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Tesla Motors Model S Review: NYTimes Reviewer John Broder Responds to ‘Fake’ Review Allegations by Elon Musk

New York Times reporter John Broder responds to Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk’s data dump, refusing to back down and vigorously defending his negative review of the Tesla Model S electric car last week.

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Broder said the Model S he drove ran out of charge on the side of the road, despite his best attempts to keep it moving.

“The displayed range never reached the number of miles remaining to Milford, and as I limped along at about 45 miles per hour I saw increasingly dire dashboard warnings to recharge immediately,” Broder wrote in his original review.

“‘Car is shutting down,’ the computer informed me. I was able to coast down an exit ramp in Branford, Conn., before the car made good on its threat.”

Musk responded by releasing the car’s data logs. Tesla records information from the onboard computer in vehicles out for review, and the data looked very different from Broder’s account.

“When I first heard about what could at best be described as irregularities in Broder’s behavior during the test drive, I called 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,” wrote Musk in a blog post accompanying the data. “When the facts didn’t suit his opinion, he simply changed the facts.”

Now Broder has responded to Musk’s allegations. Some of his explanations seem more than plausible, but others come off as excuses. He blames many of his problems on poor advice from Tesla reps.

“About three hours into the trip, I placed the first of about a dozen calls to Tesla personnel expressing concern about the car’s declining range and asking how to reach the Supercharger station in Milford, Conn. I was given battery-conservation advice at that time (turn off the cruise control; alternately slow down and speed up to take advantage of regenerative braking) that was later contradicted by other Tesla personnel,” Broder writes.

“It was also Tesla that told me that an hour of charging (at a lower power level) at a public utility in Norwich, Conn., would give me adequate range to reach the Supercharger 61 miles away, even though the car’s range estimator read 32 miles – because, again, I was told that moderate-speed driving would “restore” the battery power lost overnight. That also proved overly optimistic, as I ran out of power about 14 miles shy of the Milford Supercharger and about five miles from the public charging station in East Haven that I was trying to reach.”
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