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Range Anxiety Overlooks Electric Car Sweet Spot | Earthtechling

There’s a famous clip from the sitcom Seinfeld, where Kramer takes a car out for a test drive and—with a nervous but eventually supportive salesman in the passenger seat—sees just how far he can drive with the needle dipping well below “E” on the fuel gauge. Together they stared the gas tank’s range (and the potential of the engine stalling on the highway) squarely in the face, braving the prospect of getting stranded by the roadside.

In the past two weeks, a related but very different saga has played out in the world of electric vehicles. On February 8, the New York Times published the article “Stalled Out on Tesla’s Electric Highway.” Automotive writer John Broder set out in a Tesla Model S—with an EPA-rated range of 265 miles and an unofficial range of 300 miles or more—with the intention of driving from Washington, D.C. to Boston, using Tesla’s network of East Coast Superchargers along the way.

Broder’s trip was plagued by ever-present range anxiety, a constant worry that he’d run out of charge. As it turned out, the trip ended on a dramatic note—with Broder’s Tesla allegedly dying and getting taken on the back of a flatbed tow truck to the Milford, CT Supercharger station. That proved to be just the tip of the iceberg.

image via Telsa

Tesla CEO Elon Musk almost immediately took to social media to cry foul. On February 12, Broder published a defense of his initial article on the Times’ automotive blog. One day later, Musk published his own rebuttal on the Tesla blog, with a scathing and seemingly damning refutation of Broder’s claims, based on what Musk claimed were data logs from the Model S Broder drove. Yet another day later, Broder responded to those criticisms. Finally, two days ago, the Times’ public editor—following a detailed investigation in light of the firestorm that blew up surrounding the review—noted “problems with precision and judgment” in Broder’s Model S and Supercharger network review. Consider it a partial vindication for Tesla.



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