As Twitchy reported, Tesla Motors co-founder Elon Musk took to Twitter to dispute John Broder’s account of his Model S running out of charge during a mileage test, leaving him stranded and in need of a tow. Musk called the story in the New York Times “fake” and said he had the car’s logs to prove it, further suggesting that Broder’s bias against electric cars led him to deliberately sabotage the test.
Broder doesn’t tweet often, but he made sure Twitter was aware of his response to Musk’s allegations. In short, he stands by his story, saying that a bitterly cold night sapped the battery, although he does admit to driving at 75 miles per hour for a stretch rather than the recommended 65. Technically, it does look like Broder broke the rules, but to be honest, there were a lot of rules.
Several of his colleagues at the New York Times have declared their membership on Team Broder.
Broder says he spoke to Musk before his review went online, and Musk suggested that charging stations should be closer together to account for weather conditions and traffic.
Musk, on the other hand, has posted extensive annotated data logs and graphs on his blog. Richard Dawkins, most famous for not believing in God, is a true believer in the Model S.
We’re not about to defend the New York Times against charges of bias, but it is strange to see an environmental reporter charged with deliberately making an electric car look bad.
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Broder has posted his official response to Musk’s data logs and refutes Musk’s claims point-by-point.
For example, Broder says the unexpected detour was not an attempt to drain the batter but to find a charger.
Mr. Straubel [Tesla’s chief technology officer] said Tesla did not store data on exact locations where their cars were driven because of privacy concerns, although Tesla seemed to know that I had driven six-tenths of a mile “in a tiny 100-space parking lot.” While Mr. Musk has accused me of doing this to drain the battery, I was in fact driving around the Milford service plaza on Interstate 95, in the dark, trying to find the unlighted and poorly marked Tesla Supercharger. He did not share that data, which Tesla has now posted online, with me at the time.