NY Times' writer Broder makes EV rookie mistakes on failed Model S road trip
Last weekend the NY Times published an article by John Broder about his failed attempt to take a Tesla Model S on a road trip. The article collectively started electric car owners eyes rolling because of the litany of rookie mistakes Broder made. But the story became richer on Monday when Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk took to twitter and a CNBC interview to slam Broder for publishing a fake story, and promising to write a blog post going over facts and figures. That blog post has not yet been written, but experienced electric car owners such as this writer wish that Broder were just a teensy bit more experienced with electric cars, or had gotten better advice from the Tesla service department.
Elon Musk may have been over the top in his criticism of the Broder's piece, describing the article as "faked" or a "set-up". He must have realized he'd gone too far because within an hour of the first tweet, Musk tweeted that he's not against the NY Times in general, and that their coverage is usually fair. It appears his complaint is with the quality of this specific story.
For a different analysis of this issue see John Goreham's writeup: Tesla's Elon Musk and New York Times in a spat over test
Broder's story covered a road trip he took with a Model S provided by Tesla Motors. He picked it up in Washington D.C. and charged at the Supercharger station in Delaware. He then drove to the Supercharger station in Milford Conn. but along the way noticed the power draw was enough that he wouldn't make it to Milford, and instead he took unnecessarily extreme measures to conserve energy including turning off the climate control and driving at 55 miles/hr in the right-most lane. He barely made it to Milford, and then continued from there to an overnight stay with a friend. Inexplicably he failed to grab a full recharge in Milford. Waking up the next morning the car had lost quite a bit of range, presumably due to the cold weather (10 degrees F). He claims to have been given bad advice from the Tesla service department, drove to a charging station in Norwich 20 miles out of the way, but then he compounded the bad advice by not snagging enough of a charge to make it to Milford. With insufficient range to make it to Milford, he understandably ended up stranded at the side of the road requiring a tow truck trip to the Supercharger station. That gave him an opportunity to snap a picture of a Model S on a flatbed tow truck.
What did Broder do wrong? Any halfway experienced electric car driver can spot several mistakes that Broder made, and we don't need the blog post promised by Elon Musk to diagnose the missteps along the way. We're relying on a blog post by a fellow, Peter, who has taken long distance trips with his Model S, and wrote an open letter to John Broder pointing out his mistakes. Most of what Peter wrote is conventional wisdom for EV owners, some of it is specific to the Model S.