Shared publicly  - 
 
NYT responds in detail to Elon Musk's criticisms re. its Model S and Supercharger review.
3
2
Gordon Haff's profile photoDavid Jacobowitz's profile photothomaso del kuzmano's profile photoStephen Shankland's profile photo
6 comments
 
Nice little slur slipped in there: "taxpayer-supported".  The article was also published in a taxpayer-supported newspaper, but I don't see how it's relevant.

The whole thing feels more like journalists sticking up for journalists. Cooper is sure that the underlying issue here is one about electric cars and not about journalist ethics: "If there is a lesson in this episode, it's keep a close eye on the mileage gauge and when driving a rather experimental car, don't always rely on the manual."  Noone looked at the manual as far as I can see.

The thrust of the response from Broder is that he ignored the in-car range info, and preferred the incorrect advice he was getting on the phone from Tesla.  Since nobody recorded the phone calls that's hard to verify, but it doesn't really change the dishonesty issue.  It's just wrong to claim that you set the cruise control to 54mph when it's clearly set to 60mph (you can see the flat bit in the graph).  And later to write that you "limped along at 45mph" when the speed was 50-55 the whole time?  This is the sort of lie you make when you think you won't be found out and lame innuendo about "privacy" just looks to me like an attempt to divert attention from the fact that he was busted.

I don't buy the argument that narrower tires made the speedometer wrong.  It's not the width of the tires that determines the speed, and I've never been in a car that overestimated speed at all, especially not by more than 10% (verified by GPS).  In the latest post he backpedals from "limping along at 45mph" to "I tried to keep the speed at 50 or below without impeding traffic".  So which is it?

He writes "as Tesla’s logs clearly show, much of my driving was at or well below the 65 m.p.h. speed limit, with only a single momentary spike above 80", but is he hoping people will not bother to look at the graph?  There is lots of time where he is above 70 and there are two spikes over 80.
 
Different diameter tires can make a difference in speed and odometer readings. I've seen cars that overestimate speed, at least as measured by those flashing radar-detection stations put up to slow people down, but not by anything like 10%.

I agree that the purported advice from the Tesla people, or how it was interpreted, seems suspect. Really? Speed up and slow down to improve your range? Come on -- that's inane on the face of it. I do see plenty of room for miscommunication when you're driving and talking to PR people who aren't actually there.
 
Do not pick an argument with someone who buys ink by the barrel. Doubly so if you are an internationally known jerk.
 
Broder's story about the tire diameter does not make much sense. Any speedometer that converts angular velocity to linear would overestimate the speed if it was calibrated with a larger tire and operated with a smaller one. Was Musk's log GPS derived or speedometer derived. If the former, Broder has almost surely been busted.
 
I've been probably way too fascinated in this story. On the one hand, Tesla has really done cool work even if--I strongly suspect--hybrid plug-ins are going to be a far more practical solution for mainstream use for the foreseeable future.

But Musk comes across to me as way too quick to blame any criticism on user stupidity and even malice. See earlier stories about batteries being damaged by draining.

There are some legitimate questions about the Times story. The speed discrepancy--the thing with the tires doesn't really make sense to me. And I'm still unclear on what exactly was said (and what the writer understood from the conversation) that caused him to think he could take off even though the range shown was insufficient (although it had been the previous night). 

But a lot of what Musk wrote is either largely innuendo or it's not really inconsistent with what was reported given that one side has a data recorder and the other side has a notebook and pen and isn't conducting a laboratory experiment.
Add a comment...