For those who have not been following the Tesla Model S saga here's a primer. A week or so ago NY Times writer John M. Broder wrote a pretty scathing review called "Stalled Out on Tesla’s Electric Highway" with a devastating photo of the Tesla on a flat bed truck. The news hit like a brick and Tesla's stock price dropped over 3%.
Within hours Elon Musk CEO of Tesla Motors responded. He went on TV and made his case. In particular on CNBC where he went into some detail his concerns over the review and Mr. Broder.
A he said/he said ensued. Even here on Daily Kos.
Well since then other reporters have taken it upon themselves to recreate the DC to Boston trip including CNN Money and CNBC. Results are below
First came CNN Money and their review.
One of the bones of contention between Musk and Broder was that Broder opted to go through NYC and deal with congestion which wastes battery life.
After a short break in Manhattan, the range readout said 79 miles; the Milford charging station was 73 miles away. About 20 miles from Milford, less than 10 miles of range remained. I called Tesla again, and Ted Merendino, a product planner, told me that even when the display reached zero there would still be a few miles of cushion.Musk noted that was unplanned and Broder would not have had any issue had he followed the plan.
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.NY Times explained that Broder was driving around looking for the charging station in Milford but the stop in Manhattan was never really explained.
Peter Valdes-Dapena CNN Money opted instead to go around NYC, a trip that is a bit longer but takes less time and doesn't take you through city traffic. The result?
When we got to Northern New Jersey, we had a choice to make. We could take the shorter route to Milford -- over the George Washington Bridge and through the Bronx -- or a route 30 miles longer that avoided New York City, and its battery draining traffic congestion altogether.Earlier today NY Times responded to criticism of Tesla's Model S review. KenInCO wrote a diary about it here. Basically they admitted Mr. Broder fucked up.
I discussed it with the people at Tesla by phone during the drive, as well as photo journalist Jeremy Harlan and producer Abby Bassett Heffernan, who were accompanying me in a separate car. We opted for the longer route, though the folks at Tesla advised slowing down a little to conserve energy.
That seemed smart, until we hit traffic. While it wasn't as bad as the epic parking lot that is the Cross Bronx Expressway, I had gone 30 miles out of our way to avoid traffic and I got it anyway. This did not seem like the road to success.
But as I drove into Connecticut, I realized something amazing. Not only did I have enough battery range left, I had plenty. I had at least 40 miles -- more than an entire Chevy Volt's worth of electricity -- left to play with. I sped up, cruising over 70, riding in the left lane, mashing the gas pedal just to feel how fast the car could shoot from 65 to 80. I was practically giddy.
In the end, I made it -- and it wasn't that hard.
Did he use good judgment along the way? Not especially. In particular, decisions he made at a crucial juncture – when he recharged the Model S in Norwich, Conn., a stop forced by the unexpected loss of charge overnight – were certainly instrumental in this saga’s high-drama ending.Well CNBC's Phil Lebeau ALSO decided to follow up on Tesla and he test drove the Model S from DC to Boston. He reported on his trip in real time, checking in with the people of CNBC as the day went.
In addition, Mr. Broder left himself open to valid criticism by taking what seem to be casual and imprecise notes along the journey, unaware that his every move was being monitored. A little red notebook in the front seat is no match for digitally recorded driving logs, which Mr. Musk has used, in the most damaging (and sometimes quite misleading) ways possible, as he defended his vehicle’s reputation.
There are a few videos of his trip along with this key observation
After commenting on "range anxiety" in his last update, Phil put those concerns to rest at the Milford, CT charging station. If you know how far you're going, the car monitors how many more miles you have left. "There shouldn't be range anxiety if you know exactly how far you're going," Phil said. He also said that he'll be charging the car for about 45 minutes before he heads off on the last leg of the drive up to Boston..
Alot of issues and questions were brought up with the NY Times review written by Broder. Some of them Mr. Broder and NY Times tried to respond to, others they failed to completely. Both CNN Money and now today CNBC set out to see who was right and who was wrong in this he said/he said. Both showed that if you charge the car and manage your mileage like you would do a normal IC car you won't have a problem reaching your destination.
Some questions still remain but by and large it seems that the Tesla Model S passed the test given to them by CNN and by CNBC.
NY Times and John M. Broder on the other hand failed the test.
Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 5:22 AM PT: Wow Rec list? Well um thanks guys.
Here's a follow up on the week long debate inPC Magazine.
It seems that a few Tesla owners also recreated the test run from DC to Boston. That may explain why I saw a black one in Westport, CT the other day. Westport is along the route taken and they have a solar powered EV refueling station at the train station off I-95. I have to say it is a sleek car. Even in a town as wealthy as Westport that car stood out and that's saying something considering I saw a Maserati like 5 minutes later. It's not built to be an economy car but rather a luxury vehicle on par with some BMW or Lexus models. Only it's an EV as well. This is the future whether we accept it or not. New hybrids and EV's are being introduced every week. Just recently Toyota announced the hybrid Scion. At under $15,000 that's a great deal for the young struggling college student and it won't burn a hole in their pocket filling up.
Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 1:20 PM PT: 4th quarter results are in.
Greater than expected losses. Income was up however. Tesla anticipates producing 20,000 Model S vehicles this year. They had over 6,000 reservations in 4th quarter compared to 2,900 in 3rd quarter. Most importantly they anticipate making a profit in 1st quarter 2013. Not a bad start.