Broder's response

Broder's response

archibaldcrane | February 14, 2013

tl;dr He made mistakes, arguably on some bad advice from Tesla reps, that anyone who owned the car for a week would know not to make. The entire "test" was just as much about his ability to plan an EV trip as it is about how the car actually performs. The hemming and hawing about "well in my notes I wrote" against the documentation is annoying.

sayidreddy | February 14, 2013

“The final leg of his trip was 61 miles and yet he disconnected the charge cable when the range display stated 32 miles. He did so expressly against the advice of Tesla personnel and in obvious violation of common sense.”

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.

Tis part is ridiculous; hoping that lost range would be restored by conditioning the battery just simply does not make any sense. I hope the Tesla personnel did not give him this advice. Try to go more than 50 miles when the dashboard says 32 miles in freezing cold weather is just asking for the car to stop.

archibaldcrane | February 14, 2013

Basically, the reps said "charge for an hour and you should be good to go" supposedly - without necessarily enough knowledge of the charging port he was using, and this guy stubbornly took them at their word despite common sense dictating clearly that he wasn't going to make it.

It reiterates a few things that anyone ordering a Tesla already knows: Don't take Tesla reps' word for anything, and plug in your car overnight, especially if it's cold.

Sudre_ | February 14, 2013

I am curious about the conversations with the Tesla reps. I am wondering if the reps really said to unplug the car after 1 hour no matter what, which he seems to imply. I still don't know why he would unplug with less miles than what he needed.... but if he called the Tesla rep and said, 'hey the miles are only XX' and the rep said unplug and go then he has a good point. I find it hard to believe that a Tesla rep told him to only charge for 1 hour, no more no less, and leave no matter what the range says on the dash.

I also do not get his explanations or lack there of for the speedo in the logs. The log, I would think, is taking the exact number he is seeing on the speedometer and recording right? If it is using GPS then I can see discrepancies depending on how good the GPS signal was.

shop | February 14, 2013

Border's mistakes were:

- not plugging the car in at night, especially when it was cold outside. This was pretty dumb.

- not charging enough the last morning. While his excuse was that the person on the phone told him one hour was sufficient, it was pretty lazy on his part to not think about what was going on to stop the charge before the car said it was OK.

Telsa's mistakes were:

Not giving him a single competent person to talk to since this guy was obviously clueless. It does sound like he did not get enough instruction on how to run the car, and in fact got erroneous information along the way.

I don't know, given that he says he is a veteran reporter, he comes across as pretty clueless.

mbcaffe | February 14, 2013

basically he is adminitting to being ignorant. As I stated in another post, someone should write "electric cars for dummies" with him in mind. I am sorry to say that he is an idiot. Tesla should have assumed he was an idiot when giving him instructions.

"Before I set out in the Model S, I did speak with the company’s chief technology officer, J B Straubel, about the charging network and some of the car’s features and peculiarities. Neither he nor the Tesla representative who delivered the car to me provided detailed instructions on how to maximize the driving range, the impact of cold weather on battery strength or how to get the most out of the Superchargers or the publicly available lower-power charging ports along the route."

A journalist with the following credentials should know better.

"Since 2009, I have been the Washington bureau reporter responsible for coverage of energy, environment and climate change. I have written numerous articles about the auto industry and several vehicle reviews for the Automobiles pages. (In my 16 years at The Times I have served as White House correspondent, Washington editor, Los Angeles bureau chief and a political correspondent.)"

DouglasR | February 14, 2013

Still, there's a saying: "Never argue with a man who buys ink by the barrel."

Sudre_ | February 14, 2013

I wonder how much ass chewing the two Tesla reps are/have gotten. | February 14, 2013

We have evidence for untruths, misrepresentations, & lies. There is no way to discern what part of Broder's narrative is true. We can go with the objective car data- but that doesn't sell copy with the media. Now the media will keep the story alive by replicating the trip and adding other caveats & disclaimers. How often do we still see stories on bigfoot & Loch Ness years after the frauds were admitted? I think this story will have life until the 4th quarter results are published. In my SWAG (Scientific Wild Ass Guess)opinion this is all about the TSLA stock price being pushed lower temporarily.

Superliner | February 14, 2013

Has anyone "combined" the threads and spur threads that have popped up about the NYC range debacle? It is getting very difficult in this forum to keep up lol!!

shs | February 14, 2013

The other part I don't understand is that supposedly Tesla told him to turn off cruise control and alternately speed up and show down to recover energy via regenerative braking. I really have trouble believing that anyone at Tesla would say something that was so obviously wrong. Maybe he got ahold of Professor Gravity on the other end of the line.

shop | February 14, 2013

Yeah, only a NY Times reporter would think that you could generate energy by speeding up and slowing down :-)

shop | February 14, 2013

That speed up/slow down thing is one of many reasons I called Broder a prick. He is either really clueless (I mean, really, would anyone really think that?), or decided to take everything said or misunderstood by Tesla at face value even if it flew in the face of common sense. That's being an annoying prick in my book.

archibaldcrane | February 14, 2013

My first day working at a Subway sandwich shop when I was 16, the timer went off for the bread oven. I opened the door, and asked the 70-year old owner "what do you take these trays out with?" He replied "with your hands". Thinking that the trays were akin to aluminum foil in the oven (don't conduct heat, are touchable) I grabbed the first tray and burned the shit out of my hand.

Obviously I meant "where is the oven mitt", and like an idiot didn't realize he didn't quite get what I was asking and I blindly trusted him.

This, basically, is what Broder did with the Tesla reps advice.

I don't think he's as big of an idiot as I was at 16.

gregv64 | February 14, 2013

My guess as to the final exchange about recharging is that it went something like this:

Tesla rep: I believe if you charge for an hour you should have enough charge to get to Milford.

Broder: It's been an hour, I'm just going to leave despite what it says on the dial, because I can say I was just following Tesla's directions.

archibaldcrane | February 14, 2013

gregv64 - yep, that's definitely what happened.

cprenzl | February 14, 2013

excuse my language but, Tesla NEEDS to Sue his dumdass. End of story. this has caused so much damage to prospective buyers... Also sense Tesla shared evidence why doesn't he post that "email" that Elon sent asking him if he wanted to try again. This guy is full of BS

cprenzl | February 14, 2013

Wow *Dumbass

danielccc | February 14, 2013

@shs, yeah, that speed and slow advice is truly bizarre.

The broader problem here is that this is quickly turning into a "he said / she said" narrative and will be presented as such by the mainstream press. For example, was the parking lot so badly lit that night? Who knows? The winter tires change the speed readings? It's impossible to prove this stuff.

I am sure Broder went for the car carrier shot. It makes the piece. But I also know that burrowing into details never works in the media. Heck, it rarely works in person.

Musk gave oxygen to a story that by itself would have had little impact if treated properly. I sympathize. He's been working incredibly hard for many, many years, and has assembled a group of people around him who have also worked incredibly hard. This means personal sacrifice and investment. Heart and soul went into this car.

I cannot express how difficult it can be to see an unfair takedown of so much effort, and remain cool and objective. I get that.

But this is hardball, and as Tesla succeeds, there is plenty more where this came from. Musk really needs to get a pro to handle this kind of thing. Tit for tat engagement is the wrong way to go.

RobS | February 14, 2013

When I talk to folks about my MS, I rave about the vision, design and engineering of Tesla. Then I add that unfortunately, their customer service is not up to the standards of the rest of the company. While Broder seems like a fool, sadly, I find it believable that he repeatedly got bad advise from Tesla reps. Perhaps this will cause Tesla to take a hard look at how to bring their customer service/relations up to the same high standards as the rest of the company.

danielccc | February 14, 2013

A lawsuit would be a bad idea. Tesla needs to suck the oxygen out of this story and replace it with positive words and images.

The Q4 earnings report is the next opportunity to change the subject of the conversation. It will surely be a mix of good and bad news. They need to focus on how hey are going to present it and stop wasting time with Broder.

chadrchristensen79 | February 14, 2013

I agree with u, only a dumbass would blame his speed
On 19" instead of 21" wheels.

"But officer u don't understand, these are 19's"!

If he would have had the 21" wheels with summer
tires he would have went in the ditch and blamed that on a
Phone rep too.

Jeff Miller | February 14, 2013

What Tesla could do is wait until the temperature is in a similar range, and then repeat the exact same trip using a knowledgable driver who makes intelligent decisions along the way. They could document the whole thing. That would settle the question of whether the fault lay in the car or in the driver.

shs | February 14, 2013

I believe that CNN is doing the route right now.

jk2014 | February 14, 2013

CNN just made it to Milford with 38 miles to spare. They even leadfoot it the last 20 minutes.

RedShift | February 14, 2013

"People are ready for electric cars but the problem is that battery's are not ready for people."

It's not battery's, it's batteries.

Why don't you finish school, then come back to continue your tirade?

Bubba2000 | February 14, 2013

I wonder if the GPS on the Model S can be upgraded to give a trip solution. The use would give start point, time of departure, destination, speed level (hi, low). If the computer has the locations and type of chargers, weather conditions, it can tell what places the car needs to stop for recharging and how long. Warn if the speed is too hi and suggest measures to extend range like lowering speed, turn off HVAC, etc.

It would folks like Broder from themselves.

shop | February 14, 2013

jk2014 - what's the link? Or this a live TV thing?

Vall | February 14, 2013

...Neither he nor the Tesla representative who delivered the car to me provided detailed instructions on how to maximize the driving range, the impact of cold weather on battery strength or how to get the most out of the Superchargers...

Here's an idea to get the most out of the superchargers: LEAVE THE CAR PLUGGED IN UNTIL IT'S FULL...

He admits he understood that low temp influence range, as his range was dropping faster than he expected, on his first trip in the car... and there is no way to tell what the influences will be, it is based on individual driving styles and conditions.

TikiMan | February 14, 2013

Yup, I learned many years ago that as a general rule-of-thumb, always OVER-compensate, and NEVER under-estimate with anything in life. Every ICE car I have EVER owned in my life has never matched the posted manufacture's MPG ratings. In fact, I believe Toyota was sued by a Prius owner, whom proved the car never achieved the posted MPG rating by Toyota (or even close).

With that said, driving isn't rocket-science, and there are literally thousands of variables that can occur at any time, to change how any vehicle will perform by margin of 20%. Or in other words, if you plan doing anything in ANY vehicle, always compensate for 20%, and you will be fine.

The NY Times writer obviously took everything on a ZERO% margin or error, knowing full well that it wasn't his car, his money, or his ASS that would suffer, if all went wrong (and for that matter, having things go wrong sells news papers). When you are young and naive, you take stupid chances on faith, and after realizing that 50% of the time, things won't work out in your favor, you learn very quickly to over-compensate in life (in business we call it 'padding').

Regardless, if what this reporter wrote dejects a few possible MS buyers from owning the most innovative vehicle since the Ford: Model T, so be it. Tesla still can't build enough MS's fast enough to handle the demand yet.

In closing; the horse and buggy was still around for nearly a decade plus after Ford made the automobile affordable to the general public. Back them I am sure there were folks who were concerned about finding a petrol station, when horse stables were just about everywhere.

RedShift | February 14, 2013

Read the 'reader's picks' comments on the NYT for Broder's response. They are quite good.

(NYT's picks, as usual are biased towards NYT, ha ha)

syddent | February 14, 2013

I think it is great the CNN showed it could be done with no muss and no fuss. However, I hope Tesla takes a good look at its customer support because some of the things Broder was told to do were just plain wrong. With more customers, this is going to be a bigger issue. Don't get me wrong - Broder was an idiot at best and sneaky at worst. But with more customers, more of them are likely to be idiots. In the words of Help Desk reps I work with all the time - it's an PEBKAC issue (Problem exists between the keyboard and the computer). Reps have to have the right answers and get the total story when helping.

portia | February 14, 2013

CNN did it easily!

The Model S is a car for road trips. If you have not taken road trips in it, you don't speak from authority or knowledge.

Peter did a road trip from Oregon to Washington DC with his Model S ( even through places with no superchargers, so road trips are real and doable. And the Model S actually makes people (I am among them) to want to take Sunday drives, and road trips with superchargers are easy (if you use common sense, and plan your trip) I will seriously consider a road trip across the US when the superchargers are installed.

+1 syddent

olanmills | February 14, 2013

I also agree that a lawsuit would be a bad idea. For one thing, even though I think Broder looks weak, the case would not be a slam dunk. Even though Broder looks weak, I think the only way a lawsuit would work is if there was direct evidence that Broder tried to make Tesla look bad and/or lied, like an email to a buddy saying, "LOL I'm driving around this parking lot trying to draing the battery -- [later] Oops! Gotta go now! Car says it's 72% charged and I need to leave before it's 100% so that I can make Tesla look bad, lol!".

Even if the case was stronger, I think what Tesla is doing right now is better, which is having other journalists do the same/similar trips and report their results. Let the reports speak for themselves. At the very least people will dismiss and forget about Broder's report if it seems contradictory to everyone else's, and maybe the public will shame Broder on their own when they see the other reports, but that's not necessary.

trydesky | February 14, 2013

I don't think Border is an idiot. Either he was being intentionally obtuse, or he's simply ignorant.

I know if my 75 year old dad was making the trip, and I casually said something like "charge for an hour, and you should be good", he'd turn off his brain (as he knows this tech stuff is beyond him) and start out on a trip longer than the reading on the dash.

The question I'm asking is, what was his motive for doing this at all? If he had a negative agenda, then playing dumb might have been his plan. Then he could go on about "I just followed TM's advice" and go on about how he didn't make any of this up.

RedShift | February 14, 2013


Most comments on CNN or NYT lean towards Broder being either intentionally running the battery down or just being ignorant. The public opinion is in Tesla's favour, it seems. Tesla needs to not do nothing further.

Also, CNN already did the same trip without issues. Just start talking about that, ignore Broder.

Brian H | February 14, 2013

The "preconditioning" thing was weird. Warming will help range, but all charging does that. Done on shore power, it's win-win. Done on battery power, it's breakeven, at best. The car will appropriate that power for warming while you drive; that's why drivers see those insanely high wh/mi figures when they start out cold. There is NO advantage to battery-powered preconditioning except in regen availability. If any stop-go driving was anticipated early on, that might have been a benefit, of course.

But the 'always get as much as you can overnight' idea is key. Like the soldiers' rule: sleep every chance you get. There's no knowing when the next chance will come.

The CNN team, btw, got 271 miles of charge with 126 miles left to go to their finish at a hotel in Boston. "Game over." Lead-foot fun driving time!

jat | February 14, 2013

BTW, CNN is replicating the drive with no problems.

tranhv68 | February 14, 2013

Here is the link to CNN's test drive and very positive review

Hogfighter | February 14, 2013

1) All this press is putting Tesla in the public eye. That's a good thing. 95% of the people that see my car have no idea what it is.

2) Broder is a liar AND a moron. Dangerous combination, and deserves no further discussion. Arguing with a moron is 2 morons arguing.

3) The Model S sells itself. A monumental technical feat. In the annals of history, no one will remember this article. Elon will get his revenge when the 1 millionth Model S rolls off the line.

Robert22 | February 14, 2013

I've yet to see a better example of recto-cranial inversion.

Note to Tesla: Choose wisely next time. Biased ex-lobbyist EV detractors probably shouldn't be in your first round of test drive invitations.

Timo | February 15, 2013

@Hogfighter, I think smart liar is far more dangerous than stupid one. Broder just proved that he is not smart by getting caught from lying.

prash.saka | February 15, 2013

I wonder whether Tesla keep phone logs.

If so, we can certainly verify what this moron of a reporter and the folks and Tesla said. Christina Ra is the Senior Manager, Communications at Tesla and I am pretty sure that she knows much more than an average customer service representative at Tesla does. And she will never say things like brake and speed up or recover lost charge.

The phone logs would be great.

Michael S | February 15, 2013

the guy should of called me or any other tesla owner. He would have gotten better advice.

shs | February 15, 2013

Broder probably thought that he could extract energy by regenerative braking since he was traveling from west to east, against the direction of the rotation of the earth.

GeirT | February 15, 2013

The log tells it all.
CNN proved it was piece of cake.
What does Broder look like now?
A douchebag!

jbherman | February 15, 2013

I received my MS without a delivery specialist. Nobody gave me any instructions. I spent 15 minutes with the manual and had a full understanding of how, why, and when to charge my car. I'm not a gear head and have zero history with EVs. Had Broder done any due diligence prior to starting his trip, none of this would ever have happened. He can plead ignorance all he wants, but he can't have it both ways. The CV he cites indicates that he should know better. There's no other conclusion I can draw other than journalistic malfeasance.

noel.smyth | February 15, 2013

jbherman +1 same here... I drove from philly to NYC and back on the second day with the car. It took all of 5 minutes to find a charging station where I was heading so I could add a few miles while I was in NYC.

GeirT | February 15, 2013

Headline news in Norway (important as it after all is the 2. largest Tesla market) is positive: "CNN agrees with Tesla": (google translate and you'll see all good).
End of the day, Broder gave Tesla the best PR ever. Contrary to what he set out to do.

fritzlan | February 15, 2013

What really amazes me is that a bunch of East Coast Tesla owners have not re-created this event. Sounds like it should be fairly easy to discover the real story.