Lessons Learned from the Tesla Motors-New York Times Dustup

Mark Twain popularized the phrase "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." We might well add vehicle logs and satellite data to that statement.

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Bloomberg / Getty Images

Elon Musk, chairman and chief executive officer of Tesla Motors Inc., speaks in front of a Tesla Model S electric car on day two of the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010.

The Tesla Motors-New York Times story reminds us of two things: One, if you tell someone you just took a road trip through the Green Mountains of Vermont and your GPS data indicates you were in fact cruising along Georgia’s Gold Coast, well, you’re probably going to lose the confidence vote. And two, that sometimes what a bunch of incriminating data seems to be indicating may not be what it’s indicating at all. Mark Twain popularized the phrase “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics” in his Chapters from My Autobiography — we might well add vehicle logs and satellite data to that statement.

Let’s review: On Feb. 8, the Times published critic John Broder’s unflattering reaction to Tesla’s Model S sedan based on an overnight test-drive up Interstate 95 along the Eastern Seaboard. Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk was nonplussed, provocatively tweeting a few days later that the article was “fake” and alleging that the vehicle logs told the “true story,” namely that Broder “didn’t actually charge to max & took a long detour.” Broder batted back those allegations in another Times piece, after which the world waited for Musk to make good on his vehicle logs claim.

And so he did, producing a combative, retaliatory piece on Feb. 13, comparing the Model S’s GPS and performance logs with Broder’s claims in the review, and outlining what Musk viewed as several glaring contradictions — contradictions that he read as attempts by Broder, whom he alleges has an axe to grind with electric vehicles, to subvert the car (“When the facts didn’t suit his opinion, he simply changed the facts,” wrote Musk, who sought to drive his point home by self-servingly adding “the Model S was declared to be the best new car in the world by the most discerning authorities in the automotive industry”). At this point, do-or-die electric car buffs had their long knives and sharpening stones out.

By cherry-picking data to make his point, Musk wasn’t being entirely fair to Broder, who after all had written a newspaper-style review and not a rigorous work of scholarship. In my experience, while a review isn’t necessarily the gospel truth, most reviewers aren’t trying to mislead or fabricate information. (I can think of a few well-known exceptions, but on balance, I’ve found this to be true.) Most of us read blogs, newspapers and magazines for their accessibility, not their exhaustive qualifying statements and voluminous footnotes.

So when Musk introduced reams of vehicle data to the fray, he forced a different sort of conversation to occur, a conversation that at first appeared to favor the guy trotting out the detailed charts and illustrations with captions and little accusatory arrows. Hard data versus some writer’s allegedly prejudiced claims? Data wins! Even I was initially concerned about the apparent disparities, writing in my summary of the back-and-forth that “the most alarming point in Musk’s rundown is probably his last, where he surmises Broder intentionally attempted to sabotage the vehicle’s range by driving in circles.” And yet it’s with this very point that it turns out Musk undermines his own underlying data-will-win-out argument.

Tesla’s GPS logs of the trip showed the Model S at one point being driven in circles off a nearly-dead battery in the parking lot of a Supercharger station in Milford, Connecticut. According to Musk, “Instead of plugging in the car, [Broder] drove in circles for over half a mile in a tiny, 100-space parking lot.” Clear evidence of attempted sabotage, right? Musk thought as much and cited the logs as proof.

Not so fast: Broder responded to Tesla’s data release in a third piece on Feb. 14 titled “That Tesla Data: What It Says and What It Doesn’t.” Here’s his explanation for that half-a-mile jaunt:

I drove around the Milford service plaza in the dark looking for the Supercharger, which is not prominently marked. I was not trying to drain the battery. (It was already on reserve power.) As soon as I found the Supercharger, I plugged the car in.

So much for open and shut books. In his post, Musk didn’t explain the event happened at night, nor do most readers have the faintest idea what it’s like to go hunting for one of Tesla’s new Supercharger hookups in the dark. And Broder’s explanation resonates with me: As a recent first-time diesel owner, I’ve probably driven at least as far around various truck stops looking for proper-sized diesel pumps (the nozzles, that is) when I travel between Michigan and Iowa or Minnesota.

Broder’s claim about driving around in the dark is of course still just that — a claim — but that’s also the point. Tesla’s data on the matter isn’t irrefutable evidence of foul play. Musk isn’t a mind-reader, and on balance, he comes off looking a little foolish, extrapolating “proof” that doesn’t really exist. What’s more, if he’d really been interested in getting to the bottom of these “disparities,” he could have picked up the phone and asked Broder for clarification instead of dragging the data into the court of public opinion. In short, Musk should have been much more conservative in his analysis of the vehicle logs — he certainly should have curtailed his insinuations about Broder’s integrity.

We’re increasingly surveilled by the technology we use, be it our cars, smartphones, tablets, desktop computers, watches, pens, refrigerators, video game consoles — any so-called “smart” appliance with which we interact and for which there’s detailed evidence of that interaction. Privacy issues notwithstanding, the upside is a kind of elevated accountability — a silent reminder, if you will, that there’s now an electronic trail framing our actions. Sloppy accounting could (and increasingly will) come back to bite us.

But data explained by someone with a megaphone and an agenda — Tesla Motors exists to sell cars and promote itself, after all — is liable to be manipulated to serve that agenda. The cautionary reminder is that data still requires interpretation; it doesn’t speak for itself.

65 comments
RudolfMonk
RudolfMonk

I fully support Elon Musk and his reply. The Model S is the basis for the car of the future. We all must promote EV technology in the face of the fossil fuel wolves, as they attempt to murder cars like the Model S. Just as they did with the EV1 and other technologies, as far back as the days of prohibition and the death of Rudolf Diesel, who's engine was designed to run on peanut oil.

armchair-car-enthusiast
armchair-car-enthusiast

I understand Musk's point of view as a founder and CEO of Tesla - Model S was his brainchild, Tesla was his crown jewel, and his personal fortunate depends on the well-being of both the brand and the model. 

I also understand Mr. Broder's point of view as a journalist - his task is to deliver a good read for his audience, and not writing a technical report. 

I find Mr Musk to be guilty of defending the Model S so impulsively that he didn't both to confirm his accusations. Whether Mr. Broder intentionally doomed the Model S to failure is anyone's guess. My money's on Mr. Broder's carelessness. 

On the other hand, Mr. Broder's review is also questionable - it was obvious that he didn't understand some basic precautions of operating the Model S, nor documented the key advice from some named Tesla personnel in order to refute Mr. Musk's accusations. Why didn't he simply point out that his actions were the direct consequences of following the suggestions of Tesla tech support?

armchair-car-enthusiast.blogspot.com

Valdeck
Valdeck

1. Matt and Broder's emphasis on complaint and emotional exasperation of "driving around in the dark" searching for the Supercharger has nothing to do with impirical data on car's good or bad performance. 2. Broder was clearly either not properly pre-trained or technically savvy enough for this exercise. 3. Has he reported on the presence or absence of a battery protector light which is designed to come on when the battery power falls below the minimum required. 28% seem awfully low. 4. To not wait until the battery charge is restored to at least 90% reveals Broder confession of ignorance of solar photovoltaics electrical power technology.. 5. Call home 770-573-9638 or cell 404-234-7410 to make positive things happen to assist the process whereas I am a qualified interdisciplinary mechanical engineer (certified) and senior training and education development project manager although I have held  the managing director/CEO title 8 years, the Turnaround Management Committee tile 4-5 years for a total of 30 years of experience. 6. Began my first experience with solar photovoltaics electrical power technology systems architecture+design, assembly and test, installation, maintenance, and use in order for my mom to power her electric light bulbs and highly-energy efficient Toshiba television in rural Jamaica, West Indies in 1976, included ARCO solar nodules, fuel cells, ARCO battery protector for 9 solar modules, as well as a Westinghouse 12VDC-to-110VAC Inverter. 7. Lesson: The solar car driver's self-training is essential as it is for every other fueled vehicle.

Valdeck
Valdeck

Matt and Broder's emphasis on complaint and emotional exasperation of "driving around in the dark" searching for the Supercharger has nothing to do with impirical data on car's good or bad performance. 2. Broder was clearly not technically savy enough for this exercise.

JackB125
JackB125

The number of errors that Mr. Broder made and the entire tone of the article are just too much to attribute to carelessness.

Also, the timing of the article should be considered as well.  Tesla (TSLA), one of the most highly shorted stocks on the NASDAQ, had posted a new all time high in the trading session just prior to the article's publication.  Very big money was in play, lots of margin calls were going out. This article very successfully caused a 7.5% drop in the stock price. I strongly suspect that their is an SEC investigation underway.

SteveND
SteveND

Matt, there is something else, I think you need to correct in this piece.

You run down the sequence of events.  After recounting Musk's publishing of his blog based on the data from the car you write,  "At this point, do-or-die electric car buffs had their long knives and sharpening stones out."

Was it simply do-or-die electric car buffs who saw it best that Broder's piece not stand without comment?

What about Margaret Sullivan, the New York Times public editor.  Sullivan spent 5 days interviewing all the key players (including Musk and Broder).  In her published findings on the piece she openly acknowledged that her bias going in was to simply find a journalist more credible.  Yet in the end Sullivan concluded, "A little red notebook in the front seat is no match for digitally recorded driving logs."  Her fundamental conclusion was that Broder's work had errors in precision and judgement.

Who spent more time investigating this whole incident than Margaret Sullivan?

Matt, if you are open to constructive criticism, please do not leave your article as is with the implication that the data was a winner to "do-or-die electric car buffs," ignoring the fact that the New York Times Public Editor decided that Broder's story in her paper was inconclusive due to the inaccuracies revealed by the data.

SteveND
SteveND

Matt, yes and no.

I think your point is fair that Musk's assertion of trying to run out the battery by driving in circles is conjecture, and his blog would have been stronger without that point.

However your conclusion that this "undermines his own underlying data-will-win-out argument," is not logical.  One human error of overreaching what the data can say does not invalidate the data itself.  Suggesting so in a publication like Time is damaging to Musk and Tesla.

There were many other points in Musk's blog based on the data that were not conjecture, but rather indicative that Broder's original piece story rather than to report an experience, or review a car.

The one example I find most clear:  data, cabin temperature averaged 72 degrees, with two occasions (each roughly 50 minutes) where the temperature hit lows, one at 64, one at 66.  Broder's story, "my feet were freezing" and "my knuckles were turning white."  In good faith, can anyone not see that the data shows Broder's story misrepresented his experience.  In other words, in good faith, can you say 50 minutes in 64 degrees leaves your feet freezing and knuckles white?  No, not even with the tremendous winds he must have faced in the cabin, you know those chilling 0 mph winds on a 64 degree day.

Please consider rewriting your story as I trust the harm it does to Tesla was not intentional.

cjyostcpa
cjyostcpa

The "Times" huh?  Looks like you guys avoided a major law-suit and took it in the britches.  Just be honest about the fact that your company was fishing for advertising revenue from businesses supported by big oil and traditional car manufacturers.  Acknowledge your participation in cronie-capitalism.

frahmr65
frahmr65

I cannot believe all of the attention this story has gotten!  While I think that Elon's response should have been more diplomatic and less defensive (a simple explanation that the vehicle was not charged to 100% and that we are going to evaluate the planned density of superchargers in colder climates would have sufficed), what kind of idiot drives a car normally when they are cutting the range of a car close, regardless of the fuel source?  Let's just blame them both and get onto some different news. . .

ClaudioCabete
ClaudioCabete

why is this replay always getting deleted?

TammyByrd 5ptsjust now

he New York Times article was clearly biased, and so is this one. Time just lost a subscriber !

TammyByrd
TammyByrd

The New York Times article was clearly biased, and so is this one. Time just lost a subscriber !

RobinMiller
RobinMiller

To me, this is like the negotiations between millionaire baseball players and multi-millionaire team owners: totally irrelevant to me since I live happily on Social Security (and some side income as a freelance writer) in a single-wide Florida mobile home. My car is a 1994 Jeep Cherokee. My wife has a 2003 Hyundai Elantra. I'm thinking about buying a newer car to replace my Jeep, which is pretty near the end of its life, and even maybe dumping my wife's car, too, and getting a Tesla Model S.

No, I'm kidding. Maybe a Kia Soul. Or, since the Hyundai runs fine and doesn't have much mileage on it, maybe replacing my 94 Cherokee withe a somewhat newer one. 

The millionaires live in  one country. I live in another one. Not complaining, just laughing at this Tesla nonsense.


mark.helsinki
mark.helsinki

I've followed this story in detail and I think that Broder clearly already had his misgivings about the tech and set out to try to give those misgivings more weight than they actually deserved. He thought that 'stupid' drivers would struggle to follow the different instructions to maintain an EV. He thought that 'stupid' drivers would choose not to plug in overnight. He thought 'stupid' drivers would only put just enough charge in to get to a destination. He thought 'stupid' drivers would ignore dashboard warnings. He thought 'stupid' drivers would not be able to find a charging station when cutting it really fine on the 'juice'. He thought stupid drivers would not want to compromise on speed or cabin temp. I think he went into the review with these misgivings paramount in his mind and so he recreated this 'real world' scenario. But it really was no suprise that the only thing he proved was that he played the role of 'stupid' driver to perfection. 

The data logs show he turned the cabin temp down twice, but that the car was never 'cold', but probably it was 'colder', and it is temp changes that we are sensitive to. I'm assuming that because it happened for a few moments each time, he felt justified to 'stretch' that suggest he had white knuckles the whole way. Same with the speed. It appears there were times when he was driving slower and perhaps he drove at 45 for a short period just to see how it affected the range predictions, and then 'stretched' that fact to give the impression that this was actually his normal driving mode, when it wasn't. My point is that there was enough 'truth' in his statements for him to defend his integrity. But it clearly wasn't the whole truth and given the overall impact of the story, one has to see it rather as a deception, because the conclusions drawn from that partial truth put the car in a very bad light, when in fact, the car was not at fault. 

Add up the stretching of the truth, the 'stupid' driver mode, and the fact that the title wanted to hit at the whole idea of the EV conquering 'highway' driving, then I would say the article was a hatchet job. Broder has said in the past that EV tech is overhyped, and that is probably true. But he didn't give Tesla a fair shake at the stick. In fact, given the reputation of NYT and the subsequent financial damage to the company's stock standing and reservations, you have to say that Broder's recklessness appears under the circumstances as quite malicious. The fact that NYT glossed over this, even describing Tesla as being damaging and misleading, but saving the milder remonstrations of 'imprecise' and 'poor judgment' for Broder was very disappointing. But NYT were protecting their own editors and reputation, and there was just enough petulance in Elon's response to give them room to manoevre on that. But it was a manoevre, and truth and integrity suffered because of it.

marshgre
marshgre

I can't believe the mileage irresponsible "reporting" is getting from this. Broder was caught in a half truth if not an outright lie. Do you (the writer) claim that the data logs that show the car was charged less and less with each stop on the trip were falsified?

Are you defending Broaders inability to read a 35 page picture book? (Teslas manual, good read available as a PDF on Teslamotors.com look at pages 16 and 25 particularly)

Or are you defending Broders poor number sense - (let's see I need to drive 60 miles the meter on the dash tells me I have enough energy to go 32 miles... 32 is bigger than 60 right?)

Face it Broder demonstrated poor judgement and an irresponsible attude that

ToddRLockwood
ToddRLockwood

Matt, I agree that Elon Musk's response was a bit over the top and unnecessary given the story told by the data logs. Broder's casual approach to charging is what got him into trouble, as evidenced by CNN, CNBC, and others who have since navigated the same route effortlessly and with range to spare. The important thing to remember is that the Model S was not at fault. The car behaved exactly as it was designed to. Had Broder simply charged the car to capacity, he would have been fine. Instead, he attempted to give the car exactly enough charge to get to the next stop, plus a little buffer. Unfortunately, he didn't have enough experience with the car to knowledgeably take such an approach, especially given the winter conditions. One has to wonder if he would have been so haphazard about charging if this was his own car.


The outcome might also have been different if Tesla had installed three Supercharger locations along the Washington-Boston corridor instead of just two. The plans for the Supercharger network call for 150 mile spacing, not the 200 mile spacing currently on this route. The closer spacing allows for shorter stops because the Model S charges more quickly during the first half of its charging cycle.

When Tesla's U.S. Supercharger network is completed in 2015, long distance trips will be completely uneventful. The Model S itself is already up to the task. It's just a matter of growing the Supercharger network.

wulfher
wulfher

If someone left for a long road trip in an ICE vehicle without sufficient gasoline and stalled on the side of the road, then that someone either deliberately planned to get stranded or is a fool. With an electric vehicle the only difference is that it runs on electrons, the fool (or possibly lier) is the same.

wytworm
wytworm

I was just at the Milford Service Station and it is very clear where the multiple charging stations are. In addition, it happens to be exactly where google maps says they are. In addition to that, it is a tiny area and it is lit at night. None of this story holds water in my opinion. 

jasonmagnani
jasonmagnani

Weak argument.  The NYT article was biased, and so is this one.

DanielFichana
DanielFichana

As a model S owners, in Broder's article there were some huge red flags. Not being an armchair engineer, but if you do not charge in range mode, well you have to be blind. Its literally right on the screen. If you can unlock an iphone, you can change it to range mode.

I don't get why he only partially charged in milford too, it doesn't make sense.

Also he made some claims that shows a complete lack of knowledge about the car. The rims causing a huge speed discrepancy- not going to happen.

Then the cruise control going wacko with speed. That doesn't happen in this EV because it applies regen the second it sees its 1 mph over its cruise control speed.

I also didnt like that he did not take any responsibility for his actions- a normal driver would have used the on board computer to find a charging location instead of calling Tesla.

Theres too many cliche mistakes that just dont fly. One or two sure, but he made every possible mistake

evlover
evlover

As we learned from 9/11, those terrorists did not care about how to land safely because their intention was to broder the planes.

If you want to broder an EV, you should not care about charging the car correctly.

Brodering an airplane or an EV should not be viewed just as journalism.

Again, "to broder" should be viewed as a deviant, sociopath, aberrant behavior that has no place in NYT. 


khahong27
khahong27

Matt, I was trying to ignore your article; however, while I consider taking side to save your friend face is acceptable, your responses to other people comments make me think you are second to Broder.

ScottRaflo
ScottRaflo

Don't forget to mention that Tesla only turns on Data Logging in vehicles they give to the press... JUST FOR THIS REASON.  It is not turned on in consumer cars without expressed permission by the owners.


Logic_Wins
Logic_Wins

Logical_Thinker presents the only relevant fact of the entire debacle.  Border did not "fill up" the energy source!  Then he claimed that the system that was in place was insufficient.  If he would have filled the battery at each location he could have had a warm cabin temperature, driven with the flow of traffic, probably even done a dew donuts here and there.  I also think that a greater portion of readers look to newspapers and magazine articles for their facts. I know very few people who go in search of Academic Articles to find reviews of a car.  Modern people hit the blogs and read "your" reviews and take the information given as Fact.  It was the duty of John Border to report the facts, not his artistic impression of what happened.

Peter213
Peter213

Matt, I am very disappointed that you and Time would write such a blatantly inaccurate article focusing on something that has already been indisputably proved to be yet another Broder lie. Broder said he had to drive in circles in the dark looking for the charger but a simple video proves that the Milford parking lot he refers to is actually brightly lit and the Superchargers are virtually impossible to miss the first time past let alone the, at least, 6 times he drove right past them. This video has been viewed over 12,000 times and it is clear to the vast majority who have seen it that Broder was deliberately trying to flatline the car exactly as Musk suggested. Please, next time, do a bit of research. Here is the video. Please take a look... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3fO_OHpyYw&feature=youtu.be

electrictroy999
electrictroy999

If you're Elon Musk, this is what you should have said publicly:
"The trip attempted was perfectly feasible, but we dropped the ball when it came to providing support for Mr. Broder, who was not an experienced user of our product. We look forward to correcting our errors by accepting Mr. Broder's offer to perform this test again, this time with our fullest assistance in supporting Mr Broder."

If you're a Tesla investor, this is what you should have said to Elon Musk:
"Musk, you idiot! You allowed your company to be publicly embarrassed due to the incompetence of your employees (like advising the reporter to drive fast & then brake, to recharge the battery).  Now you compound that with your petulant whining and accusations? You sound like a jerk! Make a list of people to fire!"

If you're a Tesla afficionado, this is what you should have said:
"The Tesla is a capable vehicle, but it does require some understanding that a newbie might not have. It's unfortunate that Tesla dropped the ball by not providing enough support to allow the test to be completed successfully. It made our beloved machine appear less capable than it actually is."

electrictroy999
electrictroy999

Solar????? The tesla EV is not solar, and therefore your comment sounds foolsih (not technical)

electrictroy999
electrictroy999

Tesla's employees also made a ton of stupid mistakes during their phone calls.  Bad advice basically.  A non-tech driver making mistakes is understandable, but engineers/techs giving bad advice is sheer incompetence.

JohnJohnson
JohnJohnson

@JackBurgess

If the revelation about shorting of the stock and the timing is really true, then yes an SEC investigation is called for. 

IMO, there's just TOO MUCH money to be made (or profit protected) by seeing Tesla go down by the likes of stock-shorters, oil companies, car companies, etc. Tesla is one company that is set to seriously challenge the traditional oil/car companies. Yes only a small # of cars are being sold by Tesla but the establishment knows who to fear, as they rightly should.

There's just too much evidence that proves such a half-baked article with negative feedback was published by NYT for a reason, and telling the truth wasn't it.

Lastly Mr. Broder tried to bolster his credibility by listing his prior assignments including time as a White House correspondent, etc. Hm, I don't know what those  have to do anything with reviewing an EV.

electrictroy999
electrictroy999

You are forgetting that on the last charge (the one that made the car run out of juice) it was Tesla's own engineers that advised the driver "Okay you can disconnect now."  Why?  What were the engineers motive to disconnect the car when it was not yet fully charged?

Nobody's answered that dmaning question.

Also any lawyer will tell you data does not really "prove" anything.  If this were a courtroom, I imagine the testimoney would go something like this:

"The reporter drove 0.6 miles trying to empty the battery and make the car stop."

Mr Elon Musk, can you prove this assertion?

"Uh...er, no."

Isn't it more reasonable to think the driver was lost, in the dark, and could not find the charging station?

"Yeah I guess it is possible."

A lawyer would simiarly tear-apart all of the other conclusions Musk reached.  Data is data, but intent is much harder to prove.  You cannot damn a reporter if you cannot prove he intentioanlly tried to kill the car.  And to repeat: What were the engineers motive to disconnect the car when it was not yet fully charged (at the third station)?

Peter213
Peter213

You made some good points, Steve but I think Musk was well within his rights and quite clever to publicly reason that Broder was driving in circles for over half a mile to flatline the battery. When Musk used the computer data to add up all the other lies Broder told and considered the fact that Broder deliberately stopped charging early, completely ignoring the objections of the Tesla support staff, it seemed a very likely and reasonable conclusion. But now, in light of the new video that clearly shows the Milford station is brightly lit, not dark as Broder claimed, and the Superchargers virtually impossible to miss, Musk's reasoning has been proven correct. (please see the video elsewhere in this comment thread) This is why this Time article has been so universally attacked. It is pretending that one of Broder's biggest lies is still in question. Matt is blatantly ignoring the clear new evidence and refusing to retract or amend an article full of misinformation. Shame on Matt and shame on Time magazine. Fortunately the vast majority of people see the article for what it is and are taking appropriate action.

Peter213
Peter213

@RobinMiller All new technology starts out expensive and the price comes down dramatically. Cell phones started out as something only for millionaires, remember?  The big-picture plan of Tesla is to use the technology developed in these more expensive automobiles to soon make a very affordable high performance EV for under $30,000. The first Tesla Roadster from 2 years ago cost more than twice as much as the base Tesla Model S which is about $52,000. Within 2 years there will be a very affordable, high performance Tesla EV. So everything going on with Tesla is hardly nonsense, it is actually deciding the future of what will be available to the vast majority of car buyers.

marshgre
marshgre

@RobinMiller and if you started to do some research to learn about the Kia you want to buy and "reviewers" were not held to some ethical standard, you would not be able to find reliable impartial information. This would leave you with little to go on when making a decision about spending your money.

No mater how much money you have you deserve to have fair accurate information about the products you are going to spend your money on. If so called journalists like Broader aren't called to task for inaccurate reporting or falsifying results it will ultimately have an effect on the money in your pocket not just the money in a rich persons pocket.

steveanderson1357
steveanderson1357

@marshgre, and seems looking at the manual would have saved time and aggravation over those "dozen" calls.

marshgre
marshgre

no responsible car owner would have.

The post comment button is too close to the bottom line of text so my comment got cut off when I attempted to edit the above comment.

steveanderson1357
steveanderson1357

@jerryj Mr. Jerry Jongerius, you need to fix your website. Mr Broder wrote that he had 19" tires. You also fail to address not filling up at Norwich.

mattpeckham
mattpeckham moderator

@khahong27 Mind if I borrow the keys to your multiverse-hopping spaceship so I can visit the one where John Broder has any idea who I am? ;)

mattpeckham
mattpeckham moderator

@Peter213 Peter, you're making my point for me (better than I could). You can't "armchair crucify" someone based on a YouTube video. I've made stupid mistakes where something (in hindsight) seemed obvious. I'm sure you have, too.

JohnJohnson
JohnJohnson

@JackBurgess 

Oh btw, after reading the article and the surrounding discussion, I decided to BUY Tesla stocks. Not a lot but just a few. But after reading more about Tesla, I think it's a good bet. 

SteveND
SteveND

@Peter213 I agree the article needs to be amended or retracted.

I did look at the video, and I also read Matt's earlier article on this episode, and it was rather strongly on Tesla's side.  I suggest reading it, it may surprise you.

As to video, I would say rather suspicious.  Honestly, I'm not so sure I would say anything is beyond a reasonable doubt on it though... but to me that's not central to why the article needs to be retracted or amended.

Matt seems to have gone back and forth between two rather strong positions.  I really think there is a simple middle ground that would actually be largely consistant with both of his articles.  This middle ground consists of two basic points,

A.  While anyone is free to interpret Broder's intentions, even have very strong conjectures, his motives really are a matter of speculation, and

B. What the data from the logs does show was that Broder's approach to testing the car's long distance ability was inherently flawed by his errors and anyone interested in the subject of a Model S's distance ability is best advised to ignore his report as a "Mulligan" best replayed by other testers (pretty much what the public editor at the NY Times wrote in a bit of a more face saving manner for Broder and the paper).

DonGua
DonGua

@mattpeckham I've canceled my Time subscription as well. Time and its editors should review articles like yours where you've clearly made a mistake and blamed its readers for not being perfect in hindsight to justify yours. Suck it up and admit your entire article is biased against Tesla. Broder made a mistake. You made a mistake in taking his side. The video above along with the data proves this. Your integrity and Time's reputation has taken a hit. I had been a long time Time reader and enjoyed many of its articles over the years. But I cannot support a magazine that attacks its readers and sacrifices its reputation to soil Tesla's reputation. 

Peter213
Peter213

@mattpeckham Sorry Matt but I ask you, again, to do a tiny bit of research and you will see that this video seems to be perfectly proving my point to everyone except you. The vast majority who have watched the video can clearly see that Broder lied. (just read the responses here) Other people, who have actually visited the Milford lot, confirm exactly what the video shows - the area is brightly lit and the chargers easy to find. How is that in anyway 'armchair crucifying' someone? What exactly are you trying to claim the video doesn't show? I really can't imagine how much clearer it can be. It is a brightly lit area - Broder said it was dark. That, Matt, is what is called a lie.  If that does not register clearly as a lie to you, it certainly makes me worry about your moral standards as a journalist. You say in your article "Broder’s claim about driving around in the dark is of course still just that — a claim." This video proves that it is not just a claim, it is obviously a lie. Yet you still have not retracted or amended your untrue statement. Even if we agree, with the bright lighting, someone could still possibly miss the Superchargers the first time past - okay - even though that would be a pretty dumb mistake - but 6 times? Come on, Matt. I would argue that anyone that could miss those Superchargers 6 times past shouldn't be allowed behind the wheel of any vehicle, let alone review one. The chargers are virtually impossible to miss for anyone even approaching normal intelligence and I don't think Broder is, at all, stupid. Again, except for someone who was deliberately trying to flatline the car or deliberately trying to ignore this simple smoking-gun video, there really is no debate about this anymore except for a very, very few who seem to share the same anti-electric bias as Broder. I am very curious as to why you did not include this new information that has clearly convinced a vast majority that Broder lied. Also, as many others have pointed out, you are overlooking the fact that this is far from being the only crucial misinformation in his review.  The NYT, itself, has admitted the Broder article was deeply flawed stating "Mr. Broder left himself open to valid criticism by taking what seem to be casual and imprecise notes" - another thing your article conveniently fails to mention. Putting all these clear simple facts together makes any defense of Broder, at this point, a fairly hopeless and somewhat suspicious proposition.

steveanderson1357
steveanderson1357

@mattpeckham, you are overlooking the fact that he made many false claims throughout his articles. For every problem, he blamed something or someone else. No other reviewer has done that. He has denied making any stupid mistakes. It would have been very easy to say, "I missed it". Instead, he says, " I was in fact driving around the Milford service plaza on Interstate 95, in the dark, trying to find the unlighted and poorly marked Tesla..". The audio in the YouTube is from navigation available in the car.

Weekendmoe
Weekendmoe

@Peter213 @mattpeckham Somehow lying and bending the truth became "casual and imprecise notes." People who read NYT should be aware of NYTs somewhat different definition of what lying is.....

Peter213
Peter213

@steveanderson1357 Not sure what you mean by this. Broder did not exit until after he charged. All the circling data is BEFORE he charged. Again, not sure why this is a discusion. Broder does not deny circling. He could have easily countered Musk with "Just once around the parking lot is .6 miles." But he didn't and it is simply not the case. Also not sure where you are getting your numbers from - from entrance to exit measures, at most 600' - less than half a quarter mile.

Peter213
Peter213

@steveanderson1357 as Marshgre pointed out, the lot is small and Broder dove for over half a mile (.6 miles in Musk's blog) in circles -Broder does not deny this by the way.  Look at the google map which has a scale. At most, the area where he drove in circles is about 500 hundred feet around. 6 (times past the Superchargers) x 500' = 3000' = .6 miles. Again, Broder does not, at all, dispute what Musk said he did, just WHY he did it. He said it was because he was looking for the Superchargers in the dark but, as the video clearly shows, and others (like wytworm above) have confirmed - it is, in fact, a brightly lit area and the chargers are easy to spot - especially since Broder knew exactly what they looked like since he had already used the other ones earlier.

steveanderson1357
steveanderson1357

@marshgre from the entrance to the exit could easily be 1/4 mile.

marshgre
marshgre

@steveanderson1357 Not in a lot that small. The chargers are at the entrance to the lot and are marked with signs reserving the spaces for Tesla charging only. Furthermore the chargers look exactly like the ones that Mr. Broder was at earlier in the day. The data logs from the car show some kind of repetitive cycle at this point of the drive that is probably being interpreted as "6 times". I would say the more important number to look at is the distance - about .5 to .6 of a mile. He would have had to leave the lot or drive a very interesting path in the lot to cover that distance in one pass.

steveanderson1357
steveanderson1357

@Peter213 @mattpeckham I don't know where you get six times from but I can see how one pass and back could be 1/2 a mile.

steveanderson1357
steveanderson1357

@wytworm @steveanderson1357 Plus he had just come from the Newark Supercharger so he knew what to look for.

wytworm
wytworm

@steveanderson1357 Plus it isn't dark, it is lit, plus it is right out front, not hidden in a corner, plus it is right where google maps says it is.