NYTimes Article vs. CNN Money. Same Trip Different Result

NYTimes Article vs. CNN Money. Same Trip Different Result

See the video by CNN Money Editor. He made the same trip (DC to Boston) but had a completely different result:

brownsparky2013 | 15 February, 2013

CNNMoney is better with math, plus, he didn't take money from oil companies & ICE car manufactures.

Thanks for sharing!

shs | 15 February, 2013

A friend asked for my reaction on Facebook. Here is my response.

Beth, you may be sorry you asked, but here is my take on the whole Tesla NYT tempest. The reviewer from the NYT tried to drive from Washington DC to Boston in a Tesla Model S, recharging at the Tesla Superchargers (free rapid charging for Tesla Model S owners) and didn’t make it. He claims he tried real hard, even turning off the heat in freezing weather, driving 45 to 54 MPH for much of the trip, etc. The data log that the car sent to Tesla shows that these and other statements in the review were basically not true for most of the trip.

The NYT reviewer made several serious mistakes; most significantly he didn’t fully charge the car before starting out, or at any of the recharging stops along the way. For the last 91-mile leg of the journey, he left with the car predicting 32 miles of range available. He made it 51 miles before the car said no more, and he called a tow truck.

It is significant that a team from CNN just recreated the same trip driving in a fully heated cabin and made it with no problem, as are many East Coast Tesla owners in what is now called the Tour de Broder, in honor of the now infamous NYT reporter.

That said, the 200+ mile distance between the two Tesla Superchargers involved in this trip is longer than Tesla’s stated goal of having a Supercharger approximately every 150 miles along major routes. That and the degraded battery performance in cold weather make this distance near the edge of the Model S’s range for those conditions.

The Model S’s range in cold weather is no secret that requires an intrepid reporter to put himself at peril to discover, as on the Tesla website they have a range calculator that seems to accurately predict that the range of the Model S with an outside temperature of 32°, the cabin heat on and a driving speed of 65 mph, is 218 miles. This seems to be very close to what CNN and other are seeing for real range under these conditions. When a few more Superchargers are installed along that same route, things will be very different making “range anxiety” a thing of the past, even in cold weather.

However, even without a fully implemented Supercharger network, there was no excuse for Brooder running out of charge. If he had charged fully when instructed to do so, charged up overnight at the motel, or if running low on charge stopped by any of the hundreds of public charging stations along that route, he would have made it. CNN did just using the two Superchargers.

Most mysterious to me is that Broder did several very foolish things that he claims Tesla instructed him to do, like turning off the cruise control and repeatedly speeding up and slowing down in order to use regenerative braking to generate charge, or sitting in the car with the heater on for a half an hour, using charge, before taking off on that last fateful morning. I don’t know what he was told, but if he believed either of those things, the same person probably could have sold him a bridge in Brooklyn or a perpetual motion machine. Given the knowledge of the people I have talked to at Tesla, Tesla giving such bad advice is hard to believe.

Nevertheless, I do think it was a mistake for Elon Musk to impugn Broder’s motives. The facts speak for themselves.

shop | 15 February, 2013

Great summary.

Brian H | 15 February, 2013

He's an actual auto reviewer, who knows how to drive and plan trips. Broder was trying to emulate the average dufus. It wasn't much of a stretch!

Superliner | 15 February, 2013


Bravo!! Bravo!! Could not have said it better..

Brian10 | 15 February, 2013 +1

Unfortunatly, the CNN video will go viturally unnoticed because it is not exciting news. The EV haters outnumber us...for now.

GoTeslaChicago | 15 February, 2013

"Nevertheless, I do think it was a mistake for Elon Musk to impugn Broder’s motives. The facts speak for themselves."

+1 to the above

Disneyland Ducky | 15 February, 2013

Well done.

Brian H | 15 February, 2013

I think Elon had at least one conversation with Broder during the trip, and seems to be basing his assessment partly on that.

It is a common experience that what a reporter says he's going to print and what he does print have little or no resemblance. In love, war, and interviewing, anything goes.