First: I realize the fact that what the hardware logs show and what the user was shown may not be one and the same (i.e. hardware sensors may indicate charge at 28% but due to a bug (it's possible!) it may be shown to be full). But their travel logs shred, I repeat, shred Broder's credibility and claims alike.
It really does look like he was hell-bent on ripping Tesla a new one in his review. Taking Tesla's rebuttal at face value: purposely embarking on journeys over twice the indicated available range, driving around in circles in an empty parking lot to kill batteries, turning up the heat and claiming to have turned it down ("shaking, shivering, and with white knuckles" no less).
They post images, graphs, logs, maps, and more. I'm incredibly surprised at how well they're defending themselves against dishonest reviews - for example, I'd never have thought to log the changes to the cabin temperature, but apparently they've done so and more!
This post makes me want to reconsider a Model S as my next car. As far as I'm concerned, this is exactly the kind of attention to detail I want going into the engineering, design, and manufacture of my vehicle.
I'd be interested in hearing NYT's response to this - they previously stated unconditionally that they stand by Broder's review and believe it to be honest, truthful, and factual.
If indeed at the end of the day this was Broder pushing his own agenda, not only ignoring but outright faking facts, then I think his journalistic career should be over.
Musk opens the rebuttal with: "We are upset by this article because it does not factually represent Tesla technology, which is designed and tested to operate well in both hot and cold climates."
It certainly feels somewhat disingenuous to mention nothing, of what arguably should be, the central discussion point:
The Model S (more specifically the car's Li-Ion battery pack) performs unusually poorly in frigid conditions.
While as a nerdier group we tend to love data and generally have a higher faith in empirical methods, in this instance, it does appear more like a data deluge. As a result, this ends up detracting focus and deflecting any valid criticism of the car.
Although I've been following TM for years now, the battery pack temperature issue was still a surprise to me. More importantly, Tesla owners are finding this out the hard way too. 
Did the NYT reporter add a little journalistic embellish to the story? Probably. Is the review a complete work of fiction as Musk judged it? Unlikely, and what is more probable is that Musk has simply overreacted and has taken it personally. Indeed he is still human after all.
When reading the article I found it interesting that for the data points relating to the NYT test drive he speaks in precise and specific numbers. When discussing the vehicles in cold climates (Norway and Sweden) he speaks in "per capita" and "half", but never mentions exact numbers.
The cold weather battery issue is certainly something not worth glassing over. It doesn't have to be a deal-killer for the car, but is probably something that they shouldn't try to politic around. It's not like a firmware upgrade is going to suddenly circumvent a chemical/physics issue with the battery, so just be up front about the current state of the battery technology.
Agree that it's not a total work of fiction and there are clearly issues that EV shoppers should consider.
But how much embellishment should we expect and allow in future reviews from the NYT? Integrity in journalism is pretty much everything, and it looks like enough questions are being raised that some readers will wonder what the NYT is mischaracterizing.
If you listen to the interviews Musk gave with the likes of Bloomberg about this, he explains how they have taken care to make the car perform well in the cold. Things such as moving heat from the motor into the battery-pack and, when it detects cold temperatures, closing shutters at the front of the car to insulate it.
To be fair though, sub-zero temperature battery issues generally affect EVs across the board. However, Tesla is positioning itself as the first mainstream car manufacture to go all out on EV. Thus, surely the onus ought to fall with them, when it comes to educating the 'ICE(internal combustion engine)-driving' public as to the potential pitfalls and differences between ICEs and EVs? Instead the company seems to be ignoring the issue, hoping it will go away.
It's not within the public's experience, that if you leave your vehicle unplugged overnight, in extreme cold, the range can have reduced itself significantly by the next morning. Contrastingly, operating under normal conditions, the manual allegedly states (Page 25) about a 1% discharge rate per day. 
Now ordinarily I might say this is a once off. But it would appear, lack of adequate customer education is a recurring concern.
Consider the case of an early adopter (Max Drucker) that had his Tesla Roadster bricked . He was told he needed to pay $40 000 for a new battery pack because he was 'negligent'. His transgression? Leaving it unplugged for 2 months in a temporary garage while renovating his home.
What could be negligent, is Tesla failing to highlight possible issues pertaining to their EV vehicles and how they differ from ICE expectations. Burying important or even critical details in the manual/warranty docket, seems questionable.
Still a huge supporter of what they are trying to achieve, but their refusal to admit any fault and tendency to blame the customer, is a tad off-putting.
I'm a journalist, and I expected what was written by Broder to be accurate, not embellished. This isn't Top Gear. There is no story to tell, just the truth.
It doesn't surprise me that a big media columnist on a topic is so in-bed with the industry he covers that he goes out of his way to defend incumbents from newcomers. I'm just glad that this nonsense has been exposed for what it is.
I'll be interested to see how the NYT handles it - though I suspect it'll be with denials and obfuscation as is par for the course for them in what has been a shameful decade or more of bogus stories, fabrications and toeing the establishment line on everything even in the face of countervailing evidence (that's as long as I've been in the US and paying attention).
More likely his thinking has been formed by years of contact with the industry he covers; his bias is more likely to implicit and unconscious than explicit and willful.
There is no denial of the Tesla losing 60 miles range overnight. There isn't a denial of Tesla telling him that the battery would regain its charge and range when it warmed up in the final leg. *Edit: Although it does certainly say they told him not to stop charging on that final charge.
But Broder pushed it. Trying to get the battery to die in his first Milford stop is an obvious one. But when he failed to do that, he got a second chance by leaving Norwich without possibly being able to make it back to Milford. Both Broder and Musk agree that the car showed 32 miles of range, and that the car had made it 51 miles. But he would have known, before he left Norwich, that the distance to Milford was 61 miles. How Broder reasonably expect he would get there?
As a result, he gets his dramatic photo of the Motor Trend Car of the Year, helpless on a flatbed truck.
As they say a picture is worth a thousand words. I can't help but think all the author wanted is that photo.
Face it, he's biased. Even if he made every effort to be honest in the review, in the end, he's true to himself and his own ideals.
As for driving that final stretch with 30 miles range showing - his story is that Tesla told him it would be fine because it would be regained through the battery conditioning. Tesla says that they told him not to stop charging. Well there is a lot of wiggle room for both those statements to be true.
Well, that should be obvious: the car stops. But even if that's what he wanted to do, he should have acknowledged it. At the end of the day, there's lots of reasons to not buy a Tesla or an EV in general. But this is a question of integrity, and when it starts to sound like the reviewer didn't provide a fair review, it brings a lot of collateral damage to the entire organization.
> Well there is a lot of wiggle room for both those statements to be true.
Agree. I went back and read that portion again. It's possible that he was falsely told that the range would be greater than indicated. Or he was told that a few minutes of charging would help the range, and simply assumed that what he did was enough, while ignoring the actual displayed range.
Clarification on this point is important because that's the headline and lead photo of this article -- that he was completely stranded.
Yeah but does it stop on zero? Does it brick the car?
As it turns out Tesla knows what they are doing, and there is a reserve, probably that's pretty disappointing as a car journalist. But hey, when did we think car journalists were on the side of car manufacturers?
But, then Broder should have mentioned it in his article, like: "I drove around for a few minutes on empty while right in front of the charging station to see what would happen. But Tesla's battery outlasted my patience and I decided just to charge instead."
Broder claims: "Tesla’s experts said that pumping in a little energy would help restore the power lost overnight as a result of the cold weather, and after an hour they cleared me to resume the trip to Milford."
In other words, it sounds like he thought that the 65 miles of range he lost overnight would be restored by charging it a little bit more at Norwich. He says he just couldn't make it to the next charging station by the time he realized this clearly wasn't going to work.
It would have taken him, oooh, about 8 hours to do a full charge at Norwich. What actually seems more likely - Elon Musk's insinuations that the only reason he didn't charge up fully there was because he was deliberately trying to run the car flat, or the journalist not wanting to hang around for an entire day in a small town in freezing weather?
(Also, looking closely at the graphs I think I underestimated the charge times. It'd be more like 10 hours, which would basically wind up adding another day to the trip - after which Elon would presumably have written a blog post complaining that he could have just charged enough to get to the Supercharger and done the journey much faster, and use that as evidence he was maliciously trying to discredit Tesla. It's lose-lose for the unlucky journalist.)
Tesla explicitly refutes that point by saying Broder ignored warnings against leaving Norwich. Also, I mean, come on: range says 30 and you have to go 60 miles so...you...disconnect the power? Interesting, especially since it's not the first time he tried to kill the car (see "driving around parking lot for 5 minutes with zero range").
But then again...look at the battery chart just before the Norwich charge. You see zero increase in distance, and a large (=60-70 miles) drop in range. That's the evening where he lost a bunch of power. That's a problem for Tesla.
Anyway, Broder has a rebuttal to Musk's initial claims here . I'm curious to see how he responds to this blog post, especially what seems to be a deliberate attempt to kill the car's power before recharging at Milford the second time.
It's not JUST that he drove in circles, that takes it out of context. It is within the broader narrative that you realize how sinister that action really was.
Zero doubt in my mind this was a pre-scripted hatchet job. The only question in my mind was whether the deception rises to the level of termination.
I know, right? No rational person would put the cruise on 60, sometimes do 80, and expect the cabin temperature to be a balmy 75 degrees.
Broder's article was a hack job. That's obvious. But I can't come to terms with how a rational person would want to stop every 3 hours to charge a car for an hour. Get yourself a small turbo-diesel and you're doing this trip in probably half the time, thanks to no charging and setting the cruise at whatever you want. Oh, and you can play whatever music and set the cabin temperature to whatever you'd like. And it's 1/5th the price.
I'm not surprised that the Times wrote a shitty article. I am surprised at how bad the Tesla looks as a daily driver.
Granted, I'm not going to buy a Model S to do this sort of commute, but then, what is the article trying to sell me? The idea that you can take a car like this on an extensive trip. And, to me, it looks absolutely terrible in that regard, especially in the winter. Somehow people take that as an affront to climate change, puppies, the internet and Elon Musk himself.
But going from that to "absolutely terrible" reads as pretty hyperbolic, and I think that's what you're getting from "people".
Maybe terrible is overstated. But if we're talking about average Joe making a commute between NY and Boston, how does the Tesla make any sense whatsoever? Between the low recommended speeds and charge times, you're looking at increasing the length of the trip by 50%, no? There's a huge loss in efficiency there. We're not even talking about the overnight loss of power, or the discomfort associated with guidelines on cabin temperature and gadgets.
I think it's pretty clear that the EV is still sort of niche. It's a grocery-getter/weekend driver. Definately a nice one, probably a fun one. But they have a ways to go.
The charging does add half an hour to a three-and-a-half hour trip, about 15%; maybe a little longer if it's below freezing. That's the price you pay to be off gasoline before it was cool, you know that up front.
But look at the distances: The long leg is only 144 miles, well within Model S range. And Musk has acknowledged that on the east coast, in cold weather, those charging stations should be closer together, which could bring that trip closer to 100 miles per leg, which presumably can be done in comfort even in the cold.
It's totally doable; takes a little longer, but I like to stretch my legs and grab a cheeseburger during that drive anyway. That just doesn't say "niche" to me. The people who are making that trip every day are the niche.
This is true. I was considering round trip. The information is from the Wiki:
400 miles @ 65mph ~ 6.5 hours in an ICE, if you have to gas up along the way.
400 miles @ 54mph ~ 7.5 hours + 2.5 hours of charging.
That's quite a difference; one is a day trip, the other is an long day. And it's worse in the winter. Canada is a big place. I regularly drive, 4,5,6 hours without stopping. I have a hard time understanding how people think stopping for an hour every 3 hours of your trip is reasonable. To me, the answer would be to not use the Model S in such a situation, which is fine. But when I have to say, "That trip is too far for my car", and said car approaches 6 figures, it means it's niche, IMHO.
Using the same hyperdriving techniques Tesla is recommending of driving 45mph on the freeway in 80mph traffic, and turning off heat/air conditioning, one can get over 80mpg in a diesel rated 31 city 43 highway.
Obviously the Passat here is not rated to hyperdriving techniques like Tesla Motors is now saying are required to get the stated range in the $101,000 car they lent to the NYT journalist. No one would claim it would be reasonable for Volkswagen to advertise that this car gets 84mpg even though it has been proven to be possible. Likewise, it is not reasonable for Tesla to advertise a range that is based on hyperdriving techniques.
That's a very prominent location. I'd have a hard time believing anyone would miss it repeatedly.
I say, have someone not biased towards big-oil try this road-trip again in similar conditions, and report back with the results. I expect they will have absolutely zero difficulty.
Article: "The Tesla's range indicator is accurate but to drivers used to having a lot of range when the tank reads 'E' the Tesla's small amount of reserve range may catch them by surprise."
Reality: Author drove until the Tesla read "0 miles remaining" then continued to drive until the battery ran out.
Article: "A range estimate misses the mark... the car fell short of its projected range and had to be taken back ... on a flatbed truck."
Reality: Author short-charged the car then pulled off the road when the range meter read 0 and drove around trying to drain the battery.
One is fine, the other is journalistic malpractice.
Broder's defense to accusations that he should have charged overnight in Groton is that he was just acting like a regular driver. When you drive a conventional car from DC to Boston, do you pull up to the gas pumps and drive around in circles until you run out of gas? Do you add a few gallons and take off, or do you wait until the automatic shutoff on the pump trips? I think a "regular" driver would charge fully (at least a full "standard" charge) at each Super Charger and then drive directly to the next way-point, not unplug at 75% and pointlessly drive in circles.
It's exactly what an insufficiently knowledgeable person would do if trying to deliberately damage the li-ion battery.
Perhaps that he couldn't find it, since it was his first visit?
Based on the rest of this thread, though, Occam is not going to be making an appearance and we're going to be questioning the journalistic integrity of someone who's worked at the New York Times since most commenters here were in diapers. It totally makes sense that he'd write a completely false story at the behest of big oil. That's the logical explanation.
I'm just so upset that I can't help wringing my hands. Just think of all those uninformed citizens. Those poor souls buying this fancy car with the wool over their eyes. So naive: thinking they can just drive right up to a Supercharger station whenever they want with nary a thought. Who is going to tell them that they must not only drive to the station, but commit to a parking lot odyssey? Think of all the electrons that will be burned whilst the good people of this country waste their time searching for a Supercharger! Who? Who, I say, will bring this message to the masses, if not John Broder? And he has failed! For this, I demand the Times investigate his journalistic malpractice at once!
Seriously, though, at what point are allowed to invoke Occam's Razor and admit that maybe, just maybe, Mr. Broder may not have been giving the car a fair shake?
In August 2012 a ProPublica article  syndicated by the Times made, at the very least, a contentious point (Sarbanes-Oxley didn't reduce the attractiveness of being public), written off with a link to a paper. I was dismayed to find the working paper  not only argued a different point ("the advantages of selling out to a larger organization, which can speed a product to market and realize economies of scope, have increased relative to the benefits of remaining as an independent firm") but in concluding remarks contradicted the claim it was quoted to have asserted ("although the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the 2003 Global Settlement have reduced the attractiveness of being public for small companies...").
Figuring it to be an intern's oversight I emailed the author and got the following reply (in its entirety): "Thanks, [first name], for your thoughts". I forwarded this to the editor of the Times column I received the article through and received a similar brush-off. The article, to date, remains unchanged.
The oversight was, in all likelihood, an honest blunder. The reaction's implicit intolerance of criticism, however, was jarring.
Poke further at the story. Look at the battery charge graph, and more specifically look at its slope, which is the fuel efficiency. Shifting to cruise control did not affect the drainage curve at all, and when he called Tesla they suggested that cruise control was a Bad Idea, because the Tesla has regenerative braking, so you see that he turns it off at about 225 mi and starts stop-and-go driving in the city. This devastates the Tesla's fuel efficiency. It does this for a very simple reason which should be high-school physics: your brakes are energy dissipaters and are bound by the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Regenerative braking just lowers the loss -- it does not eliminate it.
Now, if that advice was given, then the journalist trusted Tesla when they said something which contradicted high school physics. That is a dark smear on Broder -- at least if Broder was planning to be a scientific journalist -- but also a dark smear on Tesla's customer support. What were they thinking? But the two accounts are immediately reconcilable now.
Broder now is thinking, "okay, stop-and-go city traffic will use the brakes and recharge the car, this city driving will have a less negative slope." From this impression he probably expected he was at 20% charge when he stopped; he was actually at around 8 or 9% and it immediately drops 1% overnight. That should chop 1/10th off of his remaining miles, but he claims it went from 90 miles to 45.
So, here's the story: He is expecting a number at around 100 miles because he thinks he's being more efficient now. He sees 50 miles. On a digital display at a hotel at night, he misreads the 5 as a 9, and this fits with his expectation, so he goes to bed thinking he has 90 miles of range. He wakes up and the Tesla has lost 5 miles of range inexplicably -- but it therefore has become 45 miles, which looks totally different. He calls them up complaining that the Tesla lost half of its charge overnight and some sympathetic tech support describes it as a "software glitch."
That's a perfect storm scenario right there, because now he thinks that he does have the extra range and that braking is good for the car and that the car is simply misreporting what it can do. Confirming this, he makes it to the Milford supercharge with less than 0 miles of range, and charges it back up again to 185 miles. He is confident now, and you see him averaging 65. There are a bunch of full stops near 400 miles, but remember, he thinks that full stops are good. With a bunch of this, he stops and calls up Tesla. "What the hell, I can't get back to Milford on this expected range, can you find me a nearby charger?" He goes 11 miles in the opposite direction, plugs into a station in Norwich for an hour, and he visits a diner. He confirms that he only got to 28% and really should have let the car charge here because the display never got as high as it should be, but he says that Tesla had cleared him to go to Milford and that he trusted the humans at this point over the sensors in the car.
He gets back on the highway at 45/50 to try to conserve power (which does not affect the slope of the curve all that much) and that is the subject of this second-to-last Google Map. The sensors are right, the tech support was misguided, the car stops and needs to be towed. Both stories fit pretty well with each other.
> So, here's the story: He is expecting a number at around 100 miles because he thinks he's being more efficient now. He sees 50 miles. On a digital display at a hotel at night, he misreads the 5 as a 9, and this fits with his expectation, so he goes to bed thinking he has 90 miles of range. He wakes up and the Tesla has lost 5 miles of range inexplicably -- but it therefore has become 45 miles, which looks totally different. He calls them up complaining that the Tesla lost half of its charge overnight and some sympathetic tech support describes it as a "software glitch."
Pure gold. Thanks for the laugh.
But hey, let's all pick sides based on our allegiance to ( east or west coast, Tesla or The Times ) and have a nice little monkey dance about who's right or wrong.
No, that's not a log of the temperature reading. They logged the temperature SETPOINT. An important distinction.
I do this all the time, being from cold climates. I jack up the heat at the start of my trip, and then once I get going, I eventually turn the heater off completely.
It's a thermostat controlled temperature, though.
There's no reason to turn it down if it's set to a comfortable temperature, because it will automatically shut down when the proper cabin temp is reached.
Anyone who drives in the cold knows this is wrong. You turn the set point to 90 at the start of the trip, because the built-in logic is going to drive the fans harder when the delta between ambient and set point is higher, and the car will warm up faster. Yes, in theory the software should recognize that. But, in practice.... Nah, forget it. Theory is always wrong.
I agree completely that's what you do in cold weather. I do that every morning with my car. But after 3+ hours in the car, it's pretty unlikely that you'd lower the temperature at that point.
EDIT: Downvotes? Really? If the car's climate control is controlled entirely by a thermostat, then setting the temperature up to 90 will warm it faster when it's cold, but once it's warmed up the cabin, you set the temperature to something comfortable(say, 70). You don't turn it off, because the climate control system is supposed to be doing that automatically.
Hi, I live in Michigan. You do turn it off. Your theory sounds like it could be good on paper, but in reality, humans behave a little differently. Our winters are brutal. At some points in the winter time, it's a horrifying proposition climbing into the icebox that is a car's cabin. Reflexively, many people just crank the heat up as high as it will go and blast the cabin with warm air as soon as it's available. As much as you can, as quickly as possible.
What tends to happen then is that at some point, you realize that you're hot. You've been blasting the heat, you weren't paying attention (listening to news/music, concentrating on the road, on your phone, etc)and when it suddenly occurs you you that you don't need the heat to be blasting anymore, it's because you are uncomfortable. You're still in full winter gear in your car, you jacket is smothering you, and the cabin is now hot with you in your coat. People aren't always thinking "Ah, let me just lower the heat to a more comfortable level," they're thinking "OMG turn this thing OFF.
Could the climate control handle this in theory? Sure. If human psychology and behavior weren't continually getting in the way.
No telling what any given person would do when you don't have the data, but I can tell you what people do do in reality. They crank it then turn it off.
Also, I'll never purchase another car without heated seats in Michigan again as long as I live here. What was I (not) thinking?
A good controller will blast the heat at max until the temperature gets close to the setpoint, then back it down. Turning it up to 90 does exactly nothing extra for you, but does end up overheating you.
However, not all cars have good temperature controllers. My wife owned a Honda Accord a while back, that was simply awesome at this job. We never, ever changed the setpoint in that car because it just worked great.
The Subaru Forester we have now is much, much worse, and we do end up fiddling with the setpoint because the controller's not doing its job well.
So cranking the air temperature setting beyond the desired air temperature for a while will indeed get the cabin more comfortable quicker.
Nah, forget it. Theory is always wrong. I spend an hour in my car every day. Don't you dare tell me how best to warm it up. Just don't.
 To head off the wounded screaming: no, I'm not talking about you personally here. Just the idea of "firmware knows best".
The poster above you has it correct. Climate control cars will not turn up the fans until the engine block heats up. Turning up the temperature does nothing to change this.
Please stop with the attitude and name calling.
That's not "anti-intellectualism", it's called "correct requirements analysis". And it's something I wish more software people knew how to do.
A great deal of people beyond yourself drive fancy cars with climate control, myself included. Your car is a single data point. My car is another. That my car, and other posters cars, behave as we say is enough to show that your generalization is wrong.
It is still all anecdote of course; to really determine truth you would need to do a study of as many cars as possible. Further, there is no theory in such a generalization.
This is where your anti-intellectualism comes in. You repeatedly make false statements about theoretical works: "theory is always wrong". It is almost as though you do not understand the definition of "theory." Additionally, your use of "egghead" when referring to engineers is classic anti-intellectualism. I mean, why not just throw out nerd, geek, or pointdexter too? Using anecdote to support your generalization is another extremely common undesirable behavior.
Some cars are really good at this. Some are not. It depends on so many factors, including the egghead quality.
I'm one of those firmware eggheads, btw.
As another example, when I fuel my car from emtpy to full, as soon as I turn the key, the fuel gauge ramps rapidly up to Full. In my wife's car, it finds its way to Full after a minute or so. I don't know, but I'm pretty sure the difference is the filtering algorithm employed. One egghead knew about Kalman filters or similar, and the other didn't.
It's the same with all the other software features in the car. Some had good eggheads on the time, and some didn't. I think it's impossible to buy a car that does every single thing "right", by any single person's definition.
That's funny! Does it also fluctuate when you take sharp turns?
Actually, I don't think he misread anything, I think it genuinely did read 90 miles exactly like he said it did. Look at the graph on the blog post: http://www.teslamotors.com/sites/default/files/blog_images/r... At the 400 mile mark, right where he stopped for the night, there's an abrupt vertical drop from 90 miles remaining to 20 miles remaining, which exactly matches the journalist's claims.
The .6 mile circle in front of the charging station is completely irrelevant, because it's in front of a freaking charger, which is the best place to see if 0 is actually 0.
EDIT: In this post here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5219611
There's actually a route to the charger from the highway(if you miss a few turns) that's about... .6 of a mile.
As you can see, there is nothing special about his night stop. The night before, it predicted 79 miles. He ended up going 60 miles before it was out of juice. That's 25% shorter than the prediction, so the car must have lost charge during the night or due to cold weather, right? Well, if you look at the day before, the full charge predicted a range of 242 miles, but he only got 196 miles, which is 20% less than the prediction.
In other words: The predicted range is consistently higher than the actual range.
Sure he did, in the manual and in the instructions given to the driver -- when you stop overnight, plug it in.
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.
It obliquely suggests the car wasn't dead on the road. But it clearly was (or else Musk would be loudly calling it out). It's not the responsibility of the reviewer to figure out whether his car bricked because of an empty battery, or buggy software which mimicked an empty battery (displaying zero range, automatically shutting down).
Straws. You maybe holding some.
EDIT: Two words. Occam's Razor. Your explanation is so tangled that an entire battalion of Viet Cong could hide in it.
But no, you're right, let's assume a long-term New York Times veteran lied in the paper, intentionally. That's a safer explanation in the face of your call for Occam's Razor...
On Feb 8, 4 days before the controversial tesla article, he wrote one about how poorly the Chevrolet Volt & Ford Transit performed. I think he already decided on the tone of the article before he drove the Tesla.
His other articles about oil drilling claim that they help with job creation... you be the judge.
I will tell you this:
Both times I made it into the paper, my feeling while giving the interview was that the reporter was writing the story their way despite what I was saying. I was asked leading questions, questions that asked me to come down on one side or another of a complex issue. I was asked repeatedly the same question in different ways to elicit a response that would support a conclusion I didn't agree with.
My friends confirmed my suspicions when they saw the articles that were written. If you dont think that a significant percentage of the articles you read in the paper are pushing a particular viewpoint despite contrary evidence, I'd like a little of what you are smoking.
Just in case you were asking, one of the reporters I'm talking about works for the New York Times. This is the article I was talking about:
Since I live in ND, we have lots of oil drilling going on, and the Dec 2012 unemployment rate was 3.2% compared to the national rate of 7.8%; I would find that a factually true statement.
Just because something is factually true in a narrow context does not mean it remains factually true when abstracted to a generality.
When was the last time you saw either one of those?
Oil's biggest advantage (other than the massive amount of energy density) is that the full cost of acquiring it isn't factored into the cost per barrel. Since oil is both a commodity and a strategic resource, the government has committed its full resources in the aim of securing supply.
You can argue if this is or isn't a good thing, but you can't argue the fact that it happens.
The reporter might have been reporting a true statement, but it wasn't informative or even relevant to the discussion about energy technologies. There were plenty of telegraph operators, milkmen, and dockworkers once too. Technological advancement made those jobs redundant or irrelevant.
SO MANY nations enjoy the umbrella of protection that is provided by the unipolar geopolitical environment we live in now.
Why else do you think we've committed our military to the purpose of securing supply?
Sure, we've got a lower cost of living than most places, but I'd argue that we've also got a lower quality of life.
When the oilfield is hot, we have lots of high paying jobs for people. Fortunately for us, it's hot right now. What they'll all do when the current boom dries up, I haven't any idea.
You want to calculate the total employment of all industries enabled by oil and then say that the next barrel of oil is responsible for a proportional number of that total?
What about those industries that use oil only because it's still currently cheaper than its alternatives? What about those industries that are already transitioning away from oil and would barely notice if oil became even more expensive? What about those industries where oil is crucially important, but is a fairly minor cost concern and even a doubling of price wouldn't seriously impact their ability to produce products, profits and employees?
How in the world would we even calculate that out to determine how many jobs would exist or not, based on whether we drill the next oil well?
And how would we calculate where those jobs would exist?
Because, oil being fungible, lower production just drives global price up. And the losers in such scenarios tend to be the poorer people and industries, which tend not to be in the US. (It would take a much larger jump in the price of oil to make the next US job in an oil-reliant industry infeasible, than it would take in, say, the developing world.)
And when we do drill that next well, it just lowers (or keeps low) the existing price of oil, and the primary place we'd expect oil-dependent jobs to be created that would not have otherwise been economically feasible without that cheaper oil, is again in the developing world.
So if you want to say oil is massively important, I agree. I never said otherwise.
But if you want to say that the next oil well will necessarily create lots of US jobs, I continue to disagree on the basis that the next oil well simply doesn't directly add many jobs.
And if you want to say that cheaper oil also tangentially creates jobs, I will again agree, but stipulate that new jobs created only because of that cheaper oil, will overwhelmingly be created outside the US.
So I will continue to disagree that the next oil well in the US will have a large impact on US employment.
Petroleum is so ingrained in our economy, most people would have to make a concerted effort to fart without having used oil products.
Frankly that article reads like "EPA claims some infractions but they are no big deal". I can't imagine anyone reading that article and coming away very critical of Shell.
Is the claim that they are actually doing very well, and he was incorrect in his article? Or that he is biased merely for writing an article based on negative facts?
All of them could be perfectly accurate, incidentally - consider a journalist who investigates 100 stories for every one he publishes and only publishes those that are favorable; while none of the articles would contain actual falsehoods, clearly this is a bias.
Whether that's the case here is a much deeper question that I can't answer from my extremely limited skimming of the available media and this thread.
That this guy could be repeatedly accused here of being an industry shill reflects much more poorly on hn than on him.
The street view here is outdated but I'm pretty sure you would see them immediately as you exit off the highway and, end to end, the rest area is about 0.25 miles. I don't think there's any other way to accumulate 0.6 miles in this rest stop without driving around in circles.
> let's assume a long-term New York Times veteran lied in the paper
What you are asking us to believe than is that Musk faked all this data. Because if he didn't fake the data, then the NYTimes story still doesn't add up, regardless of speculation on his activities.
Furthermore, you are asking us to believe that numerous other reviews by respectable, veteran reports, were wrong.
Maybe this report is the one man speaking out against a large conspiracy of a company and numerous reporters. But it's on him to prove now.
If anything, I think that some veteran reporters get full of themselves and become unafraid of slanting things according to their biases as they get older. Look at the trouble Dan Rather got into at the end of his career because he was determined to sink George W. Bush.
The main factor that affects someone's likelihood of lying is whether they think they can get away with it. Broder most likely knew that the car was logging data. However, he probably didn't know just how detailed the logging was, and assumed it was too rudimentary to refute the kind of story he was cooking up in his head before he even started the drive.
However, didn't we see that long apology yesterday about how easy it is to lie to yourself and others, even when truth is everything to you? This is why we have double blind medical trials etc. – because people are biased and can't help but lie to keep their preconceptions true.
Driving back and forth in front of the charger doesn't seem quite so crazy given the distances involved. The distance the Tesla logs for is ~0.5 miles at a speed of ~10mph, but that's only 3 minutes of malfeasance, if it's anything at all.
And I'm not sure it's malfeasance -- because it's certainly not led to anything in the report. Maybe he wanted to park and get some food but then remembered that the charging takes a while and did it in opposite order. That could take 3 minutes easily off.
People "risk their livelihood" all the time by lying to their boss, etc. I don't think any complex calculus is necessary to explain why someone would do that.
I know it's mentally exhausting, but when reading anything you have to ask, "what does the author want to be true?" Musk quoted Broder's earlier article:
"Yet the state of the electric car is dismal, the victim of hyped expectations, technological flops, high costs and a hostile political climate.”
so I think we know what it is that Broder wants to be true.
Do you know how many MILLIONS of conventional cars are manufactured a year? Who are the biggest companies in the world? You will be shock that they are energy companies.
There are HUGE economic interest in the outcome of different transportation methods. The salary of a man is nothing compared with the BIILIONS over the table just delaying the future one or two years.
I had a friend whose only job at a big French car company maker was organizing summer experiences for car journalist vacations in Europe. I could not believe that a journalist will accept that, now I understand the reviews you find in most car magazines(You never find anything negative).
There may be speculation about certain facts in the case but there is absolutely no speculation as to the fact that this and every other corporate journalist is under systemic influence. In any other industry it would be plainly obvious that employees understand not to insult, aggrieve or otherwise harm their employers customers, especially by way of prominent national media. Somehow everyone manages to convince themselves that what is obvious is no longer so when it comes to journalists and the MSM.
For example, my car also has an adaptive transmission system that collects data on my driving behavior and uses it to improve when the car chooses to shift. Sometimes folks have the dealer erase this data so the car "re-learns" to shift fo r them.(http://www.bmw.com/com/en/insights/technology/technology_gui...)
Digital displays are obviously better for reading a precise value, but not necessarily an accurate one. To generalize, I would say being off by a a couple percent is more likely when reading an analog display, but off by a factor of two is more likely by misreading a digital one.
...in which case there is not much of an excuse for that type of thing. On the other hand there is a screen which gives the same information but would be very easy to misread, especially if there were glare:
But yeah, it's not like I was thinking, some display with LCD/LED style digits where a 5 is just one line away from being a 9. You are very correct in that regard.
We'll just have to wait for this "detailed rebuttal" for more information. This is extremely entertaining.
I read that as "drove in circles for over half a mile." I.e., not really enough to make it conk out.
There are other things in Musk's post that make me worry about Broder's reporting, but not this.
How many times do you see people circling the parking when 20 feet away is a spot to park?
But I don't care, this story is B.S., the guy totally was trying report on his agenda and not the facts.
a) Lincoln tunnel isn't in NYC's downtown. Even Holland isn't. NYC downtown generally defined as below Canal St. So how NYT reporter drove through it, I have no idea.
b) .5 mile is too short for driving back and forth. I can easily walk .5 mile in under 10 minutes.
c) As the _average_ temp setting was 72F... So the next statement is funny, the NYT reported turned the temperature up to 74F? From what? The average temperature? That doesn't make any sense at all.
The commenter here is guilty of forcing his impressions on the situation in the same way Broder seems to be forcing a slant on the Tesla story. How far you walk is completely irrelevant. I know people who run marathons. They don't spin around a 100 car lot many times.
If the temperature setting in the thermostat increased when he said he decreased it, which is the actual claim, that could be a smoking gun. The only innocent explanation could be that he couldn't see what he was doing while he was driving.
However, there are FAR too many BIG screw-ups and coincidences here for that to make sense. How could a professional journalist be so damn incompetent to:
1. mistake "50" for "90".
2. increase the temperature when he meant to decrease it.
3. start each leg of the journey with less and less energy after filling each time.
4. leave the car unplugged for a good part of the time he claimed to be charging it.
The commenter doth protest too much.
So Musk wrong again.
Yea, too many coincidences with Musk's side of the story.
Musk is trying to be precise, I did exactly to him that he was trying to do to NYT's reporter. And yes, my pedantry was on purpose.
Anyway, to anyone outside of NYC, downtown is where the streets are crazy and one way and lots of business takes place... so, really, by that definition, anywhere below Central Park can be considered 'downtown'... especially if you are uptown.
So Musk made a minor mistake, so the NYT reporter made few minor mistakes. I don't see lies, just two different sides of the same story.
Of course the NYT reporter could have driven downtown and take FDR uptown, but I don't see any prove of that. That would make a little sense if you took Holland, but not Lincoln tunnel.
You're other points are meaningful, though.
Lincoln tunnel though, clearly not downtown.
Downtown / Uptown are directions. Lower Manhattan / Midtown / Upper Manhattan are places.
But Lincoln isn't in Lower/Downtown Manhattan,
Tesla's logs show that the range dropped from 90 to 30ish at mile 400.
It shows that Broden was 100% correct.
From looking at these graphs, it doesn't look to me that there's a problem with losing charge, but there may be a problem with how the state of charge is reported as range.
I'm not saying this is what Tesla does, I am just saying that the considerations for the UI in this case are interesting, and maybe there were decisions and behaviors involved that are different than a simple function.
If I look at some mobile devices I have access to:
Dell laptop: estimates time remaining in hours and minutes; in my experience, that estimate isn't reliable.
iPod Touch: the most concrete it gets is a warning "20% battery charge remaining". Is likely to show it multiple times. The display only shows a tiny bar.
iPad (and, I think, the iPhone): goes a bit further; can show a numerical battery percentage.
For both iOS devices, the Settings app also shows a "Time since last charge" section with "Usage" and "Standby" times. It does not dare give a time remaining.
Mobile phone: 5-bar battery full indicator.
Back to the electric car: especially given the short range for a full charge, I understand owners will want a distance remaining estimate, but I would say: if you can't give a reliable one, don't. 'Percentage charge remaining' plus a 'at similar speed and weather, you typically would have stretched this for x miles' indicator, IMO, would be better. And that is even more than a gasoline powered car will give you.
I'm not arguing that the log data shows the complete story in enough detail as to contradict every statement made in the NYT. And one another is susceptible to suggestion.I find it odd however that the few persons above me seem to completely ignore the cabin temperature chart for the sake of their argument.
That's why in my account I have the "expected around 90, saw 50 in bad lighting, misread it as 90" snafu. There is a drop, but not as precipitous as it seems.
What happened at 400 miles is apparently a set of full stops as he pulled in to a parking space to talk on the phone and say "I'm not gonna make it," followed by a short reversal of highway time which ends on the 400 mile mark as he went into Norwich, followed by a lot of stop-and-go driving in Norwich to get to some Tesla charger which the NYT article says is around here:
I can somewhat imagine his impatience and wish to get going again, if that's the situation.
And, the points on Musk's graph at ~399 and ~401 very closely match the reported night-before (90 mile) and morning (25 mile) range readouts.
The big drop, almost like a charging straightline in reverse -- is at mile 400. Some have suggested it's the battery's own self-heater which prevents it from getting too cold; that makes sense, but I'd love to see an official Tesla reference to that effect, if it's sufficient to explain the charge drop.
The drop in "miles of range" is precipitous, but the drop in the actual charge level of the battery is not.
More generally this is a sad day for HN. Attack the argument, don't attack the actor. This isn't CNBC or Fox: attacking credibility doesn't constitute a logical refutation of the nYT piece.
I think HN is doing a fine job of arguing both sides.
It's not that simple. Regen does more than lower the loss; it also allows the energy captured during braking to be re-used on the next acceleration. Regen basically means your effective range is based on your average speed, even if you are doing stop and go driving instead of cruising; you can actually get better range in city driving with regen because your average speed is lower, and lower average speeds are more efficient (because there is less loss from drag and friction). This is why hybrids typically have a higher EPA rated mileage for city driving than for highway driving.
True, but if you don't use regen you are 0% efficient at capturing it. Any positive number is better than zero. I'll have to read through the link you gave to see what the guy's reasoning was, but regen should always increase your range.
Edit: On reading through some of the links available on Google, I suspect that he didn't specifically try to avoid regen, but just drove too slowly and with too gentle acceleration and deceleration for the regen system to kick in. Regen does require a certain minimum speed and rate of deceleration to achieve a net gain in energy; if you try it when the car is going too slowly or decelerating too gently all the energy goes into losses in the electrical system and none goes to the battery. The car's control system should be calibrated to only allow regen to kick in when there will be a net gain.
So in that sense you could say that the less than 100% efficiency means there are times when there's no point in using it. But it never causes a loss of energy; you're never worse off than you would be not using regen. It's just that the car's controls won't bother trying if there's no point.
True, but not compared to the alternative of avoiding stop-and-go urban driving, which I believe was the OP's point.
Metcalf's description does say that he accelerated and decelerated very gently; see my edit to my upthread post. So he was trying to approach the ideal of driving at a steady 25 mph as close as he could. If the car's regen system had had lower losses, regen would have saved him some energy on those unavoidable decel/accel cycles.
No, this is a false choice. The choice should not be between stop-and-go driving, versus speeding along. For a proper evaluation, the tested alternatives should be (a) stop-and-go driving with an average velocity of V, versus (b) driving at a constant velocity of V. In that comparison, a constant velocity is much more efficient. The reason is that regenerative braking cannot recover more than a fraction of the energy lost to braking.
The above is in keeping with the best scientific practice, in which an experiment changes just one thing and keeps everything else the same. So we should choose an average velocity, then compare steady speed and stop-and-go driving at that velocity. In that experiment, steady speed wins.
> Metcalf's description does say that he accelerated and decelerated very gently ...
Doesn't matter. Adding a given amount of energy E to a moving object requires the same expenditure of energy regardless of how quickly or slowly it's done (although in practical examples, fast acceleration is wasteful for reasons outside the simplest explanation of the physics). It's the same with removing energy from a moving object, and it is here that the unavoidable losses in regenerative braking prevent the two cases from being equal.
> So he was trying to approach the ideal of driving at a steady 25 mph as close as he could.
That ideal is only achieved by maintaining a steady speed of 25 MPH, not by stop-and-go driving. It's not clear at this point whether Broder was actually told by someone at Tesla that stop-and-go driving was more efficient or not, but if so, that person needs an education.
> If the car's regen system had had lower losses, regen would have saved him some energy on those unavoidable decel/accel cycles.
Yes, but regenerative braking can only minimize losses, it can't recover all the energy lost to braking. Therefore a steady speed is more efficient.
I completely agree, if you are trying to run a scientific experiment. But if you're driving on real-world roads, you're faced with a different set of choices. As I said, you can't expect to drive 400 miles at a steady speed of 25 mph in the real world.
Adding a given amount of energy E to a moving object requires the same expenditure of energy regardless of how quickly or slowly it's done
I wasn't saying that accelerating/decelerating more gently saves energy. I was saying that it probably prevented the regen system on the car from activating at all, meaning that none of the vehicle's kinetic energy was recaptured. Since he could not avoid stopping and starting again (since you can't drive 400 miles at a steady 25 mph on real-world roads), if it had been possible to reclaim some energy through regen during deceleration, it would have increased his range compared to stopping and starting again with zero regen. That's all I was saying, and it's completely consistent with what you're saying.
It's not clear at this point whether Broder was actually told by someone at Tesla that stop-and-go driving was more efficient or not, but if so, that person needs an education.
Not necessarily, because Broder's choice was not between stop and go driving at an average speed of 25 mph, or driving at a steady 25 mph. It was between stop and go driving in Manhattan (you are not, I trust, claiming that it's possible to drive through Manhattan at a steady 25 mph without stopping), at an average speed of 25 mph or so, and driving on freeways at an average speed of, say, 60 mph. Given that choice, it's entirely possible that the stop and go driving would give more range; the exact tradeoff would depend on details like the vehicle's drag coefficient, rolling friction, efficiency of regen, etc.
A red herring. Whatever speed seems appropriate, steady speed is more efficient than stop-and go driving. My only point is that the advice to intentionally engage in stop-and-go driving is mistaken.
A red herring, because the real-world choice is usually between stop and go driving at a low average speed, and steady-state driving at a high average speed. It's irrelevant to point out that a choice that was not actually available (steady-state driving at a low average speed) would be more efficient.
My only point is that the advice to intentionally engage in stop-and-go driving is mistaken.
Not necessarily, if the actual choice is as I said above. Did you read the last part of my previous post?
That's false, breathtakingly ignorant, and you have completely abandoned the original topic, which is to establish whether the advice given to Broder by Tesla (to engage in stop-and-go driving) would help or hinder battery duration and vehicle range. In point of fact, it would hinder battery duration.
> Not necessarily, if the actual choice is as I said above.
Try to focus on something other than your wish to be "right" in spite of the facts. Stop-and-go driving decreases the range of an electric vehicle, and it was incorrect advice to give to a nontechnical journalist.
Pretend to be a scientist, as hard as you may find that. Consider variables one at a time. The driver wants to maximize distance, so he is not going to travel above a moderate speed (this is proven by the fact that Broder knew this and traveled at a moderate speed after he realized his predicament). What is in question is solely whether stop-and-go driving aids or hinders maximum range. It hinders it -- this is physics 101.
You're kidding, right? The choice Broder had was between driving on a freeway and driving through Manhattan. It was not in any way a choice between stop and go driving and steady-state driving at the same average speed.
Stop-and-go driving decreases the range of an electric vehicle
Compared to steady-state driving at the same average speed, yes. Compared to steady-state driving at a significantly higher average speed, not necessarily.
this is physics 101.
Okay, let's do some physics. The energy required to move a car through a distance D is F * D, where F is the force needed to push the car. For travel at a steady speed, F is given by the following equation:
F = c0 + c1 * v + c2 * v^2
where c0, c1, and c2 are constants that are determined by vehicle and environmental characteristics. (Briefly, c0 is the coefficient of friction between the tires and the road times the weight of the car; c1 is a (usually very small) constant related to the internal friction of rotating parts in the car; c2 is 1/2 rho Cd A, where rho is the air density, Cd is the car's drag coefficient, and A is the car's cross-sectional area. The key is that all of these things can be taken to be constant for the duration of the trip.)
For stop and go driving, F is given by the above formula times a constant e, where e is determined by the efficiency of regen; if e = 1 then regen is 100% efficient and all of the the vehicle's kinetic energy is reclaimed on each decel. If e > 1 then regen only captures a portion of the vehicle's kinetic energy, the portion being 1/e.
So if we compare stop and go driving at an average speed v1 to steady-state driving at an average speed v2, we have
E1 = F1 * D = e (c0 + c1 * v1 + c2 * v1^2) * D
E2 = F2 * D = (c0 + c1 * v2 + c2 * v2^2) * D
If we take v2 = 2 * v1, which is a conservative estimate for Broder's situation (25 mph average speed in the city vs. 50 mph average speed on the freeway), we have
E2 = (c0 + 2 * c1 * v1 + 4 * c2 * v1^2) * D
Now subtract to get the net energy difference:
E2 - E1 = [(1 - e) * c0 + (2 - e) * c1 * v1 + (4 - e) * c2 * v1^2] * D
Regen typically recaptures about 80 percent of a vehicle's kinetic energy, meaning e is about 1.25. So we have
E2 - E1 = [-0.25 * c0 + 0.75 * c1 + v1 + 2.75 * c2 * v1^2] * D
This is going to be positive for any vehicle except a heavy one with a low drag coefficient; practically no vehicles have that. So stop and go driving at 25 mph is going to save energy compared to steady state driving at 50 mph. This is the sort of calculation that I suspect was in the minds of the Tesla people when they told Broder that the stop and go segment in Manhattan was going to give him better range than driving on the freeway.
Look -- stop trying to change the subject. Obviously if Broder wanted to maximize range and with the choice to either engage in stop-and-go driving or drive at a constant speed with the same average speed, physics says drive at a constant speed. Your claim that one can only drive fast or engage in stop-and-go driving is false. If the point is to maximize the car's range, the driver can drive at any speed he cares to. And Broder did just that -- he drove as slowly as necessary to prevent pointless losses of energy.
Do you really think that the police will arrest you if you drive too slow on the freeway? Tell that to a long-haul trucker.
> Regen typically recaptures about 80 percent of a vehicle's kinetic energy
Absolutely false. Source: http://auto.howstuffworks.com/auto-parts/brakes/brake-types/...
Quote: "The miraculous thing about regenerative braking is that it may be able to capture as much as half of that wasted energy and put it back to work."
Quote: "Tesla Motors claims an 87% efficiency for powering the electric motor with the energy in the batteries, and the same efficiency in returning motor power to the batteries via regenerative braking. TM also claims an average 80% mechanical efficiency (this goes down as friction increases at very low speeds), including tire loss. So if I have it right, round trip efficiency from taking electricity out of the battery pack to putting it back in, after regen recovery, would theoretically be .87 x .8 x .8 x .87 = 48.4%. But the Roadster uses regenerative braking only on the rear wheels, so if you actually use the brake pedal (instead of coasting with the regenerative braking on) , then the recovery will be far less. The front disc brakes will absorb most (over half) of the kinetic energy when using the brake pedal, because braking action throws more weight to the front of a car."
Your preliminary assumptions are spectacularly wrong. According to the above, the energy recovered in the Model S is about 20% of that required to get the car to its present speed.
> So if we compare stop and go driving at an average speed v1 to steady-state driving at an average speed v2 ...
Learn about science, and don't post again until you do. Science isolates one variable, the topic of study, and keeps everything else the same to the degree that's practical.
Regenerative braking is much less efficient than driving at a steady pace.
I'm not. The subject is whether or not the Tesla people gave Broder good advice. Obviously that depends on what information he gave them and what they based their advice on. You are basically saying that Broder asked them: "I can drive at 25 mph steady state, or do stop and go driving at an average speed of 25 mph; which will give me better range?" If that were indeed the question he had asked Tesla, you are entirely correct that "stop and go" would have been the wrong answer.
But I believe the question Broder actually asked Tesla was more like: "I can drive at 50 mph on the freeway steady state, or do stop and go driving at an average speed of 25 mph; which will give me better range?" If that was the question he asked Tesla, "stop and go" could have been a correct answer. That's my point.
According to the above, the energy recovered in the Model S is about 20% of that required to get the car to its present speed.
The quote you gave referred to the Roadster; as far as I know the Model S uses regen on all four wheels [Edit: probably not--see below]. That would make it 48.4%, not 20%, assuming there are no other differences between the Roadster and the Model S.
If the correct number is 48.4%, that makes e about 2; so my equation would look like this:
E2 - E1 = [- c0 + 2 * c2 * v1^2] * D
I agree this is less likely to be positive; I would have to see detailed numbers for the Tesla Model S to get a better estimate of c0 and c2. The Tesla people who gave Broder the advice presumably had such detailed data, so they would have been able to make a more accurate calculation of estimated range for each alternative.
Science isolates one variable, the topic of study, and keeps everything else the same to the degree that's practical.
Exactly: to the degree that's practical. Broder was not running a controlled scientific experiment; he was running a real-world test of a vehicle.
[Edit: Looking at the Model S specs on the Tesla web site, they do say it's a rear wheel drive vehicle, and there's no mention of separate regen motors for the front wheels. If so, and if the 20% figure for energy recovery is correct, that would make it extremely unlikely that a calculation like the one I've done would give a positive number. If the Tesla people were basing their response on such a calculation, their numbers for regen energy recovery must be significantly higher than 20%, or they were estimating a significantly higher freeway speed than 50 mph, or (most likely) a combination of the two.]
This isn't Jim telling you about his crazy weekend while you stand around the watercooler, this is a professional journalist writing a story for one of the largest and most well respect news outlets in the world.
To me it looks like he doesn't manage to report the correct numbers even once, he said 55, actually going 60, he said 45, actually going 50.
Is it that hard to read a digital display?
Then you say he mistakes a 50 for a 90, if he has that much trouble with eyesight maybe he shouldn't be test driving cars.
Lets see now, which source seems more credible, the guy who doesn't manage to report a single accurate number, and makes mistakes when reading a digital display... or the company which had the foresight to monitor and log everything in their vehicles right down to the state of the temperature controls.
You make a good argument, but I think you are being far too charitable with someone who is a professional journalist and should have done a better job reporting facts if they want to be seen as credible.
Braking and cruise control are mutually exclusive domains. You can't drive with cruise control in stop-and-go traffic even if you wanted to.
Turning off cruise control on the highway might have some small impact on efficiency, but the cause would not be braking.
edit: recharge as in having a net gain of energy. Even if you roll down a 3-mile mountain with the brakes pushed, you'd only be recovering energy spent on the way up, minus losses.
In contrast slower city driving speeds are more efficient and electric vehicles have a unique benefit in stop and go, low-speed driving due to regenerative braking
But the big win is driving at city speeds. I had explained this the other day, but power usage depends approx. on the square of your velocity.
So averaging 30mph in the city would take about 1/4 as much power as averaging 60mph on the highway, all other things being equal.
Normally all other things are not equal, as idling at a city stoplight wastes energy in a gas-powered machine, and pressing the brakes wastes energy in a gas-powered machine.
With an EV idling uses very little energy, and you can reclaim some energy from braking. Braking is still a net loss, but not as much.
Combine the two effects with a 4x power efficiency and it's not at all impossible for a hybrid to get better mileage in city, especially in stop-and-go traffic where the average speed is even lower.
He says the Tesla seems more efficient on county highways than side roads because the losses from accelerating the vehicle's over 4500 pound weight exceed losses from air resistance at those speeds.
So what does Broder have to say about that?
"It happened just the way I described it."
However I don't understand your part about regenerative braking. From everything I've read, regenerative braking very much is capable of adding charge to the batteries.
Regenerative energy is much more efficient than normal braking; but in any case it's far more efficient to simply stay at the same speed. Stop & go is extremely inefficient with normal brakes, and just inefficient with regenerative brakes.
As for data loggin: Elon states it's only for the media test drives unless written permission is given 
1. Did the reviewer take off on the final leg with insufficient charge at the advice of Tesla, or against the advice of Tesla? This caused the towing incident that created a sensational news story. Both sides disagree. There is probably no audio recording (which is illegal in many Northeast states without two party consent) so this is an area where one side can lie with reasonable impunity. One side is clearly lying, so it's a shameful situation. But that's not really as important as #2:
2. Does the car lose miles overnight in cold weather, or driving in cold weather? The answer here is unequivocally yes, and this is the story that Tesla doesn't want told, and hopes to distract from. It means you can't take it on a long ski trip deep into the mountains, or leave it in the airport an extra day without an annoying long recharge cycle. This can't be solved by charging overnight in some cases, as on long trips you still need to drive through the cold, so the range can decrease as one drives. The people who buy Teslas like to ski, like to fly, and don't want to wait two to six hours hours for a full recharge when a supercharger is not around.
The blog post doesn't really rebut #2, though it does try to distract and smear credibility with various nits which technically may be correct but are irrelevant to the basic questions. Classic courtroom defense strategy.
* It's clearly quite hard to find the supercharger at night.
* Tesla should do a better job of indicating non supercharger charging options. This would almost have solved all the problems on its own (I got short of power owing to lousy weather and had to make a side trip to a nearby charging station.)
* Tesla's tech support people are giving out unclear (perhaps not incorrect so much as ambiguous or easily misunderstood) advice. Tesla does not dispute the advice the reporter claims to have received... Training problems?
* The car's software provides insufficient information w.r.t. charging (or buries the lead).
* The car's software doesn't account for temperature well, including not warning about overnight charge/range loss due to either heating or a cold start. I assume it has thermal sensors.
Either the reporter consistently misreports his speed or the Tesla is simply logging the wrong speed, which is entirely possible based on the variance in wheel size from spec. (I don't know the distances involved, but it should be easy for folks to verify either way.)
The 80mph (or 65-70mph if miscalibrated) speed spikes aren't worth mentioning. If you drive in traffic, rapidly overtaking someone to avoid a problem is commonplace and does not bear on the discussion. Making points like that actually undercuts Tesla's case.
Wouldn't a review that didn't highlight these very real issues be misleading the public?
Surely Tesla knew who was going to write the article, so presumably they were happy with his "agenda". If not they should have been more careful and had their best people on it.
Tesla has a public education mountain to climb.
> After a negative experience several years ago with Top Gear, a popular automotive show, where they pretended that our car ran out of energy and had to be pushed back to the garage, we always carefully data log media drives.
Off-topic, but I'm curious whether they log this data for all cars, and whether this data is available to the driver (even if they need to work a bit to get it or ask for it)
If that is indeed what is happening, I doubt it is actually his agenda. Rather, whomever is paying him under the table's agenda.
Really? I had the opposite reaction.
Let's assume the the Times lied about everything, and we only consider Tesla's words. Look at the instructions he was to follow, "Drive like this, turn off this, don't do this, charge here for an HOUR".
That seems like a lot of consideration, and the thing costs $100k? No thanks. It's cool, and it may be the future, but the technology seems over-hyped for daily use.
I became way more suspicious when Mr. Broder started trying to weasel in lots of C.Y.A. wiggle room once Elon called his bluff: "Mr. Musk’s logs may show I hit 75 m.p.h. for a mile or two during my trip, although it was likely before, rather than after, the Newark stop..."  Suddenly he needed three conditionals in just one sentence: "may", "a mile or two" (now he's not so sure), and "likely".
Given all the hard data here that contradict the original story and show intentional shenanigans like laps around a parking lot, plus the evidence of Mr. Broder's stated a priori irrational bias against electric cars, it's hard to see how this might end up without a retraction from the Times.
And once again I think all the Times's griping about industry disruption is a secondary matter and a distraction from the fact that it's consistently not actually a very good news source.
Our culture is badly broken. When "the social contract" for broad swathes of society is so little regarded that lying is a matter of course, then we have already reached worrying levels of dysfunction, of the sort that historians point out when they discuss the fall of the Roman Empire, Czarist Russia, or the USSR. A point all of those have in common: The denizens came to assume public information was false as a matter of course, as a time and sanity saving measure. Large swathes of our society think of lying, even when deceiving large swathes of the public, as a kind of sport, and profiting from such lying as a kind of serendipitous fortune to be exploited without conscience, like finding cash on the sidewalk.
Such attitudes are shoved in my face when I see exclamations like, "Pictures or it didn't happen!" It's the same when big media corporations trade in innuendo and conspiracy theories and deliberately sabotage the dissemination of knowledge for their own ends. Such attitudes are so pervasive, that large swathes of the population actually disbelieve in any kind of objective truth, and accept mere social proof as its substitute and superior.
It's entirely possible that the journalist in question is innocent of deception and only guilty of poor journalism and/or poor trip planning and/or insufficient UI design. However, the issue with the review and that of the social contract are entirely related. In a world where reality itself is relative and subject to social proof, there is no need to double check your facts or to prove the null hypothesis. In a world where science is just another fabricated self-serving belief system, there's no need to apply one's scientific literacy or application of physics learned in school when doing things like taking a car trip in winter. One only need know enough to read the dials and gauges to be a good consumer, then complain loudly if things do not go one's way.
True competence, be it in programming or journalism or any significant endeavor, requires diligence with and prostration to the truth. Our society as a whole has forgotten this and our society as a whole is oblivious to the price it is paying as a consequence.
Another way to think of it: Our society as a whole doesn't have the epistemological foundation needed for the level of technical sophistication it has.
EDIT: Some of my fellow HN-ers seem to suggest they hold such relativism as a world view. This warrants much reflection.
Here we have an institution, the NY Times, cherished by progressive as authoritative, in conflict with a technology, cherished by progressives as environmentally crucial. The ensuing debate looks like something out of Orwell. Over an analysis of logs!
The problem isn't technological knowledge. It is "liberal" knowledge, knowledge of how we and others form opinions and deal with argument. People underestimate the impact of their political convictions on others' opinions, and their own. That impact goes really, really deep, it actually takes a lot of thought and reading and observation to see how this works.
And yet we're routinely treated to debates where people simply state whatever seems obvious to them as "fact" and then respond incoherently to any contradiction. It's truly depressing.
Thank you sir for reminding me why I am quitting my job to begin a Master's degree in Technology and Public Policy. Those in the know with regards to technology and its impact will forever be limited by those not in the know. Maybe we will never agree on the means used to determine Truth, but we should coalesce around empiricism. Not because we need all be scientists, but because empiricism and its methods provide the best means by which the powerless may confront the deceptive and calcified agents of power.
That was written before Tesla's response. You're saying, that for the interest on impartiality, I should have doubted Tesla's side before I even read it? Huh?!? Does that make sense?
As I stated elsewhere, someone can replicate both Tesla's side and Broder's side by redoing the trip both ways.
The disputes are much more subtle here.
Plenty of winter left. Even people who will volunteer. I think replication is very possible. Hell, I have time. I'll do one!
I think a better description of the problem is that our cognitive infrastructure isn't robust enough to handle the interconnectedness and complexity of modern society. Epistemology and technical sophistication are both just subsets of two larger problems.
Don't we typically attempt to disprove the null hypothesis?
When the null hypothesis is rejected, it is because our test results are below some very small threshold of probability given the assumption of the null (this is then taken as "proving" the alternative hypothesis for the purposes of this test). When the null is not rejected, our results might be just above that threshold, which by our method doesn't reject the null (and neither proves nor disproves the alternative) but certainly doesn't prove the null either. We never prove the null hypothesis: if that's what we were trying to do it wouldn't be the null.
The estimated range that Broder is referring to is the 90 mile estimate that the car displayed at the end of the first day, not the 32 miles it displayed the next morning. That is what he means when he says the car fell short of its range estimate by 2/3rds.
He also states that the reason he proceeded in the morning with just a 32 mile range is that "Tesla’s experts said that pumping in a little energy would help restore the power lost overnight as a result of the cold weather, and after an hour they cleared me to resume the trip to Milford." In other words, Tesla TOLD HIM TO. Musk does not refute this.
Tesla flunked the test due to cold weather energy loss. It's that simple. Superchargers alone cannot compensate for that. You still have to plug in overnight and take conservation measures on the road, or you may end up stranded. Musk can't change that no matter how hard he tries to distract you from the facts with "facts".
(BTW, has anyone realized that Musk's "driving around in circles in front of the charging station" conspiracy theory doesn't even make any kind of sense? If the writer wanted to intentionally strand the car he'd do it on the road.)
To quote from Musk:
"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."
I'd say that is a refutation.
. . . hey, most customer services lines tell you that the call may be recorded? So maybe we do have that call.
Still a valid thing to criticize. Musk calls the Tesla "an electric car without compromises." Finding plugs and stringing extension cords at some random hotel in the woods so as not to get stranded is maybe a little bit of a compromise.
This might sound pedantic, but the logs don't actually show any overnight cold-weather energy loss. What they do show is that it costs more energy per mile until the battery heats back up.
This makes a big difference when looking at the expected performance, because it means that it doesn't much matter how long you park it in the cold, only how cold it is when you start driving again.
It looks like energy loss, because the system apparently knows that a low battery temp will cause the batteries to drain faster and compensates in the range estimate.
Yes, unless you try to charge the battery while it's cold -- batteries aren't very efficient at absorbing a charge when they're cold. I'm speaking here about the basic physics, not the metering and software.
It's yet another example of how the New York Times which complains so much about the hardships it is suffering in the new media economy has brought most of the problem on itself by no longer being worthy of its once-exalted status.
When your budget is being decimated, it is hard to attract and support the quality employees who can deliver the product that you want. It gets worse with the way that new media is turning into a more virulent rehash of the old "yellow press", thereby lowering journalistic standards among the companies that the New York Times has to compete with. This means that people you try to hire are unlikely to come from a culture that cares about facts - which accelerates the downward spiral.
I do not personally believe that it will get better until it has gotten so clearly bad that the public hungers for high quality news enough to pay a premium to subscribe to it. (Which is how institutions like The New York Times got started in the first place.)
On the other hand, the Financial Times for example manages to be consistently reliable and intelligent, and from what I gather it's not due to any spectacular remuneration for their reporters, but seems to spring from a leadership and culture of high standards of accuracy and rational thought. And not coincidentally, they are hailed as a great success story in succeeding financially in the age of digital news. But that doesn't come down to any special alchemy of their porous pay wall formula, it comes down to being really excellent at what they do.
There's no reason the New York Times couldn't become just as excellent and just as financially successful if it had a brain transplant, i.e. a replacement of its leadership with much more intelligent and rational top executives, like, say, Elon Musk.
Unfortunately, since voting is relatively ineffective, information on political/social/etc. issues, even if it fully determines how you vote, is closer in value to entertainment than intelligence.
If you want information that is actionable and of interest to very few, you're going to pay a premium. But if you want information that many want to hear, you can spread the cost out and it can be individually cheap.
But it matters how people pay. The problem is that we've moved from paying for a subscription to implicitly on ad impressions per click. With a subscription, poor quality hurt the publisher because subscriptions got canceled. On per click models, it is basically a war for the best headline. And the quality of news is essentially irrelevant. By the time you realize that you've been fooled into clicking on useless blogspam again, they've booked the ad impressions.
You can't maintain quality on a per click revenue model. And you can't generate subscription revenue when people are not dissatisfied enough with the free blogspam. Nobody seems to have figured out good solutions to this yet.
"Enhanching" the truth is their standard MO.
I do blame Tesla, somewhat, for not having the good sense to realize that this guy was going to do a hatchet job. Perhaps they'll learn from this and deal with actual journalists in the future.
Meanwhile, the political stories in the NYT are just as bad; but not so easily refuted.
As compelling as this blog post is, this statement really stuck in my craw. NYT, nor any other news group, is beholden to your ideal article. To make matters worse, it was Tesla approaching NYT, not the other way around. So no Elon. Just because the article didnt cover what you wanted it to cover, doesn't mean you can get your panties in a bunch about it. The truthfulness of the article is a whole other matter entirely, but as someone who studied journalism, I have to give him a big "fuck you" for this imperialistic notion.
The NYT is huge and important, so they'll never be completely shut out. But I'm guessing they'll be pretty far down the waiting list for the Tesla Model X media car.
While the journalist and the publication get the final say,
there's an agreement of what's going to be covered, and what's out of bounds.
Editorial policy is pretty clear on most things like that.
Whenever we visited Google's office and such we were forbidden to sign the standard NDA's at check-in. It was fun to watch the people at the front desk get flustered ("No one ever declines the NDA!")
Maybe not formally but if the subject of the article has anything the NYT wants like advertising revenue, insider information, scoops or exclusive access then you can be sure the NYT has an incentive to be cooperative that is directly proportional to how much it values receiving these benefits in the future.
In the case of Tesla this incentive is essentially zero.
Anyone who has driven this trip knows that a "2 mile detour" into Manhattan will cost them an hour+ of their lives, and a quarter of their soul, much less a stop and go hell ride. A true testament to his disinginuity is his pretending to think that stop and go is more efficient than highway mileage. He has no place as an energy reporter unless acting as a shill.
Why is everyone here conflating gas-powered machines with EVs? There's a reason Tesla recommended he slow down and go through a city. There's a reason the Prius has a higher mileage rating for city driving than highway driving.
The reason is that driving faster requires proportionally more energy. It's always been that simple. The reason cities have historical given poor mileage is because of energy wastage from idling and from braking, both of which many EVs (incl. Tesla's) can minimize the energy loss from.
So the 2 mile detour didn't appear to do anything except add 2 miles to the total distance. As far as the data shows, highway driving is actually not more efficient than stop and go traffic.
Of course, I imagine Manhattan is not the place to test this hypothesis...
It does appear the reviewer wanted to trigger a car-stop scenario. Curiosity about what happens when a driver messes up, or perhaps range estimates fail because of unpredictable terrain/traffic is legitimate. So, I don't blame the reviewer for the circles near the charging station. But ignoring the range estimate and recharge opportunities, in order to require a tow and then report it as if it were a car failure, seems indefensible.
After all - see how detailed the testing methodology for some hardware sites is. For a world class media like the times it is inexcusable. So it is very sloppy to have times making reviews of expensive products that are worse than these of 300$ video card.
I pushed the car to the limits is a viable test, just notice it.
That's true. It looks like the car lost about 5% of capacity overnight, and that could have been a problem if he had stayed two nights. It looks like he used about 40% of capacity to get to Groton from the Supercharger. If he had let the car finish a standard (not even max range) charge at Milford, he would have had 90%-40%-5%-40% = 5% of battery remaining when he returned to the Supercharger at Milford the next day. That's an uncomfortably thin margin, but quite different from needing a flatbed.
In this case the writer is busted, but you can be sure that plenty of NY Times articles are equally biased without anyone able to prove otherwise. I was fortunate to personally witness absolute yellow journalism out of the NY Times, so I know just low their reporting can go.
Trust individuals, ignore brands.
They put the arrow where it was increased for a short duration, but then immediately after this the temperature is lowered considerably. A short delay like that could be just timing differences on his watch or similar. Does not seem like a valid complaint here, as the temperature was definitely decreased substantially after that time.
Rest of it is, obviously, completely incriminating though. Tesla should have just left this at the 'driving in circles in the parking lot'. That speaks for itself more than anything.
As I said before though, this is hardly the only part of the puzzle that doesn't add up.
"Putting the temp on low" means different things depending on where you look from. The blog may be articulate on some issues but it's not very clear at least on this one.
I don't think ~80 miles could be considered a "short duration".
i'm also appalled elon musk would use charge remaining charts that show the battery dropping into the low single digits to prove the car never ran out of battery when the tesla runs on lithium ion battery technology. lithium ion batteries are ruined by complete discharges. if the tesla doesn't shut down above some safe threshold it's a poor piece of engineering. elon musk is definitely aware of this fact and is cherry picking facts and misleading his audience to gain sympathy for his argument.
elon musk also cherry picks a quote from a response to his tweets and attributes it to the original piece to further his argument
regardless of the new york time's behavior, elon musk is not acting in any more honest a manner and is harming his companies reputation
Such batteries have their charge scale as displayed to the user deliberately shifted, so that even a small negative capacity actually indicates that safety threshold. Do you actually know anything about making charge controllers? Your statements seem to be of the type crafted to deceive uninformed readers.
> elon musk also cherry picks a quote from a response to his tweets and attributes it to the original piece to further his argument
> regardless of the new york time's behavior, elon musk is not acting in any more honest a manner and is harming his companies reputation
There's no concrete proof you've offered in this comment at all, only a willful misreading of Tesla's response.
The journalist acknowledges that detour, but claims it wasn't significant.
He said the detour shouldn't have mattered because he only added two miles by going into Manhattan "stop and go traffic" via Lincoln tunnel instead of using the George Washington Bridge to follow I-95 bypassing Manhattan.
Assuming this journalist is familiar with NYC, that's the most damning comment he's made. His claim might play for anyone not familiar with the area, but if you're from around here, his claim that it only added two miles is hysterical.
As a local, I can tell you that's a difference of typically an hour and a couple gallons of gas, being generous. I've had that detour to drop a friend off in Chelsea add two hours before.
Only two miles may be true, but baldly mischaracterizes the energy cost.
I'd love to see an experiment where you ask ten people to drive a car for 300 miles and write a story about how their trip went; then compare what they wrote against actual instrumentation data. I would be fascinated to know what parts of their narrative are most likely to be incorrect / misreported.
To my eye practically all journalists are sloppy: when I read a newspaper article about a topic I know well, it no longer comes as any kind of surprise to read something inaccurate or incomplete.
I can maybe trust the facts in a New Yorker piece (their editors' attention to detail is legendary) or in a WSJ feature article, where someone has had a lot of time to put things together and probably knows 10 times more than they bothered to write down … but that's not how most news works. Most newspaper stories are a "first draft of history" and I'm pretty much prepared to accept that when I read a story, it is one person's interpretation of what happened that is likely to deviate from reality in some hopefully minor way.
I'd like to understand whether I'm being unduly cynical or whether this is really a common quirk in how people tell stories -- hence my suggestion that I'd love to see an experiment where we measure empirically how good people are at aligning their story with easily measured facts.
But it's a shame that we're expected to distrust journalists working for a reputable newspaper.
Journalists get special legal protections; newspapers get special legal protections (at least, in the UK they do) and asking them to tell the truth doesn't seem too onerous.
Telling the truth is a professional ethical obligation for journalists, and it should be a personal ethical code for most people, and it's just weird to me that we should be asking it of journalists.
(And I'm in the UK where we have scum writing for news papers.)
Pre-determined narrative? Huh? Now you're embellishing the facts.
One, I'm not a reporter for the NYTimes, and two, I am giving my opinion.
Things maybe relative or fuzzy, but journalism is supposed to be one of these areas where the two are explicitly ruled out.
This evaluation was intended to demonstrate its practicality as a “normal use,” no-compromise car, as Tesla markets it. 
The problem is "normal use" for gasoline engines doesn't map to "normal use" for electrics. For instance, Broder left his Tesla parked overnight in the cold and lost ~60 miles of range. For a gas car that doesn't happen - you can park it in the cold for a week without losing any mileage.
An unbiased review would have pointed out the differences between gas ("old normal") and electric ("new normal"). Yes, with an electric you will need to charge more frequently (and possibly overnight) when operating in colder environments. Yes, filling up a gas tank takes a few minutes - and fully charging an electric can take 30 minutes to an hour. Yes, these are the tradeoffs involved, etc., etc.
Instead (as the Musk rebuttal shows) Broder mis-used the Tesla, didn't charge correctly, ignored advice and ended up blaming the technology. Broder's review is a PEBKAC error written in the first-person.
correct, for a gas car, at least in the old days, the battery would die and you couldn't get anywhere...or if it was a diesel you'd have to go plug in the engine warmer or you wouldn't get anywhere
The reviewer was instructed to fully charge the car at a station, he did not, and was then surprised how low his range got. If I stopped at a gas station and put 5 gallons in, when I knew I needed 6 and faulted the manufacturer in a NYT review I shouldn't be allowed to be a journalist anymore.
The reviewer goes on to write about how cold it was after turning the heat down at 182 miles, when he actually turned the heat up, I mean, how does one even begin to explain? Oops, I thought to turn the heat down you turn the dial clockwise?
He then goes on to talk about how he set the cruise control to 55, when he went under 60 for about 15 total seconds in the first half of the trip. It looks like the cruise control MAY have been set to like 60-62mph, but why not use those numbers? Oh hey, because the ones he made up made tesla look worse, see the theme here? He later goes on to say he drove 45 while the graph clearly shows he never went below ~52.
How do you guys defend something like this? Are we just that okay with lying as a society now? I can pick out 5-6 blatant lies in this story, but apparently the fact that some of these are debatable makes it okay to lie in a bunch of other situations? How does that work?
The third bullet point in the blog says "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,'"
When I do a Command-F on the article, I can't find "32", "51", "final leg", or "fell short". Where is Tesla getting these quotes from?
is where it says that the car showed an estimated range of 32 miles when he left Norwich.
Elon's blog post contradicts Broder's "they cleared me to resume the trip" comment, saying "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."
So the car logs are hard to argue with; the contradictory claim here is about what Tesla said to Broder when he was at Norwich, which presumably wasn't recorded.
> * Note that the Milford station is on an off-ramp and it isn't at all small. A single loop around the station is nearly a 1/3rd of a mile, and if you make a wrong turn (or even hunt for the charger) and make one turn around you're at 1/2 mile.*
The red path depicts exactly what Musk claims: driving around in circles. Look at the final leg, going around the chargers. Even with that ridiculous path it's only 0.5 miles. That is disingenuous.
How direct of a path you take from the offramp depends on the signage, it's not unreasonable to think that the writer missed it.
And when you say: "Even with that ridiculous path it's only 0.5 miles."...you did read the OP right?
Musk uses this chart in which he says the reporter "circled" around for 0.6 miles:
0.6 is very close to 0.5. This doesn't prove the reporter didn't do something nefarious...but the line between accidentally and purposefully taking a circuitous route here is not a wide margin.
I mean, if the reporter wanted to screw with Tesla -- and while ostensibly being unaware that he was tracked -- why wouldn't he just miss his exit a couple of times and get stranded on the side of the freeway? If you wanted maximum damning effect, that's what I would go for...driving around a McDonalds seems less efficient.
You'd have to do it on purpose - or be really, really, comically stupid, which would be kind of surprising for a NYT reporter.
Look at the map you just posted in satellite view: http://cl.ly/image/233B400Z2T3w
What is comically stupid is that this NYT reporter, in an attempt to bring down Tesla, didn't realize that a far less detectable way to drain a car's battery (electric or gas) is just to leave the car on without moving and go watch a movie...even with non-GPS-enabled cars, it's possible to record the mileage of a vehicle by looking at its odometer. You'd think someone in the pocket of Big Oil would've driven enough gas-cars to realize that, right?
Or just want a soda.
(what I'd really like to do is test a Model S in police/security duty cycle. Lots of idling, powering accessory equipment, high speed short pursuit, long highway cruise. Or test the vehicle through something like the Blackwater driving/carbine course, where the low center of gravity would make it pretty awesome I think (especially vs. a Crown Vic or an armored GMC).)
Just why did Elon Musk not link to the article, for everyone to easily see Broder's embarrassment beats me.
More strange things are claimed
At that point, I was already experiencing anxiety about range and had called a Tesla employee from the New Jersey Turnpike to ask how to stretch the battery. She said to shut off the cruise control to take advantage of battery regeneration from occasional braking and slowing down. Based on that advice, I was under the impression that stop-and-go driving at low speeds in the city would help, not hurt, my mileage.
If I were hiring John Broder to be a journalist covering electric cars, that right there would be enough to reveal him as disqualified: Doesn't know even the basics of thermodynamics or can't apply it to his subject.
Oh really? You probably also think that cold water freezes faster than hot. Taking the thimbleful of knowledge that you have and making snap judgements based on it will often mislead you.
In the case of the cars, without looking it up it is not obvious to me which is worse - the energy loss in starting and stopping at low speeds, or the quadratically scaling energy loss from wind resistance at high speeds. Certainly if you go fast enough you'll find that your driving range drops substantially - this is why the old 55 mph limit was passed during the oil crisis.
If I am not certain without looking it up, then I can't fault someone else for not knowing it either.
About the water, if you have equal amounts of hot and cold water in wooden buckets and put them out in the snow, the hot water can easily freeze faster. Several possible factors are known, but their relative importance is unclear. See http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/General/hot_water.html for a detailed discussion.
I wouldn't hire you either.
> About the water
Your example digs your hole deeper. There's a fundamental difference between applying thermodynamics in this case, and the regenerative braking one. That you don't know that is what's damning.
Anyone who didn't understand that energy usage is approximately quadratic with respect to speed would be considered studderingly incompetent and would fail qualification at both ends of the boat.
Of course if you don't believe me, perhaps you should ask Tesla Motors.... or look at the Prius's rated MPG for city/hwy.
I'll guess that you never passed any fluid mechanics courses either.
See? I can return snark for snark. Now let's actually discuss some physics.
There's a fundamental difference between applying thermodynamics in this case, and the regenerative braking one. That you don't know that is what's damning.
For the same trip from New York to Boston in a Toyota Camry, traveling at 80 mph the whole way takes 2.75 times as much energy as traveling at 30 mph. See http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/physics/8-21-the-physics-of-energ... and apply scaling factors to verify.
That provides a lot of headroom to add starts and stops on the 30 mph trip without using more energy than the faster trip. In fact, even without regenerative braking, you could add in multiple stops/starts per mile and the slow trip still saves energy in a conventional car. (Well, until you consider rolling friction going up hills, I don't have a good back of the envelope for what that adds.)
I'm being deliberately unfair to make a point here. Standard "highway driving" for EPA efficiency is assumed to be 60 mph. Traveling at 80 mph is a lot, lot worse than 60 mph. Elon knows this, and calls out the journalist's speed because Elon knows what difference this efficiency makes.
If the highway trip is taken at 60 mph it is much harder for a slow trip to take less energy.
Now do you understand that speed hurts efficiency?
Not snark. Also, already knew about the possible non-intuitive results with water.
> If the highway trip is taken at 60 mph it is much harder for a slow trip to take less energy.
Now do you understand that speed hurts efficiency?
Hmmm, putting words in my mouth to spin it so it seems like my original position is actually yours and imply that I don't know a different basic bit of physics. (You can check my recent comment history.)
Nope, definitely wouldn't hire you as a journalist.
Go back to http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5218597 and look at the quote you were criticizing Broder for. Here it is. Based on that advice, I was under the impression that stop-and-go driving at low speeds in the city would help, not hurt, my mileage.
You considered this proof that he didn't know basic physics, because obviously stop-and-go driving is inefficient. My point is that your criticism is wrong because this is actually a question of empirical fact that can - and does - go either way. (In fact in published mpg figures, the Toyota Prius does better in stop and go city traffic than on the highway. If you go significantly over 55 mph on the highway, you're probably getting worse highway mileage than the published figures.)
...imply that I don't know a different basic bit of physics.
I make no claims on whether you understand how wind resistance works. I do claim that your initial comment showed no understanding for how important wind resistance is IN THIS CASE. But now I pointed it out, and then explained it with reference to actual energy loss for a popular model of car, and you have been pointed to the fact that published mpg figures for the Prius demonstrate that it leads to the very pattern that you thought Broder was an idiot for thinking possible. At this point if you believe in science and measurement, you've got to admit that your analysis missed something important, and you were wrong. If you're a mature person, you'd then apologize for some of the same things.
Alternately you can demonstrate a willful denial of basic physics by continuing to insult me for having pointed out your mistake. But if you continue that path, I won't bother to respond because I trust that interested third parties can draw the correct conclusion.
And then, you proceed to talk about an entirely different set of comments. Perhaps we've been misunderstanding referents. In my reading, it seems like you've been painting me as a rube who might think that warmer water freezing faster than cold is impossible. I find that highly annoying, because that's false.
I see your point about slower driving, regen, and range. Imagine you're the manager of a group of delivery truck drivers, and a driver comes to you after having stranded himself on a trip, and gives you that same sentence. Most people are going to look at him like he's an idiot, or have to try not to. Even knowing how regen braking works, I would still probably give him that look.
> If you're a mature person, you'd then apologize for some of the same things.
I'll apologize. The motivation for my objection was to how you seemed to be trying to paint my knowledge. From my reading, you were willfully trying to paint a picture of my knowledge or lack of it. From you POV, you were trying to make a point about the capabilities of regen braking, and saw my continued objection as a denial of that, which misconstrues of my position. (Heh, you could get the referents wrong on that last sentence too, prolonging this as well, hopefully not.)
Now it is my turn.
You're right that I said that you probably didn't know about the hot/cold water freezing weirdness when I had no evidence of that. I shouldn't have assumed ignorance as strongly as I did, and I apologize for having done so. A large part of the reason that I did is irritation with you for saying that anyone who could think that slow stop and go could possibly be more efficient than highway driving is an idiot who doesn't know basic physics. Since I consider that possible, and I think I know basic physics, this hit a nerve.
The reason why I brought up the water example is the following parallel. We have a situation where an obvious fact leads anyone with a basic physics education to assume that the answer goes one way. In fact it lead a lot of scientists to assume that they knew the answer, despite widespread folk knowledge and historical observations to the contrary. In fact reality is more complicated, and the obvious answer in this case isn't always right.
Now are you willing to admit that he and I weren't necessarily ignorant of basic physics when we say that slow stop and go can possibly be more efficient than highway traffic? And that furthermore the fact that I would say so is not particularly damning about my knowledge base or intelligence?
Imagine you're the manager of a group of delivery truck drivers, and a driver comes to you after having stranded himself on a trip, and gives you that same sentence. Most people are going to look at him like he's an idiot, or have to try not to.
You may not be giving truck drivers enough credit. Truck drivers make their living trying to beat operational costs while driving something with the aerodynamics of a brick. I have a couple of relatives who have been long-distance truck drivers, and they are keenly aware of the value of driving slowly, drafting off of other trucks, making no unnecessary maneuvers, etc.
It would help if you understood my position.
> I shouldn't have assumed ignorance as strongly as I did, and I apologize for having done so.
That's a good start.
> A large part of the reason that I did is irritation with you for saying that anyone who could think that slow stop and go could possibly be more efficient than highway driving is an idiot who doesn't know basic physics.
No, what I'm saying is that (despite the fact that someone who knows basic physics could figure out that it could possibly be more efficient) someone who knows basic physics who goes and makes a bet against being stranded without more info than Broder had is an idiot or is willfully acting like one.
> You may not be giving truck drivers enough credit. Truck drivers make their living trying to beat operational costs while driving something with the aerodynamics of a brick. I have a couple of relatives who have been long-distance truck drivers, and they are keenly aware of the value of driving slowly, drafting off of other trucks, making no unnecessary maneuvers, etc.
Wow, you really don't do it on purpose, do you? Feel free to read my sentence from the POV that truck drivers are very good at what they do.
What you are saying that you were saying does not match what you actually said in http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5218597.
I've never disputed that the "journalist" had a clear axe to grind. I've just disputed your claim about the sheer stupidity of that particular statement.
And about truck drivers, I did read your sentence from the POV that truck drivers are very good at what they do. Which is why I disagreed with you about how they would react.
Anyways this conversation actually is over now.
The key is "or can't apply it to his subject." You have this problem of mistaken certainty over the other person's position.
However I think that your comment about thermodynamics is revealing because it seems to me that the real point of this article is that driving an electric car requires consumers to learn a lot (about entropy!) and think very differently from driving a normal car. It sounds frankly stressful to drive, even if everything works perfectly. That's where I think the real damage is.
You get the best mpg at a constant speed of ~50mph, and it's better with the cruise control because it reduce the times that you need to accelerate or decelerate.
If you go too fast, the mpg drops because you need more fuel to compensate the additional resistance.
If you accelerate and brake (for example in a city), the mpg drops because you need more fuel to accelerate and when you brake the energy goes away as heat.
The advantage of the regenerations brakes is that some of the energy that is "lost" as heat braking is stored and used again to accelerate. This is not magic. It doesn't make braking lossless, it only recycles part of the energy so accelerating and braking is not so bad (it's only bad). This is well known for the electric and hybrid cars (I think that there are some tries to do something like this for gas cars, perhaps store the energy mechanically, I'm not sure.)
I think that the recommendation was (paraphrase) "If you are going to drive inside a city, it's better to turn off the cruise control."
The articles that he understood something like (paraphrase) "It's better to drive inside a city than in a highway with cruise control."
It's very surprising that a car expert can understood this so totally wrong that it look like it was a willfully misunderstandment.
This isn't true of EVs.
The engine in a gasoline powered cars are around 15 to 25 percent efficient, and the hotter you put them, the more efficient they are.
However, air resistance increases as speed increases.
The peak efficiency depends on a few things, but most cars you'll find it around 40-60 mph.
EVs don't have engines, they have motors. They are about 90% efficient, regardless of your speed.
But they have the same air resistance issues.
So EVs really do perform better at lower speeds. Even the Prius will show better city mileage than highway mileage, and that's only with a little bit of battery+motor.
This is also used in surverying to do something called differential GPS with two receivers: one GPS receiver fixed in a known location, and another to measure GPS locations relative to the first GPS in the known location - absolute error is completely removed by this process (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Differential_GPS claims 10cm accuracy). If you think about it, two receivers separated by a little space is more or less equivalent to two receivers separated by a little time, so you'd expect a similar relative accuracy of 10cm.
> GPS is only accurate to a certain amount (maybe 1.5 metres, maybe 10 metres)
Statistical civilian GPS accuracy is better understood than this. It's 7.8 meters (25.6 feet) for two standard deviations (i.e. 95% confidence):
I gave up looking for an accuracy figure on wikipedia, but knew I had seen 1.5 metres in the past, and that 10 metres is too inaccurate. Thanks for the link.
It all has to do with the statistical error bound. For a specified accuracy, one must also state the deviation for which that error is true. My point is that GPS doesn't have a specific accuracy, always true, with a probability cliff on each side. For a given accuracy specification, one must always include the probability for that accuracy.
Regardless, I don't think that's a huge sticking point to this story. Broder was at the charging station - it's possible he wanted to see just how long it would take until the battery shut down.
Tesla were as robust in their attack on Top Gear, and a court threw them out. They still, regardless of the court decision, openly complain about Top Gear trying to drown out the court loss. So, to be honest, Tesla have form. They get criticised, loudly defend them selves, lose, but refuse to accept the loss. This could possible turn out the same.
I think people getting all excited about this evidence should wait and see it a) it goes to court and b) the out come of such a case.
I fully accept that their produce is likely under severe attack from their petrol (gas) competitors and frankly in their position I would be a bit foil hat about it, but equally they do seem hyper sensitive to criticism. There is a lot of instant Tesla supports here, but I would exercise caution and wait for both sides to be tested.
It is also interesting to me to see how opinion is divided. Here its all very pro-Tesla, but in motoring circles, opinion is far more sceptical. I suspect somewhere in the middle is where the truth lives.
That's because the psychology of human beings allows for media folks like Top Gear to score their points and (incidentally) severely damage Tesla through the effect of a lie, without actually stating the lie.
> equally they do seem hyper sensitive to criticism.
As for that: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5204152
Stephen Colbert has a word for this. "Truthiness."
Actually...he doesn't need to go to court...something as fact-filled as this, that will get a lot of attention, almost is better than a court-case. Because it plays out in the public, and Tesla will likely come out much better for it - because they are proving, with facts (not legal arguments), that this journalist was trying to perform a hack-job...but it backfired.
I guarantee you, he is panicking right now - and the NYT editorial team (and perhaps board) is in panic mode right now.
This cuts to the heart of journalistic integrity. As far as I can see...this is easily checkmate.
Let's see how they respond.
http://journalism.about.com/od/ethicsprofessionalism/a/libel... (and many, many other references) disagree with you.
>Defamation law in the United States is much less plaintiff-friendly than its counterparts in European and the Commonwealth countries, due to the enforcement of the First Amendment. One very important distinction today is that European and Commonwealth jurisdictions adhere to a theory that every publication of a defamation gives rise to a separate claim, so that a defamation on the Internet could be sued on in any country in which it was read, while American law only allows one claim for the primary publication.
I'd be quite surprised if they didn't have lawyers preparing a case right now against the NY Times.
Soo....I would be surprised if they did pursue legal action against NYT - given how easily they were shut down in Britain that has more lax libel laws.
My point was that they actually don't need to.
This one blog post does more good for their reputation and more damage for NYTs than a lawsuit could/would.
It is harder to sue the NYT in America. However it is far from impossible, and in this case I believe that they have solid enough evidence to make a fair legal case for libel.
That said, they really would prefer to win this in the court of public opinion now, rather than in a lawsuit that finishes several years from now. (They probably want to do both.) And they would probably prefer to settle this out of court rather than having to go through courts.
As always, IANAL, TINLA.
We will see what, if any, legal action they take. If anything, I suspect it would probably be against the journalist and less the company. I can't see the company standing behind Broder's statements - given these facts.
They should get their rebuttal printed in NYT competitor. Even better, make the edition for that day free
(English libel law doesn't work the same way as US libel law; IIRC, if you can show that a reasonable viewer could have interpreted the broadcast in a way that's both defamatory and false, then that's libel even if the broadcaster never intended it to be understood that way and even if all or nearly all viewers interpreted it correctly.)
People don't watch Top Gear to get actual car reviews, they watch to drool over the car porn and laugh at Jezza in a Robin Reliant.
I will say I don't agree with what they did with the Tesla, but it's a separate issue from the NYTimes article.
Are you suggesting the NYT is not truthy?
In case anyone is unaware, it was recently revealed that when the government announces that "X militants were killed", that the word militant actually refers to any military age male that is killed, and does not imply there is any evidence to suggest the person was anything other than completely innocent.
Furthermore, the NYT continues to parrot the government claims, and to use the word militant in it's reporting, despite this revelation, without mentioning that in most cases there is literally no evidence at all.
In fact, the NYT public editor recently wrote an article complaining about this fact.
Another good way to manipulate data is how you pick your axes. like having the x-axis be miles instead of time. Both are valid, but they show very different pictures. A miles x-axis emphasizes the parts where you were driving fast, while a time x-axis emphasizes parts where you are driving slow.
Unless you mean you want finer-grained data. Which is just as easily faked.
Whenever I have known the facts in a story that happened to become a media story, the facts differed from how the story was presented in media. Sometimes a lot, sometimes a little. But always some. You can't trust mass media, not even NY Times.
Firstly, all of Broder's excessive winging about the cold weather (I think) was designed to subtly imply that the Model S doesn't work in the cold. You future buyer, will be cold and your car will break. This is why Musk had to address the cold weather link directly in the evidence blog posting.
Secondly. Broder likely couldn't have fathomed that every parameter in the car was being logged. Very specific details add credibility and character to a story. They make the author appear diligent, and one who gives great attention to detail. In the past such details were a "literary tool used to bend the story. Now thanks to data driven engineering words and truth in such matters should align more closely in cases such as this.
Lastly. For a man who may or may not have a bias against electric vehicles (cars at least), the observation that "the estimated range was falling faster than miles were accumulating" at the outset of the author's journey might have set the tone of the coming review. With all the incessant calls to Tesla support to document all the "trouble", Broder had plenty of documentation to support his (what was IMHO a) journalistic malignment. This angle also had the added benefit of generating views for NYT - plus through the courtesy of Tesla arranging a tow - the money shot.
I hope NYT has the ethical chops to do what they must.
Sure, they shredded the Times article. But this looks to me like an extremely finicky car. I mean, you have to drive it slow, possibly turn off the heat in the winter and charge it for an hour at a time? That's craziness.
Edit: Whoever is just combing through the comments, down-voting anything that doesn't praise Saint Elon, how about you step up and point out what I've said that's wrong. Or do we just downvote differing opinions now?
Are you trolling? No, you don't have to drive it 'slow'. Citation needed, and one that isn't this NYTimes piece that's currently being called in to question.
> possibly turn off the heat in the winte
No, you don't. You're just making things up.
> charge it for an hour at a time?
> That's craziness.
No, it's not. You know what's craziness? Humanity driving cars that burn things and pollute our atmosphere to the point of causing and accelerating global climate change, driving species to extinction and gunning towards global upheaval. That's craziness.
45 mph isn't slow to you? You must not drive. Broder is criticized for driving too fast. Elon knocks the fact that he drove an average of 60+, and calls him out for driving 80. So what if he did? I do all the time. That's how people drive. If speed is irrelevant, why does Elon harp on it in his blog?
>"No, you don't. You're just making things up."
Huh? Elon is saying "Look! He turned the heat up!". So what? He wanted it warmer. This is not a problem in an ICE vehicle.
>"No, it's not. You know what's craziness? Humanity driving cars that burn things and pollute our atmosphere to the point of causing and accelerating global climate change, driving species to extinction and gunning towards global upheaval. That's craziness."
Yeah, because the machinery required to dig all those precious metals out of the ground to make these batteries aren't burning a ton of diesel in unstable countries around the planet. Nor are the machines that need to build the charging stations in close succession, because you have to charge these cars far more often than you have to fill up with gasoline (and gas stations are already too prominent on the landscape). Glad you'd like to see more. Nor is the electric grid that most people will charge from "dirty".
Why do you take this so personally? You seem really angry that people aren't as impressed with this thing.
Elon's argument is essentially: he drove too fast, he set the cabin temperature too high, and didn't charge long enough. As a guy who puts 30k miles per year on my car, those are things that would annoy me and I wouldn't expect from a car approaching six figures.
Yes, it's slow. You don't have to drive that slowly in a Tesla as you just claimed.
> Huh? Elon is saying "Look! He turned the heat up!". So what? He wanted it warmer. This is not a problem in an ICE vehicle.
It's not a problem in the Tesla either. Elon's calling him out because it appears the journalist lied.
> Yeah, because the machinery required to dig all those precious metals out of the ground to make these batteries aren't burning a ton of diesel in unstable countries around the planet. Nor are the machines that need to build the charging stations in close succession, because you have to charge these cars far more often than you have to fill up with gasoline (and gas stations are already too prominent on the landscape). Glad you'd like to see more. Nor is the electric grid that most people will charge from "dirty".
Better not make any progress then, or try anything new. You're right, let's keep polluting the atmosphere.
> You seem really angry that people aren't as impressed with this thing.
On the contrary, you're the one who seems angry.
> he drove too fast
First, no that's not Elon's argument. Elon's argument is that the journalist lied. Second, didn't he drive too fast? Did he break the speed limit and drive illegally while reviewing a product? That seems like a bad idea.
> he set the temperature too high
No, that's not Elon's argument. His argument is that the journalist lied.
> and didn't charge long enough.
He didn't, but he claimed he did. Again, it appears the journalist lied.
> As a guy who puts 30k miles per year on my car, those are things that would annoy me and I wouldn't expect from a car approaching six figures.
So don't buy a Tesla yet.
Edit: Approaching six figures? Where I live, a Tesla Model S costs about $48,000. That's hardly approaching six figures.
>"Better not make any progress then, or try anything new. You're right, let's keep polluting the atmosphere."
What are you going on about? No one is arguing anything of the sort. EVs just aren't the environmental saviour you want them to be. They have their own issues.
>"No, that's not Elon's argument. His argument is that the journalist lied."
Let me see if I can spell this out for you:
Broden said he followed the Tesla guidelines, like driving 54. He didn't. Elon busted him in that lie. But Elon didn't say those aren't the guidelines.
I'm saying those guidelines are ridiculous. Driving 11mph below the speed limit and with-lower-than-desired temperature settings, just so you can make your destination, is bad. Having to stop and charge for a whole HOUR, multiple times on a 600 mile trip, is bad.
I calls 'em like I sees 'em.
Story 2: Tesla, your mechanic, your insurance company, your spouse, the government, and anybody else with access to the box can tell exactly how you've been driving.
I'm a big Tesla and Musk fan. I have nothing but hope that Tesla rocks on. But #2 is the way larger story here.
I continue to be amazed at how in 20 years or so suddenly the world is full of people who don't mind detailed logs of their every movement and action being kept.
But I think you miss the gist of my statement. My apologies. I should have been clearer. I said "...anybody else with access to the box can tell exactly how you've been driving..."
The issue here is that the car is automatically equipped to provide such tracking. Whether the tracking is turned on by default, by court order, by the police hacking your system, by the company in order to verify test drives, by your insurance company convincing you to give them the data -- all good and interesting situations for discussion, but not germane to what I was saying.
In fact, it's not the company I worry about. It's consumers who will easily be lured into turning on tracking by their insurance companies -- and then this data will be available to anybody who has system access. We are our own worst enemies.
Your car -- a large, heavy, physical piece of reality which you trust to get you from point A to point B -- is now only so much software. That's a big deal.
NYTimes article: "Looking back, I should have bought a membership to Butch’s and spent a few hours there while the car charged. The displayed range never reached the number of miles remaining to Milford,"
So what Musk is correcting isn't actually in dispute.
Musk: "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."
This seems disingenuous since there is clearly a good chunk on on the graph where the reporter was driving below 55 mph on 95 in CT, which I would not recommend. Musk is comparing the "majority of the trip" before the range troubles with the parts about cruise control from the parts with range troubles.
Musk: "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%."
NYTimes: "Instead, I spent nearly an hour at the Milford service plaza as the Tesla sucked electrons from the hitching post. When I continued my drive, the display read 185 miles, well beyond the distance I intended to cover before returning to the station the next morning for a recharge and returning to Manhattan."
Reporter never said he fully charged it, and didn't have any reason to if the range gauge was accurate. Musk is basically saying the reporter should have been worried about the range and overcompensated.
Musk: "When Tesla first approached The New York Times about doing this story, it was supposed to be focused on future advancements in our Supercharger technology. "
Seems odd they lent him a car for a test drive then.
Musk: "In his own words in an article published last year, this is how Broder felt about electric cars before even seeing the Model S"
Musk should have stuck to the logs. Here is more of that paragraph:
"Yet the state of the electric car is dismal, the victim of hyped expectations, technological flops, high costs and a hostile political climate. General Motors has temporarily suspended production of the plug-in electric Chevy Volt because of low sales. Nissan’s all-electric Leaf is struggling in the market. And the federal government has slowed its multibillion-dollar program of support for advanced technology vehicles in the face of market setbacks and heavy political criticism. "
Are those facts untrue?
My car doesn't have 'range'. That said when the fuel light is on I go to the petrol station. Similarly I know a drive to my parents is about half a tank. If I have less than that I put in the required amount of fuel to make it. If fuel looks like it getting low I get off the main road and look for a service station. Common sense.
If I was driving a car for the first time, was unfamiliar with my route or the presence of charging stations I wouldn't trust the range. Range is always an estimate. What if I hit traffic? I don't want the exact range because if I get stuck in an hour of slow moving traffic I am buggered. Its the same with petrol cars. Its the same with guestimating how far you can go on your fuel tank. You cannot defend idiocy.
> Seems odd they lent him a car for a test drive then.
What better way to demonstrate Supercharger tech than in a real world scenario. Drive the car, get it low, look how well it recharges to get you going again. (I assume Supercharger relates to the speed of charging) My impression of Electric cars is that take overnight to charge. Giving a car which charges in an hour would be a good way to demonstrate both the technology and the improvements in the practicalities of electric cars.
My point is that Musk is saying that like he didn't write the story he was supposed to, which was about 'future advancements in our Supercharger technology'. But clearly they knew what the eventual point of the story was, since they lent a car and provided support. So why bring up the original intent of the story?
The only reason Broder got called out in this specific case is because he made the mistake of going against one of the most intelligent, ambitious and accomplished figures in the tech industry - who expected the kind of shenanigans Broder would try to pull and therefore logged the test-drive data. He poked the wrong bee hive.
As for the circles in the parking lot - I'd probably do donuts too if I was given free reign over a slick sports car.
Obviously it's far fetched to think that display inaccuracies were really the case, but food for thought.
Yeah, but the middle of a range test without mentioning it in the article is a bit suspicious. Also, thanks for implicitly revealing your standards for an acceptable white lie and acceptable journalism. ;) (Okay, devil's advocate, so it only reveals about your devil's advocate persona.)
Journalists are well-accustomed to using voice recorders by now. Heck, most car reviewers videotape everything they do now.
I think Elon makes a pretty convincing case that this guy was going out of his way to write a hit piece against the car. No sensible person would drive any car in the manner this reporter did.
However, I also think that Elon's taking a bit of an overzealous approach, especially given his Tweets. I can see where he's coming from - the company's stock did dip after all - but his rebuttal is somewhat inflammatory in my mind as well. Any person able to read a basic graph can see the untruth in Broder's article by looking at the charge graph, and I think that a more cool, professional approach could have given Tesla a very big PR boost as the more mature company in the situation.
That would be the case in a more perfect world. However, rebuttals usually get only a small fraction of the eyeballs of the original piece. So unless you go on an all out war and escalate to an absurd degree nobody will hear of your rebuttal and presume your guilt.
This fight is unbelievably lopsided. If Tesla didn't log everything they would have been completely unable to defend themselves. Now that they have logs and can prove what happened they still have to worry about people thinking "where there's smoke there's fire" and they still have to worry about reaching enough people with their rebuttal.
It's arguable that this article could have done Tesla significant financial harm. If I was Musk, I'd go for the kill and demand Broder's head on a platter alongside a published apology from the editor disavowing the review. There's no room for a lukewarm response here - the response needs to be loud, obnoxious, and the fallout needs to be messy to ensure that the rebuttal gets the same coverage as the initial damaging review.
The status quo for car companies is to stay quiet or give vague denials of any kinds of reported issues. Tesla has always been a different kind of car company and this is the reaction that I'd expect.
Elon is heavily involved in his product in a way almost all other carmarkers (save for Christian von Koenigsegg) are not. If he wasn't responding to performance accusations passionately, I'd think something was wrong.
The performance of a battery in a piece of equipment is a matter of engineering and empirical fact. Calling a 7 mph difference (over 15%) "nitpicky" indicates a lack of understanding of what it takes to deal with matters of engineering and empirical fact. This is even more true in this particular context, as drag tends to increase with the square of the velocity, which in layman's terms means you get a lot more drag than your increase in speed.
A journalist who doesn't understand the above isn't qualified to write an automotive article with any kind of empirical basis. (He can go be like Jeremy Clarkson and emote lots instead.)
If Broder now said, "I must have forgotten a few things", it would instantly end his credibility as a journalist.
I mean, think about it. Why he was doing it? I guess to check if the car will get discharged in next few minutes to write in the review that car got totally discharged after just few more minutes. Well, it didn't happen. Why then he didn't write that the car actually still held some charge? I mean, he was trying to show something negative about the car, but when he found something positive, he was no longer interested in showing it?
Unless Tesla is faking the data (which may happen but I really doubt it) it is up to us to determine the veracity of the NYT's article. Is it within journalistic means or did Broder straight out lie?
That way there will be no confusion, and the facts are plain for the journalist to see, and use in their article.
In either case, Tesla is being very unprofessional. Very petty, too. Think about Musk: he created PayPal, where he was a total scumbag. Why would it be different here?
Assuming this data is not fabricated (always a possibility!) - then the news reporter did some seriously shady reporting and should be fired immediately (this is THE New York Times).
The only questions I have about the hit piece are the following.
Is he getting paid by anyone to be against electric cars?
What is his past history with electric cars?
Where has he previously been employed?
And what ties does he have to the ICE industry?
If the NYT cares about their credibility, they'll get rid of him, but this isn't an isolated incident for them. I stopped reading them a decade ago for that reason.
He's done. As in, "Yes, Mr. Broder, I would like fries with that."
There is an obvious explanation for driving around the parking lot in circles: He was curious what the reserves are and how the car would react. Simple as that. He didn’t write about it in his review anyway and it’s completely irrelevant for his review.
Would he have said "I decided to drive around in circles for a little while, and eventually, after a while it died, and I pushed it to the charger"?
Or would he have said "I was barely able to coast off the highway into the parking lot, and I had to push two-and-a-half-tons of dead batteries the last quarter-mile to the charger head"?
That’s the first step. What could explain the data?
1. He wanted to see how much reserve the car has and how it handles running out of juice (with no intention of lying about what he did to get the car empty).
2. He wanted to see how much reserve the car has and how it handles running out of juice (with intention to lie about what he did to get the car empty).
3. The pattern in the data exists for unrelated reasons (e.g. driving around searching, etc.).
Since he didn’t actually lie about this (he merely didn’t say anything) you are speculating about his character. That seems a bit too uncertain for me.
Plus, after considering this question a bit more, I think we are wrong in focusing so much on options 1. and 2.: The third one seems very plausible to me, actually.
How is the reader to know the logs haven't been tampered with, if only Tesla has them?
And of course there is another course of action that can settle this once and for all. Repeat the journey with an unimpeachable witness along for the ride.
But the graph showing the visible miles was well below zero.
Did the car really force itself to stop like Broder claims, or could Broder have driven it farther?
Even if the battery had charge, if it forcefully stopped, then Broder is right in essence. The fact that there is a reserve in the battery that Broder cannot use for driving is, for all intents and purposes, the battery being out.
On the other hand, if the car didn't forcefully stop, then Broder is lying.
Time constraints? Maybe he had a meeting to get to (simulated)? Arguably, people who can afford to drive around in a $100K electric car probably set the meeting starts by their arrival.
I want one of these cars so badly. I had plans to buy the new 2017 Mazda RX-7 and keep my '88 10AE RX-7, but I might just sell the old one and figure out how to make the Model S purchase happen.
They already have them. State Farm keeps badgering me to turn on the OnStar in my car so that they can charge me insurance based on how far I actually drive, rather than the upper bound on mileage that I tell them.
I tend to keep cars for a long time, so hopefully the situation will be different next time around, and I can spend the money with Tesla. I'm very glad they were vindicated in this case. That said, I still agree with the discredited report in a qualitative sense: EVs that have to be charged in real time at arbitrary leaf nodes on the power grid are a really, really stupid idea.
If you live in an area where a Tesla is convenient and you don't need to do frequent long trips, it almost seems like a no-brainer to me though.
So, you just need enough infrastructure to allow for leasing the battery while owning the vehicle. That would mean battery swaps would have to be the equivalent of engine overhauls. Sounds good to me.
Maybe. But Tesla has proven that they can build a product that people will buy. Isn't that what matters?
Sure, until Musk's prediction of half of all cars sold being plug-in EVs by 2020 comes true. At that point, it will be pretty annoying when I lose power every night because half of the houses in my neighborhood are charging their cars.
And I definitely look forward to breathing the additional coal plant emissions that will be necessary to overcome resistive loss in the grid. (Of course, refining gasoline requires a fair bit of electricity on its own, but refineries are centralized sites with industrial power service, like charging sites for leased EV batteries would be in an ideal world.)
The idea that plug-in EVs are somehow a magical workaround for the externalities of gasoline-powered vehicles is troublesome. A sustainable future for EVs means addressing the externalities first, because they won't go away on their own.
I guess Tesla needs to figure out how to prevent wonky gaps like the one at 400 miles. Seems the algorithm jumped too quickly to the conclusion that range was going to be severely impacted.
Any journalist that falls short of this standard, even if it's because of honest mistakes, should not be allowed to conduct reviews.
I think what you're trying to say is that a journalist is supposed to be objective.
> And a scientist is supposed to set out to test theories, not prove them.
A scientist cannot prove a theory true, but he might prove one false. Remember philosopher David Hume's famous remark about this: "No amount of observations of white swans can allow the inference that all swans are white, but the observation of a single black swan is sufficient to refute that conclusion."
So even a completely objective journalist, with no axe to grind, might discover that a claim is false.
> Any journalist that falls short of this standard, even if it's because of honest mistakes, should not be allowed to conduct reviews.
Perhaps in an ideal world. It turns out that Broder has a long history of bias in his reporting, and a rather favorable view of the oil industry and of conventional vehicles over electric ones. Notwithstanding those facts and this episode, I doubt his career is over.
Science is more than "being objective". My "test" vs "prove" business was about devising tests that you expect would be most informative, not just accepting the results.
For instance, I could test if an apple really falls when I drop it. But I'm know it will, and I'm quite certain I will learn nothing from such a test. Therefore, I won't perform it in the first place.
I reckon objectivity is a good start, though.
Also, I did say that a biased journalist should not be allowed to conduct reviews. That indeed prove we don't live in an ideal world. Unless you made a deeper point, and asserted that such journalists actually should be able to operate precisely because of non-ideal aspects of our world?
and that post promises more follow-up to come and links out to some other commentary on the story from other sources.
A Washington Post blog also comments about the dispute as a matter of journalistic practice.
Now, whether the reporter is too dumb to own a non-hybrid electric car may be an issue, but most drivers don't know how a transmission works, or even how to change the oil -- so I don't think a failure to understand charge cycles & regenerative braking is all that damning.
I may be doing wishful thinking here but Car Journalist are could be biased , snarky , they might embellish a bit but they are rarely outright liars.
Tesla has made a public policy statement that they will turn on logging and monitor media test drives -- but they won't be automatically monitoring the private uses of their car. That would be a public relations disaster.
Also, to get to the log, they have to get to the car. It's not as though the log is automatically transmitted to Tesla by wireless.
EDIT: Apparently, with the user's permission, Tesla can log car data remotely. How they go about this isn't clear, but it's apparently an option.
I think when insurance companies, technology and public opinion catch up, it will be an always-on thing. I want that kind of logging if my car gets stolen. I want that kind of logging if I get hit by a cop and he calls his buddies to alter the evidence to make me at fault (this has happened to people).
This kind of log data will only result in lower insurance premiums for everyone and evidence useful in court. The potential savings to society are tremendous.
As long as everyone needs coverage, and accidents remain the same, the insurance company will need to pay out about the same and therefore collect something similar. That means that average premiums will not change across the population.
However you can move costs from lower risk drivers to higher risk drivers. Which may help YOUR premiums.
I should have said "for non-idiot drivers"
Of course it's still an optional policy for now and easy to implement because most insurance companies insist that new vehicles in SA are fitted with a GPS car tracking system anyway, but it's an indication as to where things are heading.
One of the biggest risks with tracker systems is that if you're hijacked the criminals may force you to give up the unit's location if you know it, so it's been made public knowledge that when the tracking companies install one of the units (which is small enough to be hidden in many different places in a car's body) the owner is forbidden from watching it being done. So I have absolutely no idea where the tracker unit in my car is.
Most of those tracking companies then have their own helicopter fleets and armed response teams to initiate the search and recovery of the car and either back up the police when they reach the scene or perform the arrest themselves.
As an aside, the US equivalent is LoJack which operates in pretty much the same way, with the exception that LoJack signals are sent to the police, not to the tracking company's response units.
Unfortunately for the NYT, Tesla Motors was the owner of this particular car.
This isn't what I had in mind, but serves to demonstrate the capabilities. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On-board_diagnostics#Data_logge...
Even if Tesla were to release the log files used to create the graphs, it would still be impossible for them to prove that the logs weren't being altered prior to release.
It seems to me that either the reviewer or Tesla (or both) is playing unfairly here, but it's impossible to say who.
Instead of coming to articles linked here and commenting how clearly the party not currently defending themselves must have been wrong, lets just just ignore this mud flinging contest and move on.
What!? Piffle! There's this powerful tool scientists use called replicability. Just have some other journalists make the same trip as stated by John Broder in the article and compare. 3rd parties can also try to replicate the same result achieved by Broder, using the log information as published by Tesla.
> Instead of coming to articles linked here and commenting how clearly the party not currently defending themselves must have been wrong, lets just just ignore this mud flinging contest and move on.
My money's on Elon Musk. I'm pretty sure his world view is compatible with mine. http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5204109 "Move along" would only be an effective damage control strategy for John Broder.
Think about what you're saying. If the logs were reported dishonestly, someone in Tesla could (and would) make a million dollars by being a "public-spirited" whistleblower.
A secret plan to twist the truth about an automatically-generated computer log would eventually unravel. In modern times, there are few truly secret secrets. I can think of just one exception -- where Jimmy Hoffa is buried. But that example only proves that someone was paid more to keep quiet than he would be paid to speak up.
> It seems to me that either the reviewer or Tesla (or both) is playing unfairly here, but it's impossible to say who.
On the contrary, I think this release shows who was telling the truth. Especially because Broder now has the option to sue Tesla and Musk for defamation of character -- if he dares.
The article explicitly states that the car fell short of range estimates on the final day, but the infographic clearly shows that the car was driven 51 miles on 32 miles of charge.
That detail alone might be excusable as an error, except when you account for all the other variations between the story and the infographic. For example, why did the journalist decide to drive out of Manhattan to a destination that was 73 miles away when the car reported only 79 miles of range left? Why would he claim that Tesla gave him the go-ahead to drive from Norwich to Milford with half the required range remaining. It just doesn't add up.
Let's not. Let's re-run the trip with an actual impartial (neither booster, nor someone out to perform a hatchet job) driver in similar conditions and see how it works out.
I'd wager my house for a donut that Tesla's data is closer to the truth than the vitriol spewed by a guy who's had nothing but bad things to say about electric cars in the past.
Whilst we will never be 100% sure, I think that Tesla have proven their point beyond reasonable doubt.
Logging data published right along with reviews would be a terrific way to add credibility.
Of course, then you need to set up a system to ensure logging data can't be faked, and that the logging data is for the review in question. Something along the lines of the black box in airplanes seems like a possibility.
Part of the popularity is price. Cars in Norway are heavily and progressively taxed on CO2 emission, horse powers and weight. This makes big strong cars extremely expensive, but normal cars are also relatively high taxed. EV's are exempted all those taxes, not just the one on CO2 emission.
Some base prices:
Tesla model S 85kWH: 106 250,- USD
Mercedes Benz E 300 4MATIC (252 horsepower): 138 178,- USD
If you want something with similar horsepower:
Mercedes Benz E 500 4M (408 hp) 225 339,- USD
Audi S6 (414 hp): 236 910,- USD
(1USD to 5.6NOK conversion)
I think outfitting an Audi S6 or MB E class from base to acceptable level of accessories would be much more expensive than with the Tesla Model S
Also, electric cars can use the bus line and skip traffic where available
1. the car showed enough range on the previous night
2. he didn't have any convenient place to hang out while the car was charging
3. there was possibly some misunderstanding between Broder and Tesla support
In the end the obvious happened. He started on the journey with too little battery and it died.
What I don't understand, if he had just a few miles left, why not stop again at some convenient place before running out of energy...
Would have been the perfect time to sit on his hands and hire a PR firm to tell the story. The details may be important in a courtroom, but potential customers just want to feel safe.
Now the story is two guys who don't like each other, screaming at each other.
Great lessons here for office politics. Or the playground.
Liar! You are! No, you are!
Why doesn't another newspaper just try the same experiment?
Maybe the journalist was bias, maybe he got a lemon, maybe he hit on some weird bug, maybe it's true and the car doesn't work well in cold weather.
Arguing over who said what is crap. Just test it and get more data.
The particular facts may be "peculiar," even fabricated, but the overall experience rings true. There are going to be trips that you can do easily today on petrol that would be difficult to do with the state of the art electric car from Tesla.
It's time for Tesla and Better Place (betterplace.com) to join forces.
I think this might go a fair way in explaining why he wrote a fraudulent review of an electric vehicle.
(Yes, I still use Facebook. Keeps me in touch with many "normal" friends... for certain definitions of "normal". ;-)
Since this is a blog and public communication platform, I assume that issues such as the one I point out may be legitimate concerns, in that context.)
Temperature wouldn't be the same but I bet you could get close.
Frankly, if I cannot drive a car at a comfortable temperature the car or the technology behind it is not ready for prime time.
I am still curious what the user is displayed versus what is in all these logs. We also have other stories linked in the original thread of other Tesla S drivers who had range issues as well.
Musk is not doing his brand any service especially when he highlights the user only operating the interior climate control in the low seventies, really you mean we cannot do that with a 100k car and have good range? Really?
Its a matter of expectations. With a 30 to 40k car similar to the Focus EV or Leaf people will expect limitations of this sort, for a 100k car people expect it to just work.
It could be an honest mistake, but it seems more likely the inflated price is meant to solicit comments like yours.
NYT - your move.
"Be careful, journalists love to fake car reviews to display cars they don't like in a bad light"
Car journalism 101. Even journalism 101.
I consider CNN and Fox to be propaganda. Now I'm badly losing faith in the NYT too... Unless they react swiftly and promptly: public apologize to Tesla and firing of that journalist.