Tesla electric car review reveals the nightmares that await buyers, Elon Musk calls the review a ‘fake’
The automaker is accusing the NY Times of printing a fake review, one full of negatives, horrible problems and trappings of owning an electric car.
In the New York Times review, author John Broder sought to drive a car from Washington, D.C., to Boston. Along the way, he hit up the new charging stations Tesla installed on the East Coast and reported his take on the experience.
The review begins with “Tesla, the electric-car manufacturer run by Elon Musk, the billionaire behind PayPal and SpaceX, offered a high-performance Model S sedan for a trip along the newly electrified stretch of Interstate 95.”
Here’s the author’s analysis of the charging experience: “The 480-volt Supercharger stations deliver enough power for 150 miles of travel in 30 minutes, and a full charge in about an hour, for the 85 kilowatt-hour Model S. (Adding the fast-charge option to cars with the midlevel 60 kilowatt-hour battery costs $2,000.) That’s quite a bit longer than it takes to pump 15 gallons of gasoline, but at Supercharger stations Tesla pays for the electricity, which seems a reasonable trade for fast, silent and emissions-free driving. Besides, what’s Sbarro for?”
While this is not a plausible scenario for a long trip, trying to drive for a few hours and then charging for one, the normal city usage appears to be satisfactory.
The $101,000 luxary car nightmare then begins.
“After 49 minutes, the display read “charge complete,” and the estimated available driving distance was 242 miles…As I crossed into New Jersey some 15 miles later, I noticed that the estimated range was falling faster than miles were accumulating. At 68 miles since recharging, the range had dropped by 85 miles, and a little mental math told me that reaching Milford would be a stretch.”
Now the driver lists a barrage of issues that may be key in evaluating the electric car capabilities: reduce the “battery-draining amenities” by cutting off the heat, don’t keep up with traffic, and don’t use the cruise control. Additionally there were issues with the “dead” car being a difficult tow.
Tesla owner Elon Musk is calling out the review as fake.
Musk also takes to task what he says are Broder’s inconsistent charging habits. From Musk’s takedown of the review:
For his first recharge, he charged the car to 90%. During the second Supercharge, despite almost running out of energy on the prior leg, he deliberately stopped charging at 72%. On the third leg, where he claimed the car ran out of energy, he stopped charging at 28%. Despite narrowly making each leg, he charged less and less each time. Why would anyone do that?
Prior to Musk’s potentially damning blog post, John Broder published a fairly detailed rebuttal of some of Musk’s earlier criticisms. “My account was not a fake,” Broder wrote. “It happened just the way I described it.”
The largest takeaway from Broder’s response is this: Much of what Broder did — or didn’t do — was, he says, at the behest of Tesla personnel, with whom he claims to have been in contact throughout the trip.