Tesla Tussle: Elon Musk Takes Issue with NYT Car Review
Tesla Model S Sedan.
After a recent scathing New York Times review of Tesla Motor's new Model S sedan, the company's founder and CEO Elon Musk blasted the article on Twitter, calling it "fake" and accusing the author of ignoring the company’s advice.
NYT reviewer John Broder wrote that the Model S was an example of how "theory can be trumped by reality," and said Tesla’s newest electric vehicle ran out of power during a cold weather journey from New York to Boston.
Broder also claimed to have received conflicting advice about how to deal with his "creeping range anxiety" and his growing concern that the car wouldn't make it to the next charging station.
"The woman who had delivered the car told me to turn off the cruise control; company executives later told me that advice was wrong," Broder wrote. "All the while, my feet were freezing and my knuckles were turning white."
Three days after the damning review was published, Musk tweeted on Twitter: "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."
Musk elaborated in a CNBC interview, explaining that "we explicitly said, to do this trip, he needs to make sure he's fully charged, that he doesn't take detours, and he drive at a reasonable speed ... None of those three things were done."
The NYT issued a statement in support of Broder, and said "any suggestion that the account was "fake" is, of course, flatly untrue."
On Wednesday, Broder jumped back into the fray, writing in the NYT's Wheelblog that "My account was not a fake. It happened just the way I described it."
Furthermore, Broder said, that the detour he took through Manhattan only added about two miles to the overall trip.
Broder also revealed that Musk called him after the test drive, and before the article was published, to "offer sympathy and regrets about the outcome of my test drive. He said that the East Coast charging stations should be 140 miles apart, not 200 miles, to take into account the traffic and temperature extremes in this part of the country."
Musk has said on Twitter that he has vehicle logs backing up the company's version of events, and promised that a more lengthy explanation of what happened is "coming soon."
Chelsea Sexton, a co-founder of Plug In America and alternative fuel vehicles advocate, called the drama "a marketing disaster of Tesla's own making."
Writing in WIRED, Sexton said "road trips are a dangerous myth for the EV industry to perpetuate at all."
Long-distance road trips "are not a useful measurement of an electric vehicle’s value," she continued," and for the EV industry to pretend otherwise only perpetuates the perverse double-standard: that unlike gas cars, EVs must be able to do it all in order to be useful at all."