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New York Times Article - And My response

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.

The point I'm trying to make is that there was no official place for him to get the right information about real mileage based on various driving conditions including driving (and parking) in cold weather.
You can only be proactive if you understand what to expect.
I think he had a reasonable expectation of being able to drive 46 miles with the rated 90 miles that his car was showing.
Being off by 10% is a lot, but probably tolerable.
Being off by over 50% is inexcusable.
I find the current rated mileage numbers misleading.
Whenever people ask me about the car range, I always tell them it can do up to 200 miles on a standard charge in warm CA weather with the 85kwh battery pack.
This is the number I'm comfortable sharing since it's based on my own experience on close to 4,000 miles of driving.
I never mention EPA range or the 300 mi range originally advertised by Tesla.
One way or another Tesla has to correct it.

Sort of off topic, but really on topic if we are making comparisons of EV to ICE. A young lady I know with not a lot of money was given a Ford Explorer by her father 10 years ago. Driving to work and back to her $11 per hour job she has now racked up 205,000 miles. Her mpg is atrocious at 15. Gas here is about $4, plus or minus, over the last 10 years. She has spent near $60,000 on gas alone! She could have bought a Tesla, or 3 Leafs.

What about gas when it hits $6 a gallon in the likely future?

@Docrob : The Hawthorne supercharger is at Tesla's Design Center. Google Map


While that is partially true, Tesla has been making strides in having some of these details here

While it's far from done, it is missing the ranges that many of us would like to see on both temperature and speed, it is a start. I would also say that it needs more options on weather, winds, type of pavement, etc. I had hoped to pull together lots of data from my own trip in the S, but I simply found that the combination of effects of these get too complicated to be able to give someone a solid model to predict an exact range.

I truly believe that Mr. Broder would have been able to drive directly to the Superchargers that cold morning, (Though if asked, I would never had recommended it to him). Instead he ended up combining two iffy idea's and one terrible one, that when combined led to a tow truck. (The rest of my thoughts on what went wrong are here )

I two have traded emails with Mr. Broder, and I don't get the impression that he feels that he should be expected to do more than follow simple directions from a Tesla employee. I also think he feels that it is not possible to take the drive between superchargers comfortably today after his experience. Perhaps he will take me up on my offer to try the trip again with me and I can show him he is wrong.


Another great article on road trips and charging strategies can be found at

Chad Schwitters recommends that we plan charging stops no more than 177 miles apart, figure that rated range will drop by 150% of the actual distance traveled, and at each charging stop, add enough rated miles so that we leave the stop with 150% of the distance to the next
stop plus 25 miles.

His advice is conservative, but it is much better than the advice we are getting from TM.

yeah, there's an implicit non sequitur there, which makes me doubt his bona fides. ;)

a demo unit at a corporate office != urban promo site.

Not sure why you feel the huge hassle and complication of servicing intra-city traffic with an inter-city station is necessary. It certainly is not TM's responsibility to release and untangle NYC's gridlock and long commutes. After the inter-city system is built out their may be enough spare Solar City capacity to support a promo gesture like that, but it is not likely to make any business sense from their POV. This is a symbiotic system between TM and SC which must make sense for both to work.

Virtually all of these posts will be of little importance when battery technology evolves to the point where 1000 miles on a single charge becomes the norm. We are not far from that.

Also, it is not strange that a smart man would make a stupid mistake and then write an article that is published in arguably the most important newspaper in the land one day before the 4th quarter results are to be announced?

I smell a short-seller funded hatchet job.

Notice the picture of the Tesla loaded on the flat-bed truck. Isn't it obvious what is at work here?

Guys, can we just admit that TSLA didn't plan the super charger installations properly on North East Corridor??

Really, why would put these super charger at limit of possibilities especially considering winter temperatures and conditions. It's a mistake and they'll fix it.


Bottom line: plug in your damn car before you go to bed! We all know what happens when we don't plug in our cell phones, no different here. Got to handle your electric car different then your gas car. This is commen sense stuff and the nyt writer knows it.

He got great publicity (future employment ops and higher rates) from the write up and is loving it as does anyone who writes an article that gets people excited... Well done

Orthophonist - timing often does reveal intent. Given how much is on the line for short sellers, your observation is plausible and likely. To drag down something so stellar, FUD is a textbook attack.

That said, TM can't prevent dishonest acts. What they can do is strengthen their defenses. As others already pointed out, their marketing language should be revised to better manage expectations, and they should have more actively managed the reporter's borrowing of their vehicle.

The reporter would have written about the hassles of charging an EV on a road trip, but that would accurately report the facts. That would have a been fair critique, and informed readers of the realistic limitations. But the images of being literally stuck out in the cold would not have occurred.

The flatbed photo was the prize the shorts needed, and given the multiple simple choices the reporter waived off, it appears he was looking for some drama.

Notwithstanding the inequity of this, TM must clearly refine their marketing media to better set expectations, and be more on top of such high profile reviewers.

There are always cynical forces more interested in money than good, and no industry will endure disruption without resistance.

The sober view is to accept this reality, and win through honest good work.

TM has done a lot of that, and must keep doing it.

While I have no doubt that the writer of the article was hoping for a negative result with a tow truck and camera operator on speed dial.... What was TM thinking when they arranged this? Did they drive the route first? How could they have been so short-sighted.. media and pr is paramount to a start-up.. and managing results should be expected in a test like this.

STUPID ARTICLE. Why didn't he plug it in that night? No 110v outlet available? ANYWHERE? Highly doubtful. This is not a reasonable article. Hatchet job is a correct description.

In very cold weather, people often plug ICE cars in to keep the engine block warm.

I fault the author for not blaiming himself for failing to plug the car in on a 10 degree (!!!) night.

FYI: Tweet from Elon Musk

@elonmusk: 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.

The reporter essentially took the Tesla on a test drive in extreme conditions with little to no preparatation or training. Long range trips in varied weather conditions in any type of vehicle that a person is not accustomed to require preparations. Pilots and sailors know this well.

As far as Tesla is concerned, a "bug" has been demonstrated in the range calculation software. An urgent modification is needed to provide accurate, temperature adjusted range. A warning, similar to ice warnings, may also be helpful.

Elon's tweet is right. This was not even a professional reporter, much less an automotive reporter. A total put-up job. The NYT descends to even lower lows than usual. A moribund, money-losing dead paper walking.

Check Mr. Musk's twitter account. The NYT is about ready to learn all about technology. Couldn't happen to a more worthy organization.

Looking forward to Tesla's blog about this nonsense. Those of us who drive the Model S know the truth. But this BS kind of article is hard to tolerate. And why was this guy motivated to put Tesla in a bad light? This car is amazing!!

I don't know, I'm having quite a bit of trouble with cold weather. You have to call Tesla Roadside support to get answers and even that is uneven.

I don't know why the Tesla apologists assume every owner should have read every post about the technology and then have a working knowledge of chemical and mechanical engineering just to be able to do the calculations necessary to drive this car.

The "miles left" display is incredibly misleading. When you notice that you've lost 24 miles of charge in less than one hour (like I did) why wouldn't you be alarmed? When you notice that you've traveled 10 miles and used 20 miles of charge (like I did) why wouldn't it concern you?

We all understand that many factors contribute to range. But this isn't an ICE car and the penalty for failure to predict range is much more severe than running low on gas.

Wow! Look at the exorcist neck breaking reversal of the stock after the tweet... Nyt got some splaining to do...

Once again, evidence that journalism is dead in America!

If logs can prove he has blatantly lied about what occurred this will be major scandal, its one thing for Top Gear to stage and preplan a bit on their show which everyone knows is 9 parts entertainment to 1 part fact. But for the NYT to run an article with outright falsification would be highly embarrassing to their integrity.

DanD, no one expects you to have read every post about the technology, just the manual which clearly and in large font states that the car should never be left for a prolonged period without being plugged in or you risk permanent damage. Your posting your own error on every thread is now rapidly approaching spam.

Mr. Musk is on CNBC right now dealing with the NYT article...

Portable supercharger? Wouldn't that help stranded folks? As many have pointed out we ARE going to run out of juice (whatever juice we use;). So AAA can put 2 gal in my tank or jump my dead battery why can't TTT dump 20kw for me. Still have to wait an hour for it to get there but it beats dragging the poor MS onto a ICE sled just because I didn't plan. I do NOT want to hear what that sounded like brings tears to my eyes.

There are always a group of very bias people who would hope that Tesla cannot succeed. In my opinion, these people would take every opportunities to try to approve that they were correct in judging Tesla Model S sometimes even with such stupid and lack-common sense act exemplified by this NYT writer. How shame it is that Mr. Broder does not blame to his own stupidity but to blame Model S. It sounds like that a person who runs out of propane gas in an outdoor BBQ and blames propane tank maker not to help him how to BBQ. If Mr. Broder had the intelligence like our so many proud MS owners knowing and learning MS, in my opinion, either he would have a very happy experience with MS like we MS owners have experienced or he would have to dig something else to satisfy his bias against Model S.

What error?

I parked my car at the Philly Airport while on a 5 day trip.

That seems like a reasonable thing to do. Nowhere does the manual say not to do that.

So ignore me Docrob. It's apologists like you that perpetuate the Tesla fantasy world that everything is perfect. It's not perfect.

The more people like you try to shout down those of us who are communicating the issues, the longer it will take to get perfect.

From the owners manual;

"The most important way to preserve the Battery is to
LEAVE YOUR MODEL S PLUGGED IN when you’re not using it"

"On average, the Battery discharges at a
rate of 1% per day. Situations can arise in which you must leave Model S unplugged for an extended period of time (for example, at an airport when travelling). In these situations, keep the 1% in mind to ensure that you leave the Battery with a sufficient charge level"

"Discharging the Battery to 0% may permanently damage the Battery. To protect against a complete discharge, Model S enters a low-power consumption mode when the charge level drops to 5%. In this mode, the Battery stops supporting the onboard electronics to slow the discharge rate to approximately 4% per month."

You have chosen to ignore their bolded recommendation to never leave the car for a prolonged period without plugging it in. Nobody is claiming perfection I am merely pointing out that if you choose to ignore the clear caution notes from your owners manual then your problem is not all at Tesla's end.

Docrob - I like your reasoned, logical and fact based posts. Thumbs up.


I think you are ignoring DanD's situation and talking past him by quoting the owner's manual. Does the manual say never go to the airport unless you can plug it in? No, it says in that situation plan for a 1% loss per day.

Does it even hint at the fact that you might lose more than 1% a day in cold weather, sometimes more than 10% in one day as many of us have experience in the recent cold? Why are you criticizing Dan?

Here is Elon's response phone call to the Money Honey a few minutes ago on CNBC:

I wish he didn't sound so defensive and the conspiracy stuff (NYT blogger is out to get us) just doesn't sound like a big boy company. Should be a short answer and put in terms most people should understand - hammer the ICE comparison... if you have a 1/4 of tank of gas, you shouldn't be expected to go the same distance as a full tank....isn't that the basis of his argument? Stick to that.

Before the flames start, I'm a res holder of both S and X and a stockholder of TSLA, so I'm on board, but IMHO Elon's delivery needs some's not a bad thing to accept that.

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