When Tesla CEO Elon Musk issued his official response to The New York Times journalist John Broder's negative review of the Tesla Model S (well, a description of his charging and range problems, more than a review), Tesla said it would be the company's last word on the topic.
They can't both be right.
So others spent the day investigating the data. Over at GigaOM, Katie Fehrenbacher learned five lessons from the public spat and our friends at Wired found holes in Tesla's data. Plug In America came down hard on the Times, pointing out that Broder has been anti-EV for quite a while. Now, we have to assume, Broder's just-published-this-evening detailed response will flow like water off a duck's back.
In any case, this deep into the war of words between Broder and Musk, we find some equivocating about minor details even as some facts remain in dispute. For example, Musk wrote that, "the Model S battery never ran out of energy at any time," while Broder writes in tonight's response, "The car's display screen said the car was shutting down, and it did." Or this, where Tesla says Broder charged for 47 minutes and Musk writes, "had Broder not deliberately turned off the Supercharger at 47 mins and actually spent 58 mins Supercharging, it would have been virtually impossible to run out of energy for the remainder of his stated journey." In Broder's response, he says, "According to my notes, I plugged into the Milford Supercharger at 5:45 p.m. and disconnected at 6:43 p.m." They can't both be right.
One odd bit is where Broder tries to explain away his memory about speeds compared to the Tesla data dump: "I cannot account for the discrepancy, nor for a later stretch in Connecticut where I recall driving about 45 m.p.h., but it may be the result of the car being delivered with 19-inch wheels and all-season tires, not the specified 21-inch wheels and summer tires."
Things got personal, too. Musk said he called Broder, "to apologize for any inconvenience that he may have suffered and sought to put my concerns to rest, hoping that he had simply made honest mistakes. That was not the case." Broder says Musk, "not only apologized, he said the charging stations should be 60 miles closer together and offered me a second test drive when additional stations were built."
Yes, we know what the official word is on further responses from Tesla, but we'll be keeping an eye on Musk's twitter feed just in case.