Elon Musk, New York Times Not Letting Tesla Test Drive Go

The Tesla Model S, Motor Trend Car of the Year is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 15, 2013.
Photo: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

Tesla CEO Elon Musk followed through on his threat to post the full data logs from a recent New York Times test drive after reporter John Broder claimed a nightmare trip full of glitches. In a post on the company’s blog last night, Musk claims “the Model S battery never ran out of energy at any time,” even when Broder called to have the vehicle towed. Directly contradicting many facts in the original article and Broder’s follow-up, the Tesla founder (certainly not a disinterested party in this case) said the driver “simply did not accurately capture what happened and worked very hard to force our car to stop running.” The Times plans to continue fighting back.

Musk’s list of complaints, which comes with charts, includes allegations that Broder “drove right past a public charge station while the car repeatedly warned him that it was very low on range”; drove consistently faster than he said he did; and seemed to waste energy on purpose by turning up the temperature when he said he turned it down. Musk also claims Broder drove around in circles for .6 miles at a charging station “trying to get Model S to stop”:

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.

In an e-mail to Daily Intelligencer, Broder disputed this point: “One, the range was already at zero miles. Two, I was circling the parking lot in the service plaza looking for the unmarked and unlighted Supercharger port in the dark. I was not trying to drain the battery.” He promised “a detailed rebuttal” soon on the TimesWheels blog.

As we have said previously, our story was fair and accurate,” added Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy. “We plan to post a more detailed response to Tesla’s latest assertions after we have had an opportunity to review them in detail.”

Elon Musk, Times Tesla Not Letting Test Drive Go