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New York Times Article - And My response

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/10/automobiles/stalled-on-the-ev-highway....

John - I assume you did the research, or perhaps someone at Tesla told you, that when you go for an extended trip you you do a max charge - that would have given you 265+ miles of rated range. When you go on a road trip in your gas car do you put 12 gallons in a 14 gallon tank?

If I go somewhere in my gas car, spend $8 to get 2 gallons and 60 miles of range, but needed 3 gallons to go 90 miles and get there, and run out of gas, shame on me. Plug in overnight, always. It's EASY.

Here's the equivalent - you get gas when you need to. You plug in every night when you get to your destination. There are more outlets in America than gas pumps - probably at least 1 million times more. Every outlet in America is a refilling station. Come on!

Why didn't you point out the basics that you failed on? If you ran out of gas would you blame Ford for not telling you the car's MPG, or Exxon for not having a station when you needed it?

Driving an electric car is NOT less convenient, it just asks you to think differently. Takes effort, just like a gas car requires effort. If you start simple-mindedly with the gas paradigm as the baseline, you have made a basic mistake. Would get on a bike and write a negative article because you couldn't make it go 65 MPH? Please make the effort next time and acknowledge when you don't.

www.teslamodels.wordpress.com

Best solution for the is in app guidance. When you're navigating to a target outside of your range, it should automatically suggest a precise lower speed and or which charging station to stop by at. Currently owners have to do this mental calculation manually (very much like a pilot). Once the calculation is automatic, it will go a long way to prevent problems like this. I think it's a needed step to go beyond the initial enthusiasts to get others to adopt it.

Hard to fault the reporter. The expectation...nay, promise...was that the Northeast Supercharger network can get you from Point A to Point B, without having to be towed, or to spend overnights charging along the way. (Just as the West Coast one does without issue.) Some people will be basing their purchase decision on this expectation.

I've researched this car a ton, have spent a lot of time on this site and in the forums, and have asked a million questions of Tesla representatives. Until that article, however, I took for granted Tesla had thought this issue out based on all my research, and their claims. Obviously they haven't. I get it's a new company, a new product and new real-world conditions. There will be kinks. So iron this one out pronto, Tesla. Build more Supercharger Stations and don't let this article scare people off the wrong side of the fence.

All this writer proved was that they need a supercharger in New Jersey. Then this would have been a nonissue.

That said, it is clear that this is not a car for long-range trips, and the "300 mile" claim needs to disappear (it has started to be replaced on the Tesla website, thankfully). There is nothing wrong with admitting that. The supercharger network mitigates the issue, but ICE cars still have an advantage due to the developed infrastructure of gas stations and the fact that 30 miles of range can be put into the tank in seconds not hours. However, that doesn't argue against the appeal of this amazing vehicle, which is superior to ICE vehicles in any other context.

I love my Model S, and it is everything I hoped for. It is perfect for me 360 days per year. On the other 5, I will use our family ICE car. No big deal.

Here is a great response from the MS owner that was able to drive from Portland, Oregon to NYC on the NYT's article. It is a good summary on how all of the problems cited in the article could have been easily avoided. It is also a helpful read for a good summary of road trip planning in a MS.

http://electricroadtrips.com/

eichtolu

+1

eichtolu,

Good posting. Thanks!

I still think that the whole 'range debate' is hilarious. If you drive very long distances often, then an EV is probably not the right choice for you.

It's similar to the fact that if your business takes you to Hawaii often, then buying a car for the commute probably isn't the right choice either.

I'm continually impressed by the idiocy of my fellow man.

Dear Tesla enthusiasts, IMO, the blame for this fiasco lies squarely on TM. Don’t be mad at me or the ignorant Mr. Broder.

Cattledog was right. I wonder if Mr. Broder recharged his cell. phone overnight in Groton? My guess is he did with all his calls to TM. The most significant mistake, TM should have advised Mr. Broder, is it always best to recharge overnight (whether you think you need it or not). Had he recharged his ‘S’ (like his phone) he would have a very different story, no drama, and no frostbite. One minor note, using the heated seats would have kept him ‘toasty’ and consumed less energy than the car’s heated climate control.

There will be more stories like this and TM needs to spend more time explaining the EV realities to ICE Age journalists . TM should have spent a little time with the Mr. Broder to check out his route and advise him where and when to recharge. Ten minutes worth of planning would have saved Mr. Broder and TM a lot of time, frustration, and towing expense. Also, TM should have advised Mr. Broder that cold weather (especially overnight) effects the battery performance and range.

Perhaps in the future, TM will assign a TM ‘travel’ specialist with direct phone contact to assist journalists, to answer questions and avoid problems on their EV adventures. I suspect Mr. Broder had a general TM phone number. Journalists need special handling because the “know almost everything!” ‘Almost’ is the operative word. Negative press will not help TM or EVs. Yes Mr. Broder should have known better but guess what…he didn’t. Auto and non-auto journalists will jump at the opportunity to drive the ‘S’ and they have to better understand the pitfalls of assuming and applying traditional driving gasoline experience.

By the way, I love my ‘S,’ best automobile I have ever owned.

Sorry, two last points.

In fairness to Mr. Broder when he parked the ‘S’ at Groton overnight, he ASSUMED the 90 mile range was what he had left – not the 25 mile range he woke up with. That night, he felt he had more than adequate range.

My second point is more for TM’s benefit. The superchargers should be used to supplement nightly charging not in lieu of.

I agree with petero that this bad press episode falls squarely on TM. This along with TM's handling of other issues and Chigago's range issues are giving me more than second thoughts. I have about a week to decide to finalize or not to avoid the price increase. If I had to decide today I would wait and eat the price increase. It's a great car but not only is it a first year model it's a fledgling company. I think I'll wait and see how this all shakes out before I drop $80k into an experiment.

I have seen a trend in our discussions about superchargers and the distance between them. Telsa's placement goals will/should include the limitations of the 60 kWh packs (including weather, etc). So the placement of the network needs to be within range for those cars with supercharging equipment. That means 100-120 miles apart. The superchargers currently deployed on the East coast don't yet meet that standard. We need time and more SCs placed close enough together to make longer trips as pleasant as shorter ones where range anxiety doesn't exist.

Waiting for my 85 non-perf to arrive. 5 mile round trip to work. I'm spoiled.

I was driving through North Dakota on my way to the Bad lands in the 90's when I passed a sign that said something along the lines of, "No gas for the next 168 miles". After I read the sign I....
A) passed up the exit and continued driving down the road because there had to be another gas station.
B) Exited and filled the tank until it almost overflowed.

Sequoia & Kings Canyon. You all know the place. There is no gas station inside the park. The website goes in to detail about where to purchase gas. why? Because idiots like this writer do not understand the limits of their cars, gas or electric, and they certainly do not plan anything.

I really wish this moron for a writer would have taken any ICE vehicle for a drive through Death Valley with the same lack of planning as he did this trip. We wouldn't have to read this article. The website for Death Valley clear states, "It is always a good idea to keep a full tank in your vehicle as distances are great". Maybe his next test drive he will drive an EV there and cry there are no charging stations.

Yes DAVE you would expect to be able to drive an EV the same as an ICE... Then why are there no government highways signs telling you which exists have charging station near like there are for gas stations? By default that means there is more planning for an EV than an ICE period.. your argument holds NO water Dave. The cars can only be equal if treated equal and they are not. There are no HUGE billboards sticking 20-50' in the air advertising charging stations along the highways. Any halfwit would realize you are going to have to think a bit because after drive an ICE for years you quickly learn a car does not always get you 300 miles on a tank of gas. If you do not know the car, ICE or EV, you have to plan for at least two seconds. According to Recargo there are charging station all over the East coast. The idiot for a writer just didn't think to stop at any of them. I bet if any of us plan to take a road trip with an ICE and planned to run out of gas we could do it pretty easy.

Still I recall a long topic on this very forum about how far apart Superchargers should be. I think the general consensus was 150 miles.
Tesla got what they deserved in this review even tho it is a little unfair.

This has all been covered in the thread below. There's really no need to debate whether Tesla can make even more information available for someone lazier and/or less informed than the author. The fact is an EV is not an ICE vehicle, just as an ICE vehicle is not an EV. If the author had jumped into an 18 wheeler or onto a boat, horse, etc with an equal degree of self chosen ignorance the results would have been far worse. They're all different and the user is responsible for knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each just as the manufacturer is responsible for making such information available. It is therefore ironic that we discuss this on the manufacturer's website where every item the author did wrong has been covered ad infinitum and could have been easily avoided if the author had done a fraction of his research before jumping in. But alas, what kind of world would it be if users can't blame manufacturers when the user is at fault.

http://www.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/public-debate-road-trip-red-herring

I would not blame the author. Tesla has some very misleading information still on their website. Just read what it says about losing battery power over night or leaving the car unplugged for multiple days. We all know there are problems with vampire loads and excessive power loss due to extreme climates. When you read the "Tesla marketing material" they really make it sound as if the trip this reporter was taking should have been a non-issue and he should not have been required to worry about additional charges in between the super charger.

The blame falls squarely on Tesla - sorry to say.

Dear friends! We are in the new world. EV cars are something we never dealt with before. So please use your brain, learn more and more and you won't have problems. Making dozen of mistakes down the road you blame TM for misleading you. You lose miles that you would never lose having enough knowledge. One more time. This is not a car for brainless people, this is the car for smart people. Others can buy Mercedes S550 and enjoy themselves. But if you decided to enter this new world, use your brain and please learn more and more and you'll never regret it.

Roccosima. As I mentioned, the ‘S’ is the best, new car I have ever purchased – by a wide margin. It does everything better than my ICEs and is superior in every way save for range and the convenience/time of recharging. Keep in mind the super charging network is just starting to grow. If you are not sure it is best to wait. I decided not to wait, the ‘S’ works for my family, even with the 60kWh battery. The periodic software updates make all the ‘Ss’ current (no pun intended) and I must say the fit and finish of the car amazes me. I have actually come to prefer the very simple-stark interior treatment to other luxury/premium ICE interiors. Good luck.

Sudre. “… idiots like this writer do not understand the limits of their cars, gas or electric…” I may agree with you personally, but Mr. Broder may not be an auto journalist or a car guy and is probably a free lancer on a joy ride. There is very little auto reporting in his article, it is more like a travel-misadventure piece. The Motor Trend gearheads understood EVs and the MS. Yes he is at fault but TM should have foreseen the problems. It is up to TM to protect its’ reputation by saving them (uneducated journalists) from themselves. By the way how was the Bahamas and how many ‘smiles’ have you driven on your 60kWh ‘S?’

Can't help but think it was a very clever decision to postpone launch in Europe to summer 2013. With horrible weather conditions in the north and no super chargersI could imagine many reviews like this before TM even got off the ramp i Europe.

Here's a slightly better review, on a sidenote, of the S as it makes its way into mainstream TV!
It was featured on the Anthony Bourdain show as he putts around Seattle. Here's the link...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNSRMsz-au8&feature=youtube_gdata_player

With all these interesting discussions and responses to the negative NYT article on Model S, we seem to forget what Tesla team said about Tesla: it is NOT a car company but a technology company. We should give Tesla time and trust Tesla team's wisdom to be innovative in bringing us the new technology to change the way of driving we have known almost 100 years. Tesla is in some way like Apple that is no longer viewed as a computer company but an innovative consumer product company.

Sad... http://www.boston.com/metrodesk/2013/02/09/boston-boy-dies-carbon-monoxi...

If the boy was in a Tesla, he would have survived.

I guess ALL autos have their pitfalls in cold weather. At least the Tesla won't kill you!

For those who believe there's no future for long-range trips for EV, I bought Tesla Models S exactly because I can go on long road trips frequently.

I never drove far with my Prius. Only around 900 miles /month.
Now, thanks to Tesla, with 7 weeks of ownership, I have driven 4,650 miles.

I live in Orange County, down south in CA. I never did such 400 mile road trips before: I drove and enjoyed searching for dinosaur fossils in Barstow down south, and drove to enjoy Vietnamese ethnic food in San Jose up north.

Now, I have more freedom to drive. I have no range anxiety.

I don't understand the repeated praises in the virtue of Max Range at the detriment of premature battery degradation.

If I can enjoy strategic placements of superchargers along my own road trips, the same should happen to the rest of the US.

One overlooked point in the article. The reporter/writer passed up a charging opportunity in Manhattan with 79 projected remaining on his northbound leg "assuming based on what he saw on his projected range" that he could make it, Well he did but with 0 miles remining.

If he had topped off in Manhattan all else remaining equal he would have probably had enough remaining range to make his southbound trip.
I also find it hard to believe that no type of outlet at all was available during his overnight stay in Groton Conn. even a 110V outlet would have kept the battery conditioned and perhaps added a few 10's of miles to his range and likely prevented the overnight loss due to the battery being cold.

As the saying goes ( Fail To Plan then Plan To Fail ) Poor planning in an ICE could just as easily leave you along the road out of gas as well (I've seen it happen many times).

It still seems to me that he began his trip with the intent to see how far he could push the envelope and then blamed Tesla when he failed instead of blaming his poor planning.

@ Alex K & rickemishler

I'm in South East AZ Near the New Mexico border Strait East of Safford. I either need to be able to reach Tucson or Las Cruses.

Tucson is full of public charging but all of it is Level II unless I can make friends with a local S owner there who happens to have a HPWC and would accept payment for a top off. Or I can find a level II location near a major shopping venue and remain there most of the day adding enough range to get back home. There might be some opportunities in Benson to get an opportunity charge perhaps Wilcox as well. I'm still investigating. I am willing to make the sacrifice and know that it will likely be a "heavy lift" trying to early adopt where I'm located.

Among the benefits I will not gain will be smog cert. savings (we don't have to smog veh's out here) and cheap off peak electricity rates. Good news is the electricity rates here are nearly constant hovering at $.11 per Kwh for the last three years. we have no peak / off peak here, just a single residential rate @ all times.

Out here would be a GREAT place for a Supercharger as it would allow S drivers to reach to / from Las Cruses or El Paso, Tucson along the I-10 corridor.

The Model S requires a new way of thinking as opposed to an ICE just like the ICE required the same when compared to a Horse drawn wagon. There were no doubt many who dissed the new horseless contraptions when they came along as well and we all know how that worked out. Electric drive WILL win the day because at it's core it is just a better mouse trap! Adaptation by more folks and competition among manufacturers as the demand rises will force the technology and infrastructure to improve.

It's a little too early in the game to dismiss Model S just yet.
I can remember when I was confronted with my first personal computer (yes I early adopted that as well)to the tune of approx. $7,000 yet had no idea what I REALLY needed it for or what I would do with it. We all know how that turned out!!

2011 - Automobile Club of Southern California estimates that it is delivering gasoline to about 15,600 members who have run out of gasoline.

EVs better catch up...

A New York City supercharger could be an enormously useful marketing tool and provide the buffer charger between the two current superchargers. I think Tesla could even justify having several chargers scattered around the various New York boroughs for marketing reasons alone, just think of the hundreds of millions of people a year who live in or visit New York. The vision of a New York City with cars which produce no tailpipe emissions where what little emissions are produced are shifted away from the population is a compelling one. With local superchargers I could imagine many wealthy businessmen employing Model S's as their Town Cars. Tesla could solve the NYT publicity issue and massively boost their standing in the world's most populous city in one swift action.

Amazing how defensive some Model S owners get. The dashboard told the reporter he had x number of miles. He got less than x. And the supercharging stations are too far apart. Pretty simple.

I love my Model S but Tesla is definitely responsible for the outcome of his test drive. The company is FAR from ready to be a world class luxury car company. The communication from one dept to another is non-existent. We're ALL (Tesla included) learning as we go.

@ Docrob

There should be plenty of public charging stations in NYC. Including YOUR HOUSE! if you live there you'll be fully charged @ your home before you hit the streets. The SC locations "as has been discussed at length" are placed "AWAY" from urban centers to allow MS owners to "bridge the gaps" in between, thus making longer distance inter city travel possible. We'd all like to see them everywhere but It seems Teslas approach is a valid one.

I don't need a SC in my City or Town, I need it 150-200 Miles "from" my City / Town positioned at a mid point to the next City!

That's why Tesla put one in inner Los Angeles Superliner? I realise most Superchargers should and will be placed between destinations, however New york City happens to lie almost midway between two superchargers that have now shown to be too far apart particularly for NE winter conditions. In addition a NYC Supercharger would be a formidable marketing tool to hundreds of millions of people. Tesla has already shown they are not averse to having some Superchargers within cities and I am suggesting that for several reasons I think NYC should be the site of another such city based Supercharger. It is quite clear that the current NE chargers are too widely spaced, considering how close NYC is to their midway point not putting one in NYC where it is such a powerful marketing opportunity just seems too good an opportunity to miss.

@ steven.addis

Perhaps "to a point" But I don't subscribe to the When I fail it must be someone else's fault mentality, which seems to be the American way these days. The "your results may vary" covers that. Could it be better? Perhaps. Has Tesla failed to give accurate information as to the cars capability? Range numbers are estimates not gospel. You can't fix stupid (brake lights only work if you are looking for or at them them)

I believe also that Model S is being crammed into the "Luxury Class" just because of it's price point. and being compared to cars that really don't compete with it or it with them when taken as a package. There is no shortage of $75-95k> cars but I would not consider them "all" to be luxury cars, some sporting offerings can be rather spartan in fact with almost no creature comforts.

Lastly The "Luxury" tag as far as I'm aware has never been placed on Model S by Elon. Being the best? when taken as a package the MS is a pretty amazing offering in terms of what you get. I just don't see a comparable sedan offering out there.. at any price point that delivers "as a package" all the benefits you gain in a Model S.

Will a Model S work for you? or that reporter? Perhaps, perhaps not apply some due diligence examine your needs and see if the Model S shoe fits. I just plain don't care for those who like this reporter seem to think that because the car did not make it it MUST be Teslas fault. Not his for skipping a charge opportunity in NYC or not plugging in @ his overnight destination in Conn. That's not Teslas fault they recommend plugging in @ every opportunity do they not?

Just My .02

I agree with Docrob.

It is fine that you depend on 110V outlets, J1772 industry standard, and it is fine that you are content with slow charging, but remember: Tesla is revolutionary!

That is why Tesla breaks away from industry standard and speeds up charging time.

Now is the time to evangelize that technology and not to ration numbers of superchargers.

There is no engineering or public relations disaster to have superchargers in cities.


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