What good is an electric car if it can’t perform, as advertised, in colder weather? The New York Times’ John M. Broder posed this question last week following a failed testdrive of Tesla’s Model S in the Northeast.
In a scathing editorial, Broder takes huge issue with the vehicle’s performance—the Model S promises up to 265 on a single charge (300 under ideal conditions)—saying his car died long before reaching his desired destination. Broder says he even omitted the heater to help enhance the vehicle’s performance, to no avail.
Today, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has responded by saying Broder’s claim are simply not true, and he has the evidence to prove it. Tesla has the right to log vehicle data for press vehicles—the company started doing this after a Top Gear incident—and it is in this data that reveals Broder failed to fully charge the Model S, and that he even took a long detour on his proposed route.
Our own Jon Rettinger went on CNBC to talk about the issue, and whether Broder showed journalistic integrity in his report. Tesla is well aware of the Model S’s capabilities, and Broder was made privy to its limitations before being given the keys. So when Broder claimed the vehicle didn’t perform up to expected standards, there are implications beyond just a bad review, which was reflected in Tesla’s falling stock.
Musk appeared on CNBC as well to reiterate that Broder hadn’t stuck to the game plan—charge the car fully, don’t take detours, don’t speed—in order for the car to perform. The New York Times says Broder did hold up his end of the bargain, and that the car simply didn’t perform well in cold weather.
Musk and Tesla are currently in damage control mode right now, with Musk saying logs will be released to clear things up.