New York Times vs Tesla Motors, An Exercise in Futility

I'm sure of you're at all interested in more environmentally friendly motor cars then you'll have been closely following the story of the New York Times' Road test of the Model S and the subsequent fallout.

The article claims that the Tesla failed to reach its road test destination after its battery ran dry before the claimed range. Tesla claims that the author drove the car erratically, turned the heat up too much and didn't recharge properly. It knows this because it secretly tracks road test vehicles.

Whilst no-one apart from the article's author John Grober can be 100% sure of the exact method used during the road test, the heated back and forth between the Time and Tesla's owner Elon Musk, doesn't do anyone any good.

It's no surprise that Tesla has reacted to the criticism of its article,  especially given the previous problems with the Top Gear test of the Roadster model. I can't help wondering if they are doing themselves a disservice in shouting so loudly about the bias of the road test, be it real or imaginery.

The big problem with all electric cars is range anxiety. Especially on longer journeys where you're more likely to be approaching the full range of the vehicle's battery pack. Tesla has done a good job of building cars that will go further than any other all electric vehicle, but it's customers still have to face that demon every so often.

Grober's articulates this very well in his piece. Whatever Tesla feels.

The truth is that all-electric cars are okay for a small percentage of the motoring population. For the rest they make no sense at all. Which is where hybrid and range extended electric cars come in.

Elon Musk needs to remember that the people who are his potential customers have already dealt with the range anxiety demon and will have made a buying decision based on their needs. An article in the New York Times will not change that.

Furious emails that expose a big brother approach to media reporting only damage the goodwill that Tesla had built for itself and that will set back the growth of Tesla and the electric car industry much more than any (real or imagined) newspaper hatchet job.


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