Stalled on the E.V. Highway

Nothing like a juicy online spat – Summary so far: Tesla (the electric car company) lends a handsome Model S sedan to a NYT journalist, John Broder, to review their fast charging network on the East Coast. Journalist runs out of power and brutally pans the car and electric vehicles in general, in his article (Original article: http://goo.gl/LfmnJ)

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, goes ballistic on Twitter and in a blog post refuting many of Broder’s claims, and calling into claim his integrity. Specific points in the article are refuted with vehicle data logs and GPS data, which shows the journalist speeding, removing the charger from the car sooner than he had claimed, and driving around in circles in a car park, amongst other things. It’s the equivalent of a flying drop kick to the face. Also reveals Broder has a history of writing against electric vehicles. (Musk’s response: http://goo.gl/dXDxq)

Broder, denies accusations and defers to his flakey credentials and job title to protect himself, otherwise known as grasping at straws to salvage his reputation. Also blames speed discrepancy on ‘wheel and tire size’, evidently not realizing GPS was invented in 1994. Also continues to stick by his original story, and blame front desk Tesla staff for not knowing how much charge to put into the car (Broder’s rebuttal here: http://goo.gl/Cr5jt). 

My thoughts:

Interestingly, the Tesla S, as has been established by hundreds of test drives and reviews by just about every else in the world, is an exceptional car which delivers as promised. Along comes an anti-EV writer who conveniently experiences an abnormal result, quite possibly as a result of his own actions. I can understand he has his own views, but to put at risk his own journalistic (otherwise known as truth-telling) credentials for the sake of a few minutes of fame? He states that he was just following instructions to the tee, but pure common sense would dictate he should not have done what he did during the test drive. 

Additionally, he’s come up against the awe-inspiring Elon Musk, who is generally regarded as one of the most ruthless and resourceful entrepreneurial geniuses to date, also running SpaceX in his spare time (Musk was also the founder of Paypal). Musk is aiming to revolutionize every industry he enters and he doesn’t take knocks against his vehicles lightly – he launched a lawsuit against Top Gear for merely suggesting far less than Broder stated. Thankfully, the Tesla is loaded to the gills with monitoring equipment, which provide delightful graphs and information about the drive as it happened, some of it directly controverting what Broder has claimed.

I suspect that Broder had no idea the vehicle was being logged during the drive – he’s not stupid, but he’s clearly stuck in an era past. The bigger picture is, alternative-energy cars are here to stay – some are currently rough around the edges and there’s still much work to be done. We know that oil-companies aren’t going to go down without a fight. 

But make no mistake, as much as I love them, the internal combustion engine will be gone sooner rather than later. To deny that is just silly. 

Stalled on the E.V. Highway

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