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An editor with The New York Times backs up Elon Musk's claims that a reporter's test drive of a...

An editor with The New York Times backs up Elon Musk's claims that a reporter's test drive of a Tesla Motors (TSLA) was flawed, saying "casual and imprecise notes" were taken during the trip. Though falling short of saying the reporter sabotaged the drive intentionally, it's a major win for Musk and the company in the high-profile PR battle .
Comments (34)
  • In the real world isn't life casual & imprecise? If the car has to be driven within strict confines who's going to be able or willing to do it?
    19 Feb 2013, 07:32 AM Reply Like
  • I agree that life is casual and imprecise, and it`s important that people who buy EVs know that long trips need a bit of planning.


    But then again, I would (and I`m going to) gladly swap my current 30-40 visits to the gas station every year, with 2-4 supercharger visits.
    19 Feb 2013, 08:17 AM Reply Like
  • Ron, it's a new technology, and there are some basic rules that weren't followed. Just like any vehicle, there are things that the author of that article could have avoided if he had simply read the very small manual that comes with this car. It's not "rocket science"!
    19 Feb 2013, 08:24 AM Reply Like
  • To ron284


    Yes, real life is not so precise, however, if you filled up your gas powered car with just a couple of gallons but know you needed more to complete your trip, do you think you would be stranded on the side calling AAA??? The NYT reporter never filled up properly and did not charge overnight, which he clearly could have done. The roadtrip has already been taken again with success by casual and imprecise people who know how much they need before they travel to their destination.
    19 Feb 2013, 08:25 AM Reply Like
  • No more careful planning than I currently do with my ICE. Fill the tank, check the oil, check the fluids, watch the gauge and refill before I run out.


    OH WAIT!! I won't have to check the OIL!!!
    19 Feb 2013, 07:25 PM Reply Like
  • I could never imagine that someone could be so wrong in just two sentences.
    19 Feb 2013, 07:54 AM Reply Like
  • The editor said "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."


    I don't see any way in the world that sentence can be fairly construed as backing up Mr. Musk's claims.
    19 Feb 2013, 08:01 AM Reply Like
  • how about;


    "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."


    "Did he use good judgment along the way? Not especially."


    She has clearly suggested they both could have handled themselves better, she denies the malicious intent inferrred by Musk as it can never be proven and will remain he says he says speculation. However for a Public editor to outright say a journalist showed poor judgement and of keeping casual and imprecise notes is about as damning as she could reasonable be expected to be under the circumstances.
    19 Feb 2013, 03:14 PM Reply Like
  • Even if the had instructed the reporter to cause the Model S to fail, and knew for certain that it was intentional, they would never flat out admit it, would they?


    They probably say something like "casual and imprecise notes" were taken during the trip.


    No mystery there...
    19 Feb 2013, 07:41 PM Reply Like
  • Mr. Petersen the passage you have selected makes more sense when it is viewed in it's greater context,


    "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."


    The sentence you have chosen does not back Mr. Musk's claims. Nor does the paragraph give any strong feeling of Margaret Sullivan "siding" with Elon Musk, but when you read the title of the article,


    "Problems With Precision and Judgment, but Not Integrity, in Tesla Test"


    and read the various other paragraphs brought to light by the comment above by Oz_Rob, I think the overall gist of the article clearly shows Margaret believes that John M. Broder could have exercised better judgement - in general.
    20 Feb 2013, 06:13 AM Reply Like
  • John has no need to reference things in context, why would he when he can simply take half the paragraph and suddenly it agrees with his longstanding firmly held position.
    20 Feb 2013, 06:37 AM Reply Like
  • I simply love how the logs shows that Broder lied :)


    Note to self: The new NYT definition of lying is "being casual/imprecise". And lying is OK, as long as you`re not monitored.


    Low standards....
    19 Feb 2013, 08:12 AM Reply Like
  • The issue is not that he was slightly wrong on a fact or two in his story, and those few facts that were recorded incorrectly did not have an effect on the result of the story.


    The issue is that the entire story and the negative outcomes of that story (i.e. this car is not capable of making a trip in convenient way as stated by TSLA) is based on multiple facts that were not just slightly misconsruued but vastly overstated.


    Such as the driver making stating that the car was freezing, and that he was going 33% faster than what he stated he was going (60 mph vs 45).
    19 Feb 2013, 08:18 AM Reply Like
  • The issue wasn't the 'strict confines' it was the misleading reporting. He reported something as accurate and precise when it wasn't (as said best by NYT editor).


    Yes, of course the Tesla has to be charged. Is that really worth reporting? It's amazing in every other way.
    19 Feb 2013, 08:22 AM Reply Like
  • Well, in the real world if you own a 90k performance sedan it likely isn't your only car. If you plan on going hundreds of miles in a hurry, you're going to take your Porsche or an airplane. You could take the Tesla, but you'll need to be prepared to grab a cup of coffee while the thing charges. Fortunately, this is only once every four+ hours of highway driving, which falls in line with what a reasonable person would want to do at a single stretch. However, if you're going to take a high performance luxury sedan to work and around town everyday, I don't see a better competitor than the Tesla.
    19 Feb 2013, 08:24 AM Reply Like
  • One thing one learns in life is to pay attention to change.


    After 60 + years shelling out $ to big oil and the big 3 ,it's refreshing to watch Elon Musk turn the auto industry upside down.


    It's a better way to get from A to B.


    Embrace it! It beats the cost of oil spills,,,,,
    19 Feb 2013, 08:40 AM Reply Like
  • This is simply an example of the "finest journalism" that the NYT trumpets in their tv adds. The times has always been biased, that has not changed.
    19 Feb 2013, 08:50 AM Reply Like
  • The editor agreed with what many commenters and owners were saying about the car.


    Broder did not use good judgement when it comes to the car, nor did he remotely follow the manual or any advice in the manual- that's more or less the summary from the editor.


    The editor did not come out and say "he lied" since there would be huge ramifications to the NYT.


    I would say the editor is about 80% on Teslas side and 20% on Broder's. it's not a perfect win for Tesla and Musk, but a win non the less. If Musk had just said Broders speeds, cabin temp, and charging were shady in Broders account and provided the data, shown a quick video of how simple it is to change to max range, and provided the user manual with the highlighted sections, it would have been a perfect win.


    It's a win in another way for Tesla too, in that it made people aware of the car and the discussions about the car, it encouraged other organizations to make the same trip and it also made people question the validity of other anti-EV arguments since there was blatant lapses in common sense on Broders part.
    19 Feb 2013, 09:05 AM Reply Like
  • EV's have their limitations - my friend owns a Leaf, get about 60-70 miles on a charge, has put 30,000+ miles on the car, NEVER been stranded, NEVER put a drop of gas in it - he lives out a bit and so when "planning" a trip to San Diego, CA he uses his vegetable burner (Mercedes on vegetable oil bought from Smart and Final) - he still NEVER stops at a gas station - with a Tesla he could do less planning, travel farther, and enjoy the ride more - I personally have looked at my driving habits and the Tesla will get me everywhere I ever to go, in style - when Gen III comes out I will expand the fleet -
    19 Feb 2013, 10:02 AM Reply Like
  • I recently went on a 50 mile trip in a Leaf. Temperature was about 10F. (I live in Norway) Unfortunate events turned the 45 mile trip into a 80 mile trip. Was the Leaf able to do the 80 mile trip in 10F? No. Did I get stranded? No. How come? I charged for 15 minutes at a CHAdeMO charger.
    19 Feb 2013, 10:25 AM Reply Like
  • $55,000 buck car - totally worth it. If you live anywhere in the north make sure you plug-in for charging every night from october to april or else your battery will be sucked dry for just existing.
    19 Feb 2013, 10:46 AM Reply Like
  • Of course you are wrong, but you allready knew that?


    1. The range reduction over night due to cold is not correct. Only some of it comes from systems draining the battery (and this drain will be reduced with about 75% when Tesla makes a bug free version of the sleep mode).


    2. Some of the range comes back when the battery is reheated. Of course, some power is used in the process of reheating the battery, but everyone who has ever used batteries in the cold know that they seem weaker when cold, but work fine once they heat up.


    3. The best thing about owning an EV is that you wake up to a full battery every morning. Why on earth would you skip plugging in? You try to make plugging in a bad thing, when in fact it is great and saves you loads of visits to the gas station every year....


    If you could fill your gas tank up while you sleep for a fraction of the cost of a gas-station refill, would you let it refill?
    19 Feb 2013, 02:50 PM Reply Like
  • Thanks. You just confirmed whatever I just said ....


    #1 "Only some of it comes from systems draining the battery (and this drain will be reduced with about 75% when Tesla makes a bug free version of the sleep mode). "


    #2: "Of course, some power is used in the process of reheating the battery, "


    #3 "Why on earth would you skip plugging in?"


    ummm - maybe because the battery gets sucked dry for just existing?
    20 Feb 2013, 07:08 AM Reply Like
  • There is one thing that we need to realize, and that is that Mr. Broder is human - he can make mistakes, especially with new technology with which he has no experience. Yes, he made mistakes, but as we learned from the Tesla caravan of several cars that just retraced Mr. Broder's trip, glitches can happen with the car as well as the quick charging stations. In the case of the caravan, a similar experience happened with them as Mr. Broder said happened to him - that is, one of the cars would only charge up to about 185 miles and no further; however, here the similarity ends: A quick call to Tesla Service (which every Tesla owner has free access to) and the problem was resolved almost right away, with several downloads to the car and quick charger, thus allowing the car to be fully charged as desired.


    The difference with Tesla and other car makers, is that with Tesla many times the problem can be corrected on the spot just as it was here. If not, then Tesla will come and fix the car on the spot as part of the warranty, free of charge. Unless, of course, it is caused by bumbling by the owner. One of the people on the caravan even had a flat tire, which was fixed by Tesla, even though it was on a Sunday. What happened to Broder, and why he couldn't figure out what to do, I do not know. All I know is that when a problem arose with the caravan, that everything worked smoothly. And my own experience with Tesla has been similar - when I needed a little help from them to check out something that I didn't think was right, there was instant response correcting what was needed.
    19 Feb 2013, 12:23 PM Reply Like
  • It also helps if ...
    "It is worth noting that George Blankenship, Vice President of Sales & Ownership Experience was monitoring the road trip and was in phone contact with one of the leaders of the trip earlier in the day. "


    and find the comment about half way down the article.
    19 Feb 2013, 01:54 PM Reply Like
  • I still think the string of negative non-stories about Tesla are clearly designed to manipulate the stock and hence the value of the company. Owners/users of the cars either don't have these problems, or they have found ways to over come them, like read the manual, charge the batteries. DUH!
    19 Feb 2013, 01:17 PM Reply Like
  • Makes you wonder if the NYT guy was hoping to help the shorts?
    19 Feb 2013, 01:39 PM Reply Like
  • I have been long on Tesla since IPO It strikes me as odd to publish the NYT article without verifying the reporter story now the editor is backtracking with his short sighted ness
    19 Feb 2013, 01:40 PM Reply Like
  • I have said that I think Tesla should sue the NYT and Broder should be investigated as to if he or any close family/friends were short Tesla stock at time of publication.
    Despite his weak rebuttal a 5 year old could have made this road trip work with a bit of common has been shown by many others who have now duplicated it step for step.
    19 Feb 2013, 02:44 PM Reply Like
  • I agree!
    19 Feb 2013, 07:49 PM Reply Like
  • Dear Mr. Broader
    Perhaps the laws of physics cease to exist in your battery. Were these magic volts? Did you buy them from the same guy who sold Jack his beanstalk beans?
    19 Feb 2013, 02:56 PM Reply Like
  • After following this story for the past few days I've come to the conclusion that Mr. Broder needed a story and if the Model S had only had a charging issue and a couple of other minor complaints, Mr. Broder would have had a non-story. But the tow truck is a hell of a story and he ran with it. That is not likely the way he would have gone with the story today but only Mr. Broder knows for sure. After reading the NYT follow-up story here
    it seems clear that internally the NYT is unhappy with the loose reporting even if they are still defending their reporter. It also seems clear that Mr. Musk will not back down or offer any quarter in this disagreement. He may have every right to bludgeon this reporter and by association the NYT, but this course of action will most likely have consequences in the future when Tesla needs all the media friends the company can muster.
    As this specific story fades from general public memory, it will remain fixed in the mind of every automotive reporter in the US. They may be more careful when they report on Tesla but if the company mis-steps, they may show Mr. Musk the same level of mercy he has shown Mr. Broder.
    19 Feb 2013, 10:54 PM Reply Like
  • That's why Auto reporters from many of the major media players including CNN and MSNBC have already recreated the NYT trip successfully and reported on them?
    20 Feb 2013, 06:39 AM Reply Like
  • This was not the first disparaging of Tesla. In fact if you have been following both this story and the company more generally, you would note and remember the Top Gear fiasco that led to the installation of tracking devices in the cars when provided by the company to reviewers.


    That story too led to a recant and 'adjustment' of reported facts by the individuals involved.


    In any event this whole incident reeks of overexaggeration and sensationalism. If there is any 'problem' with EVs it is a problem of infrastructure (charging stations) which is rapidly fading under the dozens of various initiatives in place by public and private interests nationwide.


    The car should be judged on its merit as a product of the first new US automaker in generations, against comparable vehicles in its class, more so than on simple range.


    It is telling that most disparaging comments mention the vehicles' cost before berating its range but do not compare it against similar ICE vehicles in its price class (and never refer to total cost of ownership). Nor do most disparaging comments acknowledge the fact that the vast majority of drivers rarely drive more than half of the car's max range.
    20 Feb 2013, 07:57 AM Reply Like
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