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Tesla v. NYTimes
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Tesla v. NYTimes - February 14, 2013, 09:58 AM

Tesla came out with their rebuttal to the NYT review this morning.
A Most Peculiar Test Drive | Blog | Tesla Motors

It's an interesting read, but I think on the list of paranoid public figures that I trust, Elon Musk ranks somewhere between Dick Cheney and Lance Armstrong.
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February 14, 2013, 10:03 AM

Man out in LA/Santa Monica, Tesla cars were everywhere, I saw at least 5 a day.


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February 14, 2013, 10:21 AM

As oil becomes more costly to coax out of the ground while demand for it rises, and coal power plants continue to improve efficiency and emissions standards, and battery + elecric motor technology continues to evolve, electric transport will become an ever more attractive option. As mass production eventually offsets the development costs, the floodgates will open and you will see many more electric cars being purchased, particularly in households with 1-2 gas-powered cars already in the stable. But Tesla may or may not survive this vetting process, because there are many others eager to capture this market.
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February 14, 2013, 11:01 AM

UPDATE: Tesla Claims Model S Driving Logs Show NYT Reporter Worked To Kill Its Battery

As promised, Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk has fired back against New York Times reporter John M. Broder's ill-fated test drive of the Model S, and he has done so with data logs from the car. And these logs appear, at least, to contradict some of what Broder wrote in his story.


Musk's response to the Times' drive, which was meant to test the company's Supercharger stations in the northeast, was posted on Tesla's website late Wednesday night. It is an extremely detailed response with graphs and various charts that pinpoint the differences between events reported in Broder's story and what the car recorded. Musk initially called the story "fake"; he now has data he says backs up that claim.

Musk said that after the debacle with Top Gear a few years ago, the company has carefully logged all data from media drives.

If the logs are in fact accurate, then Broder exceeded the speeds he reported in the story, never fully charged the car when he had multiple opportunities to do so, turned up his climate control when he said he lowered it, and even drove in circles in a parking lot for five minutes in what Musk said was an attempt to kill the battery.

Here are some of the "key facts," as Musk sees them:

As the State of Charge log shows, the Model S battery never ran out of energy at any time, including when Broder called the flatbed truck.
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.
In his article, Broder claims that “the car fell short of its projected range on the final leg.” Then he bizarrely states that the screen showed “Est. remaining range: 32 miles” and the car traveled “51 miles," contradicting his own statement (see images below). The car actually did an admirable job exceeding its projected range. Had he not insisted on doing a nonstop 61-mile trip while staring at a screen that estimated half that range, all would have been well. He constructed a no-win scenario for any vehicle, electric or gasoline.
On that leg, he drove right past a public charge station while the car repeatedly warned him that it was very low on range.
Cruise control was never set to 54 mph as claimed in the article, nor did he limp along at 45 mph. Broder in fact drove at speeds from 65 mph to 81 mph for a majority of the trip and at an average cabin temperature setting of 72 F.
At the point in time that he claims to have turned the temperature down, he in fact turned the temperature up to 74 F.
The charge time on his second stop was 47 mins, going from -5 miles (reserve power) to 209 miles of Ideal or 185 miles of EPA Rated Range, not 58 mins as stated in the graphic attached to his article. Had Broder not deliberately turned off the Supercharger at 47 mins and actually spent 58 mins Supercharging, it would have been virtually impossible to run out of energy for the remainder of his stated journey.
For his first recharge, he charged the car to 90%. During the second Supercharge, despite almost running out of energy on the prior leg, he deliberately stopped charging at 72%. On the third leg, where he claimed the car ran out of energy, he stopped charging at 28%. Despite narrowly making each leg, he charged less and less each time. Why would anyone do that?
The above helps explain a unique peculiarity at the end of the second leg of Broder’s trip. When he first reached our Milford, Connecticut Supercharger, having driven the car hard and after taking an unplanned detour through downtown Manhattan to give his brother a ride, the display said "0 miles remaining." Instead of plugging in the car, he drove in circles for over half a mile in a tiny, 100-space parking lot. When the Model S valiantly refused to die, he eventually plugged it in. On the later legs, it is clear Broder was determined not to be foiled again.

Above, we see the logs of where Broder charged the car along the journey. If this is indeed accurate, then why didn't he fill it more to the maximum when he could have?

Let's look at Broder's stop in Norwich, where the charge was stopped at 28 percent. Here's what he wrote about his Norwich stop:

The Tesla people found an E.V. charging facility that Norwich Public Utilities had recently installed. Norwich, an old mill town on the Thames River, was only 11 miles away, though in the opposite direction from Milford.

After making arrangements to recharge at the Norwich station, I located the proper adapter in the trunk, plugged in and walked to the only warm place nearby, Butch’s Luncheonette and Breakfast Club, an establishment (smoking allowed) where only members can buy a cup of coffee or a plate of eggs. But the owners let me wait there while the Model S drank its juice. Tesla’s experts said that pumping in a little energy would help restore the power lost overnight as a result of the cold weather, and after an hour they cleared me to resume the trip to Milford.

Looking back, I should have bought a membership to Butch’s and spent a few hours there while the car charged.
Broder's Model S had an 85 kwh battery. Tesla's own website says that a 30 minute stop there will give you 150 miles of range. (Edit: The Norwich station was not a Supercharger station, but a normal EV station, so presumably it would have taken longer to charge fully.) So why didn't he take more time to charge it all the way?

The car's logs also show that the Model S exceeded its supposed range limitations while in Connecticut. When Broder left Norwich, the car reported 32 miles of range, but it actually drove 61 miles, according to Tesla.

I'm still a bit skeptical of their account. Numerical data doesn't always illustrate real-world driving conditions and what actually happens on the road. Plus, Musk makes 74 degrees inside the cabin sound like 100 degrees, which it isn't.

And then there's the bit about Broder driving around a parking lot until the battery died. What's the more plausible scenario here -- that Broder was searching for a space in a crowded lot, as we all have done, or that he's a biased journalist looking to get a sensational story?

Actually, Musk's claim that the car was driven "around in circles in front of the Milford Supercharger trying to get Model S to stop with zero range indicated" is pretty disingenuous. Note that the Milford station is on an off-ramp and it isn't at all small. A single loop around the station is nearly a 1/3rd of a mile, and if you make a wrong turn (or even hunt for the charger) and make one turn around you're at 1/2 mile.

I'm sure the Times will step up to defend their story. At this point, probably the only person who knows what really happened is Broder. I'll be the first to say this -- if he was intentionally less than accurate in his story, then he needs to find a new line of work. I hope that's not the case.

Musk isn't pulling his punches when it comes to Broder, either, saying he is biased against electric cars. "When the facts didn’t suit his opinion, he simply changed the facts," Musk wrote. He bases this claim on a single line in one of his stories from last year:

"Yet the state of the electric car is dismal, the victim of hyped expectations, technological flops, high costs and a hostile political climate.”
I think most of us would consider that to be common sense and a fairly realistic assessment of the current electric car market. But then again, most of us aren't Elon Musk.


Yeaaa...I would say NYT is full of shit lol


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February 14, 2013, 01:09 PM

Broder can kiss his job good-bye and possibly his career in Automotive Journalism.

NYT will have to print a retraction and pay Tesla an undisclosed sum.

What would make Broder think that the most electronic and technological feature rich car in the world would not be logging every single move? It's a production press fleet car. Generally, they are some of the most looked after and sorted out cars that leave the factory once production is up and running (Top Gear used an early test fleet car - different pool.)

If I were in his position, I would think the car would even take the further step of "phoning home" and uploading its logs each day.



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February 14, 2013, 01:35 PM

Maybe I'm just cynical, but Musk strikes me as a win-at-all-costs kind of guy and I wouldn't put it past him to make shit up. He understands how important press is and since he's the only one that can really look at the data, what's to stop him from making shit up?

Maybe I'm giving Broder too much credit and he's just an idiot, but I can't imagine an automotive journalist isn't aware of black boxes in cars these days, especially such a technologically advanced one.

I'm with the jalopnik article above - Broder is probably the only one that really knows what happened at this point.
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February 14, 2013, 01:53 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by big_sur View Post
Maybe I'm just cynical, but Musk strikes me as a win-at-all-costs kind of guy and I wouldn't put it past him to make shit up. He understands how important press is and since he's the only one that can really look at the data, what's to stop him from making shit up?

Maybe I'm giving Broder too much credit and he's just an idiot, but I can't imagine an automotive journalist isn't aware of black boxes in cars these days, especially such a technologically advanced one.

I'm with the jalopnik article above - Broder is probably the only one that really knows what happened at this point.
If this gets litigious, data will have to be presented. I'm not saying data cannot on Tesla's side cannot be faked, but something as simple culling the GPS maps and queries (IIRC, Tesla's GPS Nav runs on Google Maps) from Google, an independent 3rd party, can confirm some of his detailing of events.



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February 14, 2013, 01:54 PM

Tony Stark Elon Musk is never wrong! He invented the Arc Reactor Space X, Paypal and Tesla!


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February 14, 2013, 02:16 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heist View Post
If this gets litigious, data will have to be presented. I'm not saying data cannot on Tesla's side cannot be faked, but something as simple culling the GPS maps and queries (IIRC, Tesla's GPS Nav runs on Google Maps) from Google, an independent 3rd party, can confirm some of his detailing of events.
Why not just post the GPS route then?

All they've put up are charts of "log data" which I'm sure you have to get out of their proprietary software. Nobody the NYTimes can afford to hire is going to know the difference between real data and a CSV they made up and said came from the car.

I'm not saying they did that, but I am saying that I'm sure it's possible and they are clearly incentivized to do it.

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Tony Stark Elon Musk is never wrong! He invented the Arc Reactor Space X, Paypal and Tesla!
I think Paypal ranks #1 on my most-hated companies list. They are the most utterly incompetent business I have ever dealt with.
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February 14, 2013, 02:53 PM

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Why not just post the GPS route then?
I'm sure they are consulting with their attorney's over the legalities of such only because the be fair and complete, the route data would have to display the journalist's home address (start location), the route he takes to from his house, his brother's address, etc. etc.



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February 15, 2013, 06:49 AM



Elon Musk's Data Doesn't Back Up His Claims of New York Times Fakery - Technology - The Atlantic Wire
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February 15, 2013, 09:12 AM




“Any man who tries to be good all the time is bound to come to ruin among the great number who are not good. Hence a Prince who wants to keep his authority must learn how not to be good, and use that knowledge, or refrain from using it, as necessity requires”.

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