Skip to main content

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.


Popular posts from this blog

F1: Robert Kubica Impresses In Renault Test Run

The car may be old but its the performance of the driver that's the story here. Robert Kubica returned to F1, after a fashion, earlier this week with an extensive test run in a 2012 Lotus Renault F1 car at Valencia.
The age of the car and the circuit were likely determined by F1's current rules which ban testing, but the reason for Kubica being in the car is far more interesting. Considered by many to be a potential World Champion and certainly one of the fastest drivers of his generation, Kubica's F1 career seemed to be over after a 2011 crash whilst driving in the Rally of Andora. His Skoda Fabia was penetrated by a guardrail in the high speed accident partially severing his right arm.
Up until last year Kubica has been competing in rallying, with the expectation that the limited movement in his repaired arm would prohibit a return to single seater racing.
So this week's test is both interesting and confusing. Interesting because Kubica completed 115 laps of the ret…

F1: Robert Kubica's Williams Test Asks More Questions Than It Answers

Comparing driver's times at a tyre evaluation test like last week's Abu Dhabi event is difficult at the best of times, but when trying to assess the performance of a driver who has been out of the sport for six years, that difficulty level is raised even higher.
On the face of it Robert Kubica's test for Williams was a success. Fastest of the three Williams drivers present the headlines look promising. However, taking into consideration the different tyres used to set those times muddies the water considerably.
Kubica ran a three lap qualifying simulation on the new 'hyper-soft' tyre - which should have given him a two-second advantage. Correcting for tyres it would appear that Kubica was significantly slower than Sergei Sorotkin - who was on the harder 'soft' tyre - and marginally quicker than Lance Stroll, the team's only contracted driver.

Stroll's family fortune currently funds Williams, so there' no chance that he will be anywhere but in a…

Panos Panay's Defence Of Microsoft Surface Hardware Sounds Eerily Familiar

This weekend I went out with my ten year old daughter to select a laptop for her school year beginning in January. The schools requirements are quite specific, requiring a Windows 10 device, with a preference for a touchscreen and a stylus. She chose a Surface Pro, after trying a large number of different options. Having seen the way I use my own Surface Pro - and tried it herself there was only ever going to be two options - and the other was a Surface Laptop.
I tell you this so that you understand I am a buyer of Microsoft's products through choice, not compulsion. I'm on my third Surface device now. 
So when Panos Panay dismissed reports of the death of the Surface hardware line, I was very interested to see exactly how strong these denials were. Especially how they reflect what has gone before. To whit: Windows 10 Mobile.
Panay claimed that Microsoft is in hardware for the long haul. Almost exactly mirroring the words of Terry Myerson, when he claimed Windows Mobile was g…