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Tesla releases damning logs from New York Times test-drive (UPDATED)

For those who missed the first two acts of the Tesla-New York Times saga, allow me to summarize quickly: First, Tesla CEO Elon Musk wrote on Twitter that a NYT review of the Model S and Tesla Supercharger network on the East Coast by John M. Broder was “fake” and that he had the logs to prove it. Then Broder responded with a long defense of his original article, putting the ball back on Tesla’s side of the court. We’re now firmly in the third act…

Tesla has just released its logs from the Model S electric sedan that it had lent the NYT for the review along with analysis explaining what the graphs mean and how they match up with the NYT’s claims. Ever since the controversy with Top Gear in the UK, Tesla has been turning on the logging feature on all vehicles that are loaned to the media for review (but if you’re a Tesla owner, don’t worry, they ask for permission to do that).

© Tesla

So what are the logs showing? In my opinion they’re pretty convincing. First, here’s how Tesla summarizes the key facts (sorry it’s long, but I don’t want to cut out anything important):

As the State of Charge log shows, the Model S battery never ran out of energy at any time, including when Broder called the flatbed truck.
The final leg of his trip was 61 miles and yet he disconnected the charge cable when the range display stated 32 miles. He did so expressly against the advice of Tesla personnel and in obvious violation of common sense.
In his article, Broder claims that “the car fell short of its projected range on the final leg.” Then he bizarrely states that the screen showed “Est. remaining range: 32 miles” and the car traveled “51 miles,” contradicting his own statement (see images below). The car actually did an admirable job exceeding its projected range. Had he not insisted on doing a nonstop 61-mile trip while staring at a screen that estimated half that range, all would have been well. He constructed a no-win scenario for any vehicle, electric or gasoline.
On that leg, he drove right past a public charge station while the car repeatedly warned him that it was very low on range.
Cruise control was never set to 54 mph as claimed in the article, nor did he limp along at 45 mph. Broder in fact drove at speeds from 65 mph to 81 mph for a majority of the trip and at an average cabin temperature setting of 72 F.
At the point in time that he claims to have turned the temperature down, he in fact turned the temperature up to 74 F.
The charge time on his second stop was 47 mins, going from -5 miles (reserve power) to 209 miles of Ideal or 185 miles of EPA Rated Range, not 58 mins as stated in the graphic attached to his article. Had Broder not deliberately turned off the Supercharger at 47 mins and actually spent 58 mins Supercharging, it would have been virtually impossible to run out of energy for the remainder of his stated journey.
For his first recharge, he charged the car to 90%. During the second Supercharge, despite almost running out of energy on the prior leg, he deliberately stopped charging at 72%. On the third leg, where he claimed the car ran out of energy, he stopped charging at 28%. Despite narrowly making each leg, he charged less and less each time. Why would anyone do that?
The above helps explain a unique peculiarity at the end of the second leg of Broder’s trip. When he first reached our Milford, Connecticut Supercharger, having driven the car hard and after taking an unplanned detour through downtown Manhattan to give his brother a ride, the display said “0 miles remaining.” Instead of plugging in the car, he drove in circles for over half a mile in a tiny, 100-space parking lot. When the Model S valiantly refused to die, he eventually plugged it in. On the later legs, it is clear Broder was determined not to be foiled again.

Tesla further implies that Broder was biased against electric cars based on a piece that her wrote for the NYT a year earlier, where he writes: “Yet the state of the electric car is dismal, the victim of hyped expectations, technological flops, high costs and a hostile political climate.” Did Broder change the facts when they didn’t conform to his expectations? Here’s what the logs show:

© Tesla

The first log shows the difference between the speeds in the NYT piece and the speeds at which the car actually went, making a difference in expected range (same as with a gasoline car).

© Tesla

The second graph shows that the car’s battery was nowhere near fully charged, especially at the last two stops, contrary to what was claimed.



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