Tesla's Google Maps graphic of Broder's drive.

Tesla's Google Maps graphic of Broder's drive.

Tesla Motors has now officially refuted the accuracy and accounts of a Model S review published by The New York Times.    The Times’ reviewer insists that the Model S doesn’t meet range claims in cold weather, but Tesla's evidence virtually proves that the range in cold weather claim made by The Times is “a fake.”  In our followup post on this still-developing story, we mentioned that an upcoming Tesla blog post would likely refute cold-weather range claims made against the Tesla Model S by The New York Times.  Well, that blog post is now here and we've highlighted as much detail as possible directly from Tesla.

Here is Tesla's own summary of the key facts as presented by Tesla CEO Elon Musk:

  • As the State of Charge log shows, the Model S battery never ran out of energy at any time, including when Broder called the flatbed truck.
  • The final leg of his trip was 61 miles and yet he disconnected the charge cable when the range display stated 32 miles. He did so expressly against the advice of Tesla personnel and in obvious violation of common sense.
  • In his article, Broder claims that “the car fell short of its projected range on the final leg.” Then he bizarrely states that the screen showed “Est. remaining range: 32 miles” and the car traveled “51 miles," contradicting his own statement (see images below). The car actually did an admirable job exceeding its projected range. Had he not insisted on doing a nonstop 61-mile trip while staring at a screen that estimated half that range, all would have been well. He constructed a no-win scenario for any vehicle, electric or gasoline.
  • On that leg, he drove right past a public charge station while the car repeatedly warned him that it was very low on range.
  • Cruise control was never set to 54 mph as claimed in the article, nor did he limp along at 45 mph. Broder in fact drove at speeds from 65 mph to 81 mph for a majority of the trip and at an average cabin temperature setting of 72 F.
  • At the point in time that he claims to have turned the temperature down, he in fact turned the temperature up to 74 F.
  • The charge time on his second stop was 47 mins, going from -5 miles (reserve power) to 209 miles of Ideal or 185 miles of EPA Rated Range, not 58 mins as stated in the graphic attached to his article. Had Broder not deliberately turned off the Supercharger at 47 mins and actually spent 58 mins Supercharging, it would have been virtually impossible to run out of energy for the remainder of his stated journey.
  • 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?
  • The above helps explain a unique peculiarity at the end of the second leg of Broder’s trip. 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.

Tesla paints a different story.

Tesla paints a different story.

Was Broder driving at the speeds he indicated?  Well, Tesla's data shows otherwise and as we mentioned before, Broder broke past 80 miles per hour, a recipe for a ticket for sure.  No ticket?  Okay, well it still saps range when whizzing along at illegal speeds.

Tesla graphic showing speed throughout the drive.

Tesla graphic showing speed throughout the drive.

"In Mr. Broder’s case, he simply did not accurately capture what happened and worked very hard to force our car to stop running," claims Elon Musk.   And do you need more evidence than this graphic below, which shows Broder driving in circles to kill the Tesla Model S?  These data points are taken directly from the Model S' on-board computer.  Hard to deny this?

Data points showing Model S driving in circles.

Data points showing Model S driving in circles.

Musk's opening statement closed with this request directed at the NY Times:

"When the facts didn’t suit his opinion, he simply changed the facts. Our request of The New York Times is simple and fair: please investigate this article and determine the truth. You are a news organization where that principle is of paramount importance and what is at stake for sustainable transport is simply too important to the world to ignore."

We don't believe for a single second that the NY Times will take a back seat in this matter.  So, look for a response to come soon.  But does the NY Times have substantial data to support its side?  We doubt it.  For now, we'll call this one a win for Tesla Motors and it seems Tesla feels the same way as one of it spokespersons issued this statement:

"Please note, no one from Tesla – including Elon – will be providing additional comment on this topic moving forward, as we feel the blog speaks for itself.  At this time, this post is the company’s final statement on the issue."

Update:  Trick gallery feature added below.  Click on images twice for enlarged versions of Tesla's additional graphics that dispute the NY Times claims.

via Tesla Motors Blog