The social media tête-à-tête between The New York Times and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, stemming from a defamatory review by John Broder of the Model S and Tesla's new "Supercharger" network on the East Coast, is heating up in a major way. Just yesterday we summarized the Twitter spat, and now Musk has expanded upon the data recorded during Broder's test drive – adding major credence to the criticism of the NYT writer.

The smoking gun in this case is the information that was captured by the data recorder in Broder's loaned Model S. The data recording function is one that is only activated for consumers when permission has been expressly granted, says Musk, but is always turned on in the case of media vehicles. Thusly equipped, Broder's vehicle was keeping track of speed, charging data, map data and more, presumably without the writer's foreknowledge.

The evidence recorded by the in-car systems happens to contravene Broder's most damning claims of the Tesla, says Musk in his article titled A Most Peculiar Test Drive. First, and perhaps most shockingly, the Model S "State of Charge" log shows that Broder's test car "never ran out of energy at any time." Broder's reporting indicated that the car ran completely out of juice at one point and had to be evacuated on a flatbed truck. The data log also points out that the trip was made at speeds ranging from 65 to 81 miles per hour, where the writer claimed to have set the cruise control at 54 mph, with periods of driving as slowly as 45 mph.

Musk's piece also indicates that Broder – who was ostensibly driving to test the charging network – didn't tell the truth about how long he charged his Model S. At one stop he specifically writes that he charged the car for 58 minutes on his second stop, where the log indicates that he was on the Supercharger for just 47 minutes. Tesla claims that the writer charged his car to 90 percent of capacity on his first stop, 72 percent on his second and just 28 percent on his third – all despite his concerns over just barely having enough energy to complete the respective legs of his trip.

Taken at face value, Tesla's data seems compelling to say the least. With that said, we're no more in a position to attest to the veracity of the logged data than we are the claims of Mr. Broder. At the very least it will be fascinating to see what the NYT does to respond, if anything at all, to this rather serious, high-profile assault on its credibility.

For its part, Tesla is taking Elon's article as the final word on the matter. A company spokesperson released this statement, just this morning: "Please note, no one from Tesla – including Elon – will be providing additional comment on this topic moving forward as we feel the blog speaks for itself. At this time, this post is the company's final statement on the issue." We've collected all of Tesla's charts and graphs from Broder's trip in our attached gallery, so you can have a closer look for yourselves, too.


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  • 384 Comments
      Joe
      • 1 Year Ago
      Safe to say, if you're an auto journo, the Model S is the very last car you want to f*** with, good on Tesla for shutting up a clearly biased journalist.
      purrpullberra
      • 1 Year Ago
      Tesla has provided clear proof that Broder lied at least 7 times in his story AND that he had an agenda about what story he wanted to write regardless of the cars ability to utilize the superchargers. He lied about charge time, speed, route, cabin temp, driving in circles and he lied about the range he had plus he drove past chargers and ignored the car telling him to charge. He didn't use the superchargers for the time he claimed he did. So,his 'test' of the network is also a LIE. This liar had better be fired, the stupid editor too. PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY requires these liars to lose jobs and lose credibility. Elon learned very well from the topgear liars how to foil a biased moron 'reporter'. I laugh out loud at how effed up this Broder's life will become, knock on wood. Couldn't have happened to a more deserving hack! So let's see what sort of back tracking and obfuscation we get from NYT liars. Maybe they'll finally realize they messed up severely.
      waetherman
      • 1 Year Ago
      I have to say, the evidence is pretty damning and I retract what I said yesterday when I said Tesla should just take the lumps. Nobody is helped by a prolonged he-said-she-said battle, but Tesla was right to defend itself. I'm sure the reporter will claim something like "the indicator said the car was fully charged, even if it wasn't" and blame it on the software, blame it on the logging system, blame it on everything but his own driving. But in the end I think there's enough doubt about the original article that it won't affect sales one little bit, and Tesla will come through unscathed.
      JaredN
      • 1 Year Ago
      I was once interviewed at length by a New York Times reporter for a feature article. The reporter made up quotes that he attributed to me. No, I'm not saying that he paraphrased me, or misquoted me, or shaded what I said to put a different spin on what I said. No, he made up quotes out of whole cloth. In my opinion, he had decided what he wanted to story to be before he interviewed me. When I didn't say what he wanted me to say, he simply made up the quotes that matched what he wanted. I've been very critical of Elon Musk in the past and believe he is terribly arrogant. But in this case, I don't doubt for a minute that the New York Times reporter made up his story -- that is simply what reporters do. They have a narrative in mind when they start a story and if the facts don't match their narrative, then they simply make up facts that do.
      wsbfan
      • 1 Year Ago
      Sounds like he was trying to make a name for himself and it backfired big time.
      SloopJohnB
      • 1 Year Ago
      Falsification and outright lies are apparently not as bad as plagiarism. The NYT should consider sanctions if not termination of Mr. Broder. Liar liar, battery on fire, Mr. Broder.
      one09jason
      • 1 Year Ago
      I would encourage everyone to read all of the writing of both Musk/Tesla and Broder before coming to a conclusion. It's easy to think that there is a clear bad guy in this if you only read the ABG articles. Here are some points that I note after reading up on all of this. 1) Broder's original article has a tone that is negative toward Tesla that is separate from its technical criticism (running out of power). For example, in the middle of the article, Broder breaks from his account of his trip to take the time to detail the loan given to Tesla by the Department of Energy, saying that Secretary Chu "proudly announced a $465 million loan to Tesla". Then, he leaves it at that. Broder is clearly setting you up for the conclusion that this was wasted money when you get to the end of his article and learn that the Tesla was towed away on a flatbed truck. Broder also writes: "Buicks and 18-wheelers flew past, their drivers staring at the nail-polish-red wondercar with California dealer plates." The only way to read this comment is that he was embarrassed to be driving the car, and you probably will be too. Broder clearly backpedals from this negative tone in his rebuttal. 2) Tesla is not being entirely honest either. It's blog rebuttal is meant to refute Broder's claims with data. But they also take liberties with this data, saying, for example: "Broder in fact drove at speeds from 65 mph to 81 mph for a majority of the trip". Why say "speeds from 65 mph to 81", when the data show that the average highway driving speed was something like low 60s. While technically accurate, this is a manipulative statement meant to give the impression that Broder was driving much faster than he said he was. Tesla say that Broder did not "limp along at about 45 mph". True, but the data show that he drove an average of something like 52 or 53 mph for that period. Broder exaggerated, but he did drive markedly slow for that period in an effort to conserve battery. Tesla say the car was never completely uncharged. Perhaps, but at what charge level does the car become inoperable and, for example, make the parking brake unusable? Again, Tesla's statement may be technically correct, but is misleading. I think the most serious accusation that Tesla makes is that Broder "drove in circles" in a parking lot for 5 minutes at the end of his drive in order to drain the battery. If confirmed, it would show that Broder's intent was to run out of charge and be towed for the sake of the story. However, the speed log alone does not prove that, it is merely suggestive. Does Tesla have other evidence that he "drove in circles" such as a gps data? Why not show that as well Tesla? FYI, I personally am a big Telsa fan, and would love to have a model S. However some of the realities of EV driving are: tedious roadside charging and loss of performance in cold weather. Tesla should be more publicly upfront about these limitations, rather than only discussing them as a defense.
        desinerd1
        • 1 Year Ago
        @one09jason
        The chart below clearly says "Averaged 60mph" http://www.teslamotors.com/sites/default/files/blog_images/speeddistance0.jpg
        Grendal
        • 1 Year Ago
        @one09jason
        I am also a big Tesla aficionado. I agree with almost everything you said. I don't think Broder was conspiratorily lying. I think he wanted to make a dramatic article exposing range anxiety and he fudged his number to make that happen. He created a story where there was none to make himself look good. He got caught. The driving in circles is indicative of his intentions and not a smoking gun. It is enough to show his intent and enough to let the NYT know that was what he did.
        Gordon Chen
        • 1 Year Ago
        @one09jason
        Broder has a history of being anti-EV. That's something that should be taken into account.
          macutty
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Gordon Chen
          And Musk has a history of trying to discredit critics regardless of the validity of their criticism resorting to personal and ad hominem attacks when facts arent available to refute such criticism.
          Grendal
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Gordon Chen
          And while true that Musk discredits critics, he had clear justification to call this reporter out on what he did. He also had clear reason to call out Top Gear for their antics also.
          Marcopolo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Gordon Chen
          @ Gordon Chen Broder has a history of being anti-EV, Really ? It because he has a history of being supportive, that Tesla chose him to conduct the road trip.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        Cayman
        • 1 Year Ago
        He\'s also taken on much smaller advasaries than the NYT and lost. Just saying...
        Joe
        • 1 Year Ago
        Everyone is human, size of the adversary doesn't matter, we win some we lose others.
      purrpullberra
      • 1 Year Ago
      Can anyone explain away all of the lies in the story Or Explain how you 'test the superchargers' by lying about the amount of time spent at the charger. Anyone? This idiot wasn't smart enough to outwit facts.
      Klep
      • 1 Year Ago
      Pwned by data.
      John Hansen
      • 1 Year Ago
      This reminds me of one time when I ran out of gas when I was 17. The gauge said empty but I tried my luck and failed. Either ICEs weren't ready for prime time, or I was a bonehead for ignoring my gas gauge.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @John Hansen
        [blocked]
          John Hansen
          • 1 Year Ago
          I disagree. Horses stop working if you don't feed them for a couple weeks. They're not ready for prime time.
      DC Mike
      • 1 Year Ago
      Libel suit filed by Tesla in 3... 2...
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @DC Mike
        No, they won't do that. They would still lose. Broder could say the speedometer read-out and the recorded speed don't match.
          Danrar
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          To which if the Tesla measures once and displays everywhere they can kill that argument by demonstrating that it's not possible for the numbers to not match.
          MTN RANGER
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          Except that this excuse can be easily verified.
          DC Mike
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          They took, arguably, the most popular car show in the world to court over false and disingenuous claims... and won. It's not like there's no precedence.
          Cayman
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          They lost to Top Gear, multiple times.
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