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Old Feb 14, 2013, 11:36 AM   #1
obeygiant
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The Tesla S and the New York Times Review

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Tesla has torn into the New York Times review of its Model S electric car, using systems logs showing charge and recharge status, driving style, cabin settings and more to undermine claims the EV is unreliable. In a detailed run-down of the stats gathered by the Model S’ onboard computer – something Tesla says it always does “carefully” on media drives, after UK car show Top Gear made similar reliability claims about a previous model, in a case which ended up in the courtroom - Tesla CEO Elon Musk argues that NYT reviewer John Broder was prejudiced against electric cars from the start, and did as much as possible to portray the Model S as unfit for the road.

For instance, the onboard logs showing what charge the Model S had at points of the journey, and when Broder decided to recharge, indicate he took the car off the power connection earlier than stated in the original review. “The final leg of his trip was 61 miles and yet he disconnected the charge cable when the range display stated 32 miles” Musk argues. “He did so expressly against the advice of Tesla personnel and in obvious violation of common sense.”

Meanwhile, some of Broder’s claims about how he tried to minimize power consumption are also challenged. Musk points to the typical speeds driven at – 65 to 85 mph – and the average cabin temperature of 72F for the duration of the test, and the fact that the reviewer also actively turned the heating up when charge was getting low.

Broder is even accused of trying to artificially run down the Model S’ battery by more than it would typically, driving “in circles for over half a mile in a tiny, 100-space parking lot” in front of one of Tesla’s Supercharger power stations, in what Musk suggests is an attempt to fully drain the car. Tesla also points out the sheer number of charging points – both its own, and those run by other companies – along the length of Broder’s drive, as a counterpoint to the number of times the reviewer actually stopped to rejuice.


For his part, Broder wrote a follow-up article – prior to Musk’s breakdown of the numbers – in which he challenged some of Tesla’s defenses around the Model S’ performance. He maintains that the car is susceptible to cold weather, with an effect of reducing range, and claims nobody from the company gave the power-saving advice Musk refers to.

Tesla now says it will not be making further reference to the test drive, as it believes the data run-down “speaks for itself.” Whether it will put Broder behind the wheel for a second attempt, as the NYT author says Musk originally offered, remains to be seen.
slashgear

Broder better start looking for another job.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 12:01 PM   #2
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Here is Tesla's response/breakdown of the data.

It seems Broder was more interested in making the drive fit his narrative of constant fear of running out of charge than reporting an unbiased review. Do the same thing with a gas-powered car and you are called an idiot.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 12:03 PM   #3
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Musk is on something too if he is going to deny winter conditions have a negative effect on batteries. You're range will be reduced in cold weather because the cold does reduce the batteries ability to hold a charge, you will have a higher heater setting to remain comfortable, etc.

Also not saying the NYT's reporter didn't do anything to purposely make the Tesla look bad, but it harm's Tesla's defense when they lie too.....
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 12:03 PM   #4
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I've watched a lot of car reviews and what he did is pretty standard. Reviewers do everything they can to create a worst case scenario and run down the battery as quickly as possible. I'm okay with that because it challenges the manufacturer's numbers that come from a best case scenario. It does show the importance of reading more than one review before you pass judgement on a product.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 12:10 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by filmbuff View Post
I've watched a lot of car reviews and what he did is pretty standard. Reviewers do everything they can to create a worst case scenario and run down the battery as quickly as possible. I'm okay with that because it challenges the manufacturer's numbers that come from a best case scenario. It does show the importance of reading more than one review before you pass judgement on a product.
Reviewers should come up with realistic scenario's to show what a typical driver will get out of the vehicle. They shouldn't be trying to purposely get the, " worst case scenario". It would be like saying the Prius only gets 19 MPG ignoring the fact you ran the Prius on a track..... They shouldn't do things to purposely make a vehicle look bad. You don't stop refueling your car when you only have 30 miles on a tank...... You don't start driving more aggressively when you're low on gas......

The things Broder did was outside the norm of what reviewers do. Unless the only other reviews you watch are from Clarkson, Hammond, and Capt. Slow......
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 12:22 PM   #6
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It would be like saying the Prius only gets 19 MPG ignoring the fact you ran the Prius on a track.....
Top Gear did that one.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 12:30 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by filmbuff View Post
Top Gear did that one.
I know, but Top Gear is entertainment only. If C&D, MT, R&T, etc did that, I would call for their heads if they tried to pass off track fuel economy as real world fuel economy( which Top Gear didn't either).
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 06:33 PM   #8
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http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2013...hat-it-doesnt/

Broder's response. Much of what he said sounds plausible. It's all he said, she said.
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 08:14 AM   #9
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CNN repeated the test that was designed and got much better results.

http://money.cnn.com/2013/02/15/autos/tesla-model-s/
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 11:57 AM   #10
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Maybe it's me but I think Tesla should work with a restaurant chain to place a spot with a "Tesla charging spot" at said chain restaurant. Also Tesla could put charging spots at those expressway "Welcome to (Insert State)" stops. This could really be a coup for tesla and the restaurant chain that Tesla make a deal with.
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 01:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eawmp1 View Post
Here is Tesla's response/breakdown of the data.

It seems Broder was more interested in making the drive fit his narrative of constant fear of running out of charge than reporting an unbiased review. Do the same thing with a gas-powered car and you are called an idiot.
Broder's narrative reminds me an old 4-wheel-drive vehicle I used to drive that got 10 MPG at 50 MPH and < 5 MPG on a back road in 4WD-- on a 20-gallon fuel tank. Or the smart phone I used to have that, wherever I went, I was looking for plug to charge it.

In other words, Broder was trying to say that the Tesla is unfit for its intended purpose. A backcountry vehicle that can't be driven far into the backcountry because its range is so small, or, a cell phone that might as well be a land line, is not very useful.

I say Broder was trying, because, he failed. The intended use of a Tesla Model S is not as an interstate touring car. The only problem I have with the Tesla is the price. The car is absolutely perfect for 99% of my trips-- I wish I could afford one.
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Old Feb 16, 2013, 12:15 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by jnpy!$4g3cwk View Post
...The only problem I have with the Tesla is the price. The car is absolutely perfect for 99% of my trips-- I wish I could afford one.
They're fun to drive, very similar to a Lotus in handling and feel.
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 09:29 AM   #13
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The Tesla S is obviously still somewhat bleeding edge and it is clearly not as mature a product as your standard petro-fueled auto. Also, Musk occasionally comes across as your standard egomaniacal tycoon 'visonary' entrepreneur: can't take criticism, extremely protective of his product, given to personal attacks...

With that being said, I think the NYT review came off a bit overly critical. Broder should have realized that, with the journey ending on a flatbed truck, his test drive was going to come under a lot of scrutiny. It's obvious that the trip he failed to complete is possible with a Tesla S - though even the Tesla owners that subsequently completed the trip in convoy suffered one malfunction that required Tesla to push a firmware update to a car before it could complete the journey.

Contained within the BS coming from both sides are kernels of truth.
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 11:01 AM   #14
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This reminds me of how unreliable reporters can be. While we so much want to believe that they are unbiased reporters of fact, I have found from my own dealings with the New York Times in years past that reporters can have agendas beyond what they are reporting and slant or even misreport to support the story that they're writing.

This seems to be a case where neither party was going to like the result, with the reporter likely working to get his result, since when does good news ever sell newspapers, and Tesla being in the uneviable position of having to get press coverage for a product that is in front of the market, yet having to get it from a medium in which objectivity has long been traded for sales and ratings.

The shame of this is probably that there is truth in both sides of this story, but the truth wasn't dramatic enough for the writer and the truth is not acceptable to Tesla. In any case, I find the writer's actions more egregious, since he is purporting to report the truth, whereas Tesla is merely marketing a product.
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 12:04 PM   #15
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NYT editor said the reporter did not use good judgement:
http://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.co...in-tesla-test/
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 01:25 PM   #16
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The auto journalism community in the US and most of the rest of the world lean toward the slavishly fawning end of reporting for the simple fact that journalists who post critical reviews are refused access to new cars by manufacturer.

In this case the majority of blame should probably fall on the reporter for his bias, but 9 times out of 10 auto reporting is fairly heavily biased towards the manufacturer.
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