the longer it will take to get perfect.

Docrob | 11 February, 2013

From the owners manual;

"The most important way to preserve the Battery is to
LEAVE YOUR MODEL S PLUGGED IN when you’re not using it"

"On average, the Battery discharges at a
rate of 1% per day. Situations can arise in which you must leave Model S unplugged for an extended period of time (for example, at an airport when travelling). In these situations, keep the 1% in mind to ensure that you leave the Battery with a sufficient charge level"

"Discharging the Battery to 0% may permanently damage the Battery. To protect against a complete discharge, Model S enters a low-power consumption mode when the charge level drops to 5%. In this mode, the Battery stops supporting the onboard electronics to slow the discharge rate to approximately 4% per month."

You have chosen to ignore their bolded recommendation to never leave the car for a prolonged period without plugging it in. Nobody is claiming perfection I am merely pointing out that if you choose to ignore the clear caution notes from your owners manual then your problem is not all at Tesla's end.

egghead | 11 February, 2013

Docrob - I like your reasoned, logical and fact based posts. Thumbs up.

GoTeslaChicago | 11 February, 2013


I think you are ignoring DanD's situation and talking past him by quoting the owner's manual. Does the manual say never go to the airport unless you can plug it in? No, it says in that situation plan for a 1% loss per day.

Does it even hint at the fact that you might lose more than 1% a day in cold weather, sometimes more than 10% in one day as many of us have experience in the recent cold? Why are you criticizing Dan?

Doogue | 11 February, 2013

Here is Elon's response phone call to the Money Honey a few minutes ago on CNBC:

I wish he didn't sound so defensive and the conspiracy stuff (NYT blogger is out to get us) just doesn't sound like a big boy company. Should be a short answer and put in terms most people should understand - hammer the ICE comparison... if you have a 1/4 of tank of gas, you shouldn't be expected to go the same distance as a full tank....isn't that the basis of his argument? Stick to that.

Before the flames start, I'm a res holder of both S and X and a stockholder of TSLA, so I'm on board, but IMHO Elon's delivery needs some's not a bad thing to accept that.

Dwdnjck@ca | 11 February, 2013

Thank you ny times. I have been looking for an opportunity to buy more shares.

sergiyz | 11 February, 2013

Parking the car overnight is hardly an extended period of time.
The discharge rate as measured is closer to 3% in about 8 hours, not 1% a day.
The manual is inaccurate.
10% degradation due to cold weather that George B is referring to is not in the manual.
Otherwise waiting to see the data logs Elon is talking about.

danielccc | 11 February, 2013

At this point all we can do is wait for the logs.

The rest is speculation.

jk2014 | 11 February, 2013

Sergiyz -- maybe send George a note, give him the hard medicine criticism. You are a subject matter expert on this car by fact of owning it. Your input will be valued as improvements to battery data are made and published.

I think Tesla needs to address owners and future owners with a personal touch. Acknowledging their position in the family making Tesla what it is today and what it will be in the future. They are in fact the pioneers and trailblazers of the customer experience. The beta testers that will have to endure the rough edges. This needs to be known up front when you purchase a car, especially now as the first 20k will be sold and out on the road by year end. And, that Tesla will be with them all the way through, not let their challenges go unnoticed or responded to in kind.

Don't have to give out free stuff or compensate, just communicate with a personal and earnest touch... It will go a long way with early buyers and pay off in the long run more then Tesla could imagine. So, George, organize and train, train, train your team... Have the team building sessions nation wide as soon as possible. Spend the time and money to get the message clear to everyone. One message from all sales reps out to the customers. Have daily talking point emailed out. Have certifications, tests, random visits if you need to. Do what needs to be done to achieve this end as soon as possible... I imagine you're already doing it as I write this so keep the momentum going...

Brian H | 11 February, 2013

"NYTimes article about Tesla range in cold is fake," is too blunt for you? Awww, poor sensitive soul. Mommy will give hugs.

nickjhowe | 11 February, 2013

@h8tow8 - re super charger locations and bad planning - to quote @Mark K, "timing often does reveal intent" TM has been limited by availability of locations, and is putting SCs out as soon as they can secure the location. I assume these happened to be the first two locations they could get, and hence it looks like bad planning. Assume they are going to fill in the gap as soon as they can get the next location secured.

pgeerlofs | 11 February, 2013

"Get a horse!"

Check out the link above for an interesting article on early adoption and resistance to cars. I believe the article was written in the 20s or 30s.

It's just deja vu all over again. Imagine driving from Chicago to NYC on dirt roads with essentially no gas stations! Remind you of us, sort of? :)

But we all know that EVs are the future. We just have to be patient, and in the mean time, have more fun than other drivers.

Brian10 | 11 February, 2013

The EV Haters will bash Tesla (and others) even if Tesla shows a profit, the stock rises, and there is news that Tesla has sold out on the Model S for the next three years. I suspect they will begin to quiet down once they start to see more and more EVs on the road. I imagine horse buggy manufacturers did plenty of bashing when ICE vehicles first came out.

craig.tesla | 11 February, 2013

Uh Elon...

You might be right, but it's not really a fight you want to pick.

Hills | 11 February, 2013

Dear Elon,
You are the rocket ship CEO that launched Tesla, and the Model S would not be the great car it is w/o you. However, do you really want to attack NYT? So what if you have the logs of the trip? Or even recording of conversations with the reporter? NYT has defended the reporter. If he is a fake or an idiot, does Tesla win by trading blows with an idiot in public? Paint a realistic picture of the car (300 miles is not realistic, and people use 300 miles against you), take the high road. Tesla will be better off.

Electron | 11 February, 2013

@craighughes The NYT may have had a monopoly on the printed word in the past, but that no longer means much today. Bits are free and the playing field is level. Open discussion is great for everyone.

LiteWait | 11 February, 2013

Everyone at work was talking about this absurd article today. I thought I was going to lose it. I read the article last night and already had a good understanding of what went wrong but I didn't think any of my co-workers would have seen it.

I was very surprised when the first person approached me about it. Most of them already know that I have the tendency to answer their questions with a question because everyone usually asks the wrong questions about my car. My initial response was clear – “Do you fill your gas tank when you get ready to go on a long trip or do you just hope for the best?” Later in the day people were still talking about it so I explained to them more sensitively and calmly that if he had been driving the best ICE car in the world, he probably would have run out of gas and blamed it on the car. I also had to remind them all about the trip I took down highway 1.

Now that I have complained enough about the topic, is there anything we can do to help here?

@Brian H: Is anyone talking about things we can do on any of these threads?

Brian H | 11 February, 2013

Check out the NYT's stock and recent circulation and financial history. It is hanging on by its fingernails, and living on its reputation. The Grey Lady is moribund.

s_curve | 11 February, 2013

I concur with Elon's response to the article. If on your trip from D.C. to Boston in your ICE vehicle you elected to partially fill your gas tank, take a wildly off-path detour through Manhattan, then lead-foot your way through the remainder of your trip, two things will happen:

1. You'll run out of gas before you reach your destination.
2. People will think you are a fool.

What the NYT Reporter didn't bet on was Telsa's ability to activate an onboard log in the car which tells them (in great detail) everything that car experienced, everything place the car went, and every condition that the car went in and out of along the way.

Tesla's privacy policy dictates that these logs are never activated for Customers without expressed permission but after the Top Gear incident, Tesla has adopted a policy of activating the logs for 'Testers'. NYT just got caught with their pants down and its not the first time. Just the latest.

Joyrider | 11 February, 2013

Before retiring 2 years ago, I worked for a major national news organization for over 30 years. And I can tell you there is nothing more self-righteous than a major news organization. You will never get a mea culpa unless you can show an error of simple fact. (You printed 10, we can prove it was 8, etc.) Dan Rather's refusal to admit he got it wrong on Bush's military service is a prime example.

Though the NYT article may be factually correct, it was the reporter as much as the car that created the situation...something totally ignored in the article. As pointed out in earlier posts it is hard to believe few real owners would have ever acted the way he did.

This is Journalism 101 on how to "acuately" report the news, but slant it to your taste. "An unexpectly large crowd of 300 enthusiastically welcomed the candidate" vs "the candidate spoke to a crowd of barely 300 supporters in a venue left mostly empty." Both factually correct...

I thought Elon tweeting Tesla is lining up other reporters to make the same run is an excellent idea. Believe me, there are many in the news business who would looooove to show the NYT fudging.

Hills | 11 February, 2013

From Feb 11, 2013 8:44 pm Pacific
Dylan Tweney, Venture Beat

If you get into a dispute over facts, it always helps to have a nice, clean, data trail.

Tesla Motors chief executive Elon Musk is unhappy enough with a recent New York Times review of his company’s new electric Model S sedan that he says he’ll publish the car’s digital log of the reviewer’s actual drive — which, he says, differs substantially from the account in the Time.

“We will publish the actual logs on the car and it is crystal clear,” Musk said in an interview with Bloomberg West earlier today (see video below).


danielccc | 11 February, 2013

Wait for the logs guys.

I screen captured the NYT map of the trip just in case they decide to "update" it, though I am sure Tesla and other have done the same.

robkal007 | 11 February, 2013

Haven't read every comment, but didn't see anyone take exception with picking a motel without a plug of some kind. Leave an S unplugged near "empty" overnight in 10 degree weather is abuse in my book.

RedShift | 11 February, 2013

I do feel the reporter was a bit biased against Tesla.

That said, Tesla could and should do a better job of communicating better, the car's range limitations in inclement weather. If they were afraid to clearly communicate this to the public, fearing lost sales, think what an article like this will do.

Elon's spirited fight back I feel is not that productive, he has lost the 'primacy effect' in the minds of some potential buyers. Stock market reflects the attitude.

Don't get complacent Tesla. I believe in you, I don't give a damn about what some semi biased NYT journalist says about what I know to be a thoroughbred like nothing else out there. Very few 'legit' auto journalists exist out there, NYT has never been one of them. On automotive journalism, they are on par with cnet, consumer reports, you know, the riffraff.

GeirT | 11 February, 2013

Call it for what it is, a hatchet job by the oil/Detroit-lobby. Cannot have another car company come here and rearrange the cozy arrangements. Especially since it looks to become SUCCESSFUL.

Robert22 | 11 February, 2013

Tesla has alleged that the NYT reporter took a side trip through Manhattan. Using the data logs it wouldn't be that difficult to plot exact location and time the car passed one or more of the numerous traffic/ surveillance cameras that blanket Manhattan. How about this headline:

Washington to Boston direct via....Manhattan?

Then paste a nice color photo of the reporter and car exactly where they shouldn't be. A picture is worth a thousand words.....or in this case a thousand denials from the NYT that the logs aren't accurate.

Brian H | 12 February, 2013

Red Shift;
Well, lah-dee-dah! The article resulted in an immediate $1.50 drop in the stock, and probably a 9 day delay in release of the Q4 results. Media lies need to be called out. The NYT is WAY overdue.

Desai | 12 February, 2013

This is getting into a heated situation for both Tesla and Times:

Desai | 12 February, 2013
BenjaminS | 12 February, 2013

When I drove my CNG Mercedes from here to Boston in 1992 - the first-ever 400-mile run entirely on natural gas - I took then-reporter Sarah McKinley along to document the effort, which she did in an excellent article. I planned all seven stops, calling ahead to be sure we wouldn’t run out. I understood the car and how far it would travel. My point was NOT to run out of fuel.

Instead, here was have a clear case of intentional grounding!

Meanwhile, 3,000 miles and counting on my incredible, quiet, fast, Zen-like Tesla S! Magnifique!

Mpipito1 | 12 February, 2013

What's going on here is classic Atlas Shrugged. Elon is our Hank Reardon. The "machine" does not want him to succeed and will align the media and other components to suppress this advancement. True innovators like Mr. Musk are rare today so we need to stay the course, not waver and the future will be ours. When my 11 year old wants to build and design electric sports cars, it's because of people like this. This article goes way beyond the talking heads and the superficial facade that they've created. Dig deep and what you'll uncover will stun you.
We are smarter than them.

nav66 | 12 February, 2013

I showed my wife the Wikipedia entry on Preston Tucker last night. She noted that it seems Elon and company have studied history and in a side by side comparison, you can slmost see where Tesla has avoided many if not most of the pitfalls encountered by Tucker.

However, one thing seems unnervingly consistent - the pressure exuded by the establishment. Although I resist the notion of conspiracy, the NYT article seems premeditated. Certain references in his article tell me he may not have been the right Times correspondent for the job, or at least not the most objective. I cite his statements regarding the $465 million loan (which seemed pointed), and his description of the eatery (why is the fact that it allowed smoking relevant?).

Surely there are other reporters at the New York Times who could have done a more credible job.

Yes, I know. Wait for the logs.

Tiebreaker | 12 February, 2013

This reminded me why I had cancelled my subscription to my beloved NYT... Twice...

GoTeslaChicago | 12 February, 2013

" take the high road. Tesla will be better off."

from Hills, several posts above. Good advice for Elon, good advice for both pro and anti NY Times folks.

RedShift | 12 February, 2013

Looks like Forbes picked up the NYT story. However, this one is more balanced.