Tesla's Elon Musk lambasts New York Times article

After The New York Times published a story critical of the all-electric Tesla Model S's battery life, Tesla's CEO alleged that the article was inaccurate and that he has the car logs to prove it.

The Tesla Model S.
(Credit: Tesla)

Tesla's CEO Elon Musk has become incensed over a news article critical of the all-electric car that was published in The New York Times last week.

"I do not think this is a 'he said, she said' situation," Musk told Bloomberg West in an interview yesterday. "It is really black and white. The facts are the facts."

The tussle got started after The New York Times reporter John Broder wrote an article about taking the Tesla Model S out on a test drive in the East Coast's freezing weather. He claimed that the car couldn't keep a charge and ultimately died before reaching its intended destination. Before leaving on his trip, Broder said that he charged the car until the display read "charge complete"; and then, working to conserve the battery while driving, he said he turned off the car's heat and drove on cruise control at 54 mph.

Musk alleges that none of this is true, and he has the car logs to prove it.

"We will publish the actual logs on the car, and it is crystal clear," Musk told Bloomberg West.

According to Musk, the logs show that Broder did not charge the car to full capacity before taking off on his trip. Also, the reporter allegedly took an unplanned detour through Manhattan and drove well above the speed limit. Musk claims that it was these actions that drove the battery down, rather than the cold or some default of the car.

"If you do all those three things, which we were clear should not be done and obviously, common sense suggests should not be done, then you will not be able to go as far," Musk told Bloomberg West. "If you did not fill a gasoline car's gas tank far enough, then went on a detour and ran out of gas, you should not be surprised if that occurs."

The New York Times is standing by its reporter, however. "The Times's article recounting a reporter's test drive in a Tesla Model S was completely factual, describing the trip in detail exactly as it occurred. Any suggestion that the account was 'fake' is, of course, flatly untrue," a spokesperson from the newspaper told CNET. "Our reporter followed the instructions he was given in multiple conversations with Tesla personnel. He described the entire drive in the story; there was no unreported detour. And he was never told to plug the car in overnight in cold weather, despite repeated contact with Tesla."

However, the newspaper then went on to post a lengthy response to Musks's claims, with Broder admitting: "Knowing then what I know now about the car, its sensitivity to cold and additional ways to maximise range, I certainly would have treated the test differently".

Musk and Broder have agreed to a do-over, which is due to occur "in a few months".

Via CNET.com



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