New York Times Again Jumps at the Chance to Knock Down Tesla Motors

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 30

New York Times vs Tesla Motors - Round 2

New York Times vs Tesla Motors – Round 2

Out of all of the negative press that Telsa Motors received in the aftermath of the Model S fire, one media outlet stood out to us as being the most anti-Tesla.

NY Times Graphic on the Now Famous Brodering of a Model S

NY Times Graphic on the Now Famous Brodering of a Model S

Would you believe us if we told you it was the New York Times?

Can you say Broder?

The Times’ quarrel with Tesla began with the whole “Brodering” incident, but it appears as though the New York Times isn’t giving up.

On October 3, the New York Times published a hugely lopsided article on the Model S fire (link to complete article here).

Below we’re republishing a few graphs (mostly quotes where so-called experts chime in) from the Times article, titled “Car Fire a Test For High-Flying Tesla” to prove our point that the New York Times is not the source for accurate Tesla info.

Here goes:

“Tesla was a success story where everything was going their way,” said Karl Brauer, an analyst with the auto-research firm Kelley Blue Book. “The question now is, how do they deal with this adversity?”

“The company has yet to say whether it is considering changes to the car to prevent similar accidents.”

“Battery experts said that the Tesla fire was bound to generate new questions about the stability of lithium-ion batteries in an automotive collision.”

“This is why you can’t just take cellphone batteries and string them together under the hood,” said Donald R. Sadoway, a professor of materials chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Cars are subject to different uses and abuses.”

“The Tesla battery pack is configured as a long, flat slab on the bottom of the car, beneath the passenger compartment and protected by reinforced metal.”

It's 1 Fire...Yes Only 1

It’s 1 Fire…Yes Only 1

“Ralph J. Brodd, a battery consultant in Henderson, Nev., said the case shielding the battery might not have been strong enough to keep the impact from causing a short circuit.”

“If you have an accident that jars the battery or maybe deforms it a bit, the wiring could go, and then you would have a short,” he said.”

“Analysts said the seemingly routine nature of the accident made the fiery aftermath all the more frightening.”

“It’s a relatively innocuous occurrence to hit something in the road,” Mr. Brauer said. “But in this case there’s a fire, and a fire that’s difficult to put out.”

“Tesla’s founder, the software entrepreneur Elon Musk, has often called the Model S the safest car on the road. But for now, the Washington accident has pierced that perception.”

Definition of "to broder"

Definition of “to broder”

“Tesla is preparing to increase production of the Model S and to introduce other electric cars. Auto experts say it is critical that the company tackle the fire issue head-on — first by working with regulators to determine a cause, and then by developing changes to the car to prevent it from happening again.”

“You have to respond openly and honestly with the public, and work through this with N.H.T.S.A.,” said Jason Vines, an industry consultant who was head of communications at the Ford Motor Company when its Explorer S.U.V.’s equipped with Firestone tires became prone to disastrous rollovers.”

“Mr. Vines said the Tesla fire was likely to generate more doubts about the performance of electric vehicles, which have been slow to catch on with American consumers.”

“This could be another stake in the heart of electric vehicles,” he said. “It is inevitable that some people are going to say they are just not ready to go on the road.”

We get the feeling that the New York Times has a bone to pick with Tesla and, given the reach of the Times, this one-sided information makes its way to tons of readers.  It’s unfortunate that misinformation spreads so readily.  All that we can try to do is to call news organizations out when we see blatant one-sidedness, as in this case here.

Source: New York Times

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30 responses to "New York Times Again Jumps at the Chance to Knock Down Tesla Motors"

  1. philba says:

    You can’t win fighting the press. I hope Tesla takes a slightly different track with this problem than the Broder incident. While continuing to say that the Model S is the safest car on the road, they should also look at how they can make it even safer. It’s a tricky line to walk but people expect car companies to try to minimize safety problems. I think most consumers get that driving has hazards and Tesla should be seen as the company that continuously improves the safety of their cars.

    1. Chris O says:

      I think you can win fighting the press. Between the Broder case and this articles a lot of people interested in green cars have learned to see the NYT for what it really is: just another newspaper with an agenda that’s much broader than presenting reliable facts.

  2. zilm says:

    So bad for Tesla it cannot fly. What a shame!

  3. Dan Frederiksen says:

    I’m not sure it’s particularly organized hate for Tesla at NYT. You can just have a couple of stupid people working at the same place.
    As far as I know Chris Harris doesn’t secretly work for oil companies but he consistently has the same moronic irrational aversion to electric drive. Jeremy Clarkson has been sponsored by an oil company at some point but I don’t think that was his source of stupidity. He was just stupid, and still is but at some level he has actually conceded defeat.
    There will continue to be people around who by the nature of human stupidity will arbitrarily side against electric cars for a while yet. EVs are still a tiny minority of cars in the world even though we dominate the talk, so it is to be expected that some will disapprove.

    1. Robert says:

      I’m english. I grew up watching Jeremy Clarkson. He is the biggest, dumbest, complete moron, you are ever likely to meet. That’s my opinion, that’s it. Thanks for listening.

      1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

        When people say stupid things that earn them lots of money I do not judge their intelligence or opinion based on what they say.

    2. AP Andersen says:

      I happen to like mr. Clarkson, but I can tell the difference about being serious about cars and an hugely successful entertainment show, that revolves around cars. As for mr. Harris, the guy is a legend, super serious about the cars he drives – and an excellent driver. Don’t get the oil company bit – he loved the Tesla Roadster when he drove it a few years back (YouTube) and came away thoroughly impressed after having driven the AMG SLS, though thought the price ludicrous – which it obviously is. He did wonder what the Porsche 918 would have been like without the electric paraphernalia excess weight, but then, the guy’s a racer.

  4. MDEV says:

    How many trolls are waiting for the first victim after a Tesla crash “It will happen” to criticize Tesla MS. What a shame with the Anti-American speech, I never though that so many will be happy that an US amazing product fail.

  5. Bonaire says:

    I’ll ask a simple question. Like a question your grandmother might ask. And think about the answer in as simple a terms as you can.

    “Why does Tesla deserve all this attention?”

    If you push aside the outlandish hype, this is simply a car company.

    1. MDEV says:

      I can answer that, because there are a lot of “oil” interest out there betting for the fail of Tesla. Why? because is the only real car that may disrupt ICEs business, please we have to remember that NYT championed the Irak war, the supposedly more important news paper was moving the agenda of Oil business.
      Tesla is an amazing technological car but the enemies of EVs started fighting back and is only the beginning.

      1. Bonaire says:

        I think you are also making a statement of Tesla is the only EV capable of existing. You know, tens of thousands of EV drivers on the road, not driving Tesla EVs, are doing just fine. It appears that Tesla is not the only real car capable of disrupting ICE business. I have friends who are loving their Leafs, enjoying their Volts on 99% electricity or slightly less (a few 100% electric) and so on. Let’s all share this marketplace and not make it Tesla vs. everyone else vs. ICE while doing so.

        My compelling story is moving from a 25 mpg Mazda 6 over to a (now) 90 mpg lifetime Chevy Volt. I use it for 300-mile one-way trips as well as local commuting. My profile is to drive as much locally on electricity as possible while using it the same as any old car for long trips. No infrastructure needed – but it is nice to get a public J1772 from time to time or someone’s 120V wall socket (millions of them nationwide). If I can reduce my gasoline usage by nearly 2/3rds and climbing – then conventional ICE vehicles surely can be supplanted by a wide variety of EV and electrified solutions ranging from the low $20k to the high 100k+. It’s sad to watch Tesla building a moat around its own success by trying to exclude and bully all other EV comers.

        1. Foo says:

          You have a strange attitude to think that Tesla is somehow “bullying” other EV drivers. What are you talking about?

          1. ModernMarvelFan says:

            Elon did “bash” LEAF and Volt, right?

            Also, Tesla owners tend to “hog” the public L2 chargers (especially at work as their personal chargers) since they have a large battery pack…

        2. Rick says:

          You drive a Leaf and Volt because Tesla open the way for it, this is what is call disruptive. All the hype of EVs is due Tesla. Is not me who is saying it is GM CEO.

        3. bill howland says:

          Bonaire, you’re right that Musk has unduly criticized other EV’s, while not owning up to cold weather trouble with the “S”.

          GM could brag alot more about the Volt, but strangely, they seem quite reserved in its praise. The derivative ELR is a start, but
          they should also come out with a Crossvolt since its already designed.
          \\

          Bob Lutz is always saying how the Volt was a gamechanger, but then, its his baby as much as anyones. I just wish he would get going at Via.

  6. Assaf says:

    Oh, so it was a NYT article where this “stake in heart” crap was published. Thanks Eric – I was just about to mention that ridiculous quote in a blog post.

    No NYT is too big and self-importance to be excused for “stupidity”. With EVs in general and Tesla in particular, they are exhibiting the same “stupidity” they had once shown regarding the Iraq war.

    Just like then, this is not stupidity. It is a flat-out bias against the underdog, complete with denial or twisting of reality. Yes, this time around the “stupidity” will not help bring a war with nearly a million people dead and an entire country destroyed.

    But still, if NYT et al. will succeed in suppressing the EV momentum, and together with other idiots (say those on Capitol Hill) cause it to die out – it will still be a crime of significant proportions.

    Do write the NYT ombudsman about this! There’s also the Sep. 23 article you brought here, proclaiming EV sales “weak” and “slow” in the face of a near-doubling from 2012.

  7. kdawg says:

    Looks like this guy is pretty much a Debbie-downer. That’s what he gets paid for.

    “In 2013, Bill Vlasic was part of the team awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting “for its penetrating look into business practices by Apple and other technology companies that illustrates the darker side of a changing global economy for workers and consumers.””

    http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/v/bill_vlasic/index.html

  8. pjwood says:

    It’s not just NYT, this week. AutoWeek’s cover on car “hacking” ties Google and Tesla before opening up to coverage of Frankfurt (with nothing abut all the electrics that were proudly shown). They frame the idea that, by extension, remote interfaces will force hundreds of cars to someday simultaneously “make a left turn”, with folks “hurt or killed”. They also added a little take-down Opinion piece, specifically about Tesla, from one of their ideologues.

    When you don’t advertise, you haven’t paid the entry fee to a level playing field. With NYT, a Ford industry consultant talking smack is just the paying competition attempting to twist the knife. NYT listened. They, consumers, and even I think a lot of “car-guy’s” don’t get what’s at stake, or what traditional manufacturers have to loose in the High Margin Sales – Much Higher Parts Service Tier Businesses, and lastly fuel $$$. Either the seller, or the buyer, wins. Take stock in what you want to pay for.

    I like this place. It isn’t on a negative campaign. Happy Columbus Day, everyone.

  9. Andrei says:

    When your brain is incapable of great things, and your mind can not “fly” beyond your basic needs, what can you do? Just break the wings of others! In this way you will not feel as dumb as you really are, and that because all the rest already accepted you exactly as you are!

    This is a common problem with frustrated middle age men, that have a little bit of power and a “small” ….co…lumn.

  10. bill howland says:

    My view is the NYTimes is not at fault here. Every company should be able to take a bit of constructive criticism..

    Tesla is still at fault (just checked their website) for calling Tesla the “Safest Car in America”. They were warned by NHTSA not to do that. NHTSA said their car is in the top tier of categories, but does not rank safety within a given category, and Tesla was supposed to change that weeks ago.

    DeFacto, the safest EV around is the Chevy Volt, if anyone has read here on “InsideEvs”, a very greatful Dr. Kerry Johnson’s mail for saving the life of his daughter Caroline. Farmer’s insurance said they had never seen such a mangled car without a fatality. Also, besides being richochet’d backwards and down an embankment and doing somersalts several times, his daughter Caroline could walk away from the accident, and the car didn’t catch fire. (Assumedly, the battery was properly drained during car reclamation).
    And as far as Broder’s driving goes, his experience, as well as Tesla’s own LOGS proved beyond a doubt to me the car still has a very serious design defect of a 65 mile range vampire drain overnight during very cold weather. I calculated this drain as 1840 watts, therefore plugging in would only slow the leak, not add range. Afterwards, a Minnesota Tesla S owner proved my theorem. Musk still has yet to own up to it, although, with the number of cars sold in Norway, they will have to put the battery in a clamshell insulating system before next winter, since that country will surely show En Masse what I’m talking about.

    Unlike others, I hate everything else coming from the NYTimes, but their EV reporting has been responsible , at least to my knowledge.

    1. Rick says:

      Really Ok tell me of a car brand that would never cash fire? A Matchbox right, I can believe this people is like tje Tea Party about cars, get your facts Lady Diane got kill in Mercedes S class one of the safest car on earth, now are arguing that Tesla is insafe because a metal with a 25 Ton broke the battery, the car warn the driver to pull over, get out and it was a fire limyed to the hud ” designed for that” really. Tell us what you drive and let’s go looking formaccidents and safety of your car compate to Tesla.

      1. bill howland says:

        I drive two 2011’s, a volt and a roadster. So don’t get upset over nothing. You never mentioned what you drive. The fact that i ONLY drive EV’s kinda gives me the right to comment on them, no? So what DO you drive?

      2. bill howland says:

        On second thought maybe its not legal for you to drive.

    2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      At least before you jumped to bogus conclusions, you mostly just stated facts rather than stated untruths, which according to the logs is what Broder did.

      Except the statement about the cold weather drain, of course, since firmware 5.0 introduced a sleep mode that significantly reduces the vampire drain and I believe the European Model Ss have an even newer firmware, 5.5. But hey, never let facts get in the way of opinion.

      1. bill howland says:

        Actually, Broder was accused of “trying to drain the battery by driving 1 1/2 miles around the parking lot”. I’ve done that much driving myself trying to find a spot in a crowded huge lot.

        Second, he was accused of not plugging in at the motel he stayed at. Guilty as charged. So what? The motel didn’t have any public access charging facility. As would be considered reasonably prudent, he called Tesla personel to ask what to do when confronted with 25 miles expected range left.

        There were at least 2 things he was told by tesla personel that hurt him, namely to speed up and slow down to get regeneration, (which overall wastes precious battery charge), and that his mileage would come back to him after driving since the 25 mile range was just a glitch (again untrue, the car’s estimation was extremely accurate)… Examining Tesla’s own chart shows the only thing that will give you more range is to charge it. Also examining the charts, the car died “on cue”, right where you would have expected it to.

        I’ve seen no information that Tesla has solved their vampire drain problem in VERY COLD weather, only normal weather (I don’t care which software release).
        If you have definitive information, please share it. But if you are just going to vent about things you are unfamiliar with, then please don’t bother.

  11. Bret says:

    In my opinion, the NY Times might actually be useful, if I was stuck in an outhouse with no toilet paper. They lost any shred of journalistic integrity a long time ago.

  12. Otmar says:

    You can tell the pioneers by the arrows in their backs.
    Those who can’t do, criticize.
    This too shall pass.

  13. Angelo says:

    Sorry folks, but behind all that I smell an oil rat. In case you haven’t noticed, they’re still drilling, in the arctic, and super deep waters. The only way to defeat the bastards is to stop buying the stuff. Without us co dependent consumers, they will eventually go the way of the buggy whip companies. Mr. Musk clearly has this vision, and that’s why GM has been acting nervous lately.

  14. Tyl Young says:

    I love the car, I love the company! The Tesla Model S does not use gasoline or diesel, that alone makes it a winner above and beyond all others. Articles like this one sell papers etc. Elon is busy getting us off oil, one car at a time. ….. and so it goes! … and it is going well.

  15. ClarksonCote says:

    There’s also been ZERO real-world fires in the Volt (just the one in a botched crash test that never had the pack de-energized and caught fire weeks later), but that didn’t stop the media from talking about all sorts of imagined explosions.