Tesla: Logs Show NYT's Negative Review Is Bogus

Automaker says reporter was out to make the car look bad

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 14, 2013 1:37 PM CST

(Newser) – Tesla has lobbed the latest volley in what's become a nasty public fight with the New York Times over a negative review of the electric Model S sedan. In a blog post titled "A Most Peculiar Test Drive," Tesla chief Elon Musk says logs from the drive show that Times writer John Broder "simply did not accurately capture what happened and worked very hard to force our car to stop running." He is referring to this review that appeared in the Sunday newspaper in which Broder tried and failed to drive the car from Washington to Boston. Musk first called the review "fake" in a tweet, then made the rounds of TV shows. Broder reiterated his case here, and Musk has now released the logs. One weird standout:

  • "(A)fter 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."
At Business Insider, John Voelcker assesses the spat and thinks Broder and the Times have some explaining to do. Yes, the range of electric cars falls in cold weather, and that's where the "common ground" is in this fight. But in terms of the details as described by Broder: "Either his reporting and note-taking were sloppy, at best, or that he omitted or concealed relevant facts that would add important context to his claims." At Slate, though, Will Oremus writes that some of the discrepancies cited by Musk "appear somewhat trumped-up themselves." Broder clearly didn't do everything he could to save the battery, but that's not necessarily sabotage. "It could just mean he was earnestly putting its capabilities to the test." Click for that full post.

A Tesla Model S in the showroom at the Washington Square Mall in July.
A Tesla Model S in the showroom at the Washington Square Mall in July.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
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