In the last week, we have read and written many thousands of words about the Tesla Model S road trip that The New York Times writer John Broder could not accomplish. Thanks to a critical tweet by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, a digital firestorm erupted about the electric vehicle test drive (if you need a refresher, please read these posts in order: one, two, three and four). In all those passionate paragraphs, nothing stood out quite like this little understatement: "There is a learning curve to taking long road trips in an EV, especially in the cold."
"There is a learning curve to taking long road trips in an EV, especially in the cold."
That's from an open letter to Broder written by Peter over at Electric Road Trips. Peter recently drove his own Model S almost 5,000 miles from Portland, OR to New York City. Despite the reality that most EVs aren't particularly suited for long drives, the truth is that it can be done, and a group of Model S owners set out to prove that fact once again this weekend.
We'll spoil the story now: all the drivers made it. From a report by Xander over at Strassenversion, a small number of Model S owners (something like six, but at times there were over a dozen vehicles together) spent Saturday and Sunday recreating the east coast drive that Broder attempted and failed. In his honor, as it were, they came up with the term Brodering – "running out of power due to human error, or generally dropping the ball when dealing with electric cars" – along the way.
Still, despite the drivers being well in tune with their EVs, the drive wasn't 100-percent easy. One Model S plugged into a Supercharger just stopped charging and wouldn't fill up past 180 miles of range (the target at that point was 270). Strassenversion reports that two special firmware updates (delaying the driver by an hour) were required to set things right.
Two special firmware updates (delaying one driver by an hour) were required to set things right.
Late last night, the official Tesla Road Trip group tweeted, "The trip was a success and everyone has diverted to their homes" (see the official twitter feed here). Thom Landon tweeted, "This is an amazing show of solidarity. Hopefully an antidote to the crummy he said/she said coverage of NYT." Two short videos of the trip are available below. We expect more to surface soon.
In other Tesla/The New York Times spat news, the Atlantic Wire threw some cold water on CNN's recreation of Broder's drive, saying it was done in "a Tesla-controlled PR bubble. Yes, it proves the car can do the coastal trek. But it doesn't mean that Broder did everything in his power to sabotage the trip. Nor does it signal much for consumers. Some people spending $100,000 on a car might not want to drive it up the coast without going above 65 miles per hour or, on a particularly bitter day, turning the heat up." The Oroville Mercury-Register talked to some experts who agreed that Musk was well within his rights – and was smart – to respond to Broder's article. And, let's admit, Musk certainly has gotten a lot of mileage out of 140 characters. Too bad you can't power a car on tweets.