Ok, we’ve got the obligatory electric vehicle pun out of the way. So now we’re able to tackle the big issues that California based electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla Motors is current-ly (sorry, couldn’t resist) facing.
We all know that the biggest problem with electric cars is their range, or lack of. However, the Tesla Model S has a not-too-shabby quoted range of around 270 miles in top spec, which isn’t bad at all if you think about how far the average blazer wearing person drives each day – all electric vehicle owners wear blazers. Fact. In fact, I reckon you could lap most of Belgium with that kind of range. But, a New York Times motoring journalist decided that it might be a good idea to test the cars range and Tesla’s ‘Supercharger’ charging station infrastructure with a seemingly simple drive down America’s east coast – fair enough.
During that road test however, the east coast of America was experiencing freezing conditions which perhaps caused the road testers mind to get a bit confused and supposedly caused the cars battery life to be severely reduced – Tesla states that cold weather doesn’t effect battery life at all. Fearing that the battery was depleting much faster than normal, the NY Times journalist called Tesla requesting advice on how to prolong the cars battery life, they instructed the journalist to accelerate then remove his foot from the accelerator pedal to gain maximum regenerative breaking assistance and hence restore some charge into the batteries. A number of other simple instructions from the Tesla boffins followed over the course of the three day test which eventually resulted in the car seemingly dead and on the back of a lorry. The car was absolutely slammed in the NY Times review, and this made Tesla absolutely furious.
Tesla isn’t one to cop bad press without action. You might remember the Roadsters appearance in a TopGear episode in which the car was portrayed as unreliable with poor range. When in actual fact, the car performed perfectly and the breakdowns were part of TopGear’s script, this resulted in a vicious lawsuit between Tesla and the BBC. Since then, Tesla has been logging the performance and behavior of their cars during press test drives. This might be seen as a bit rude and intrusive but Tesla insist that it’s done to protect their reputation from sketchy journalists like the NY Times reporter who according to Tesla, deliberately set out to sabotage the test.
Tesla’s data showed that the car never actually ran out of charge, even after it was loaded onto the lorry, the man sped, drove past several charge stations even when the charge was very low, drove around in a small one hundred space car park containing a charge station for over half a mile while the mileage read zero, and that the New York Times road tester must have been a bit of an idiot. To quote Tesla founder, the man who was the inspiration for the Iron Man movies – yeah, he means business -, Elon Musk,
“For his first recharge, he charged the car to 90%. During the second Supercharge, despite almost running out of energy on the prior leg, he deliberately stopped charging at 72%. On the third leg, where he claimed the car ran out of energy, he stopped charging at 28%. Despite narrowly making each leg, he charged less and less each time. Why would anyone do that?”.
The man has a ruddy good point, and I have to say I’m with Tesla and Iron Man on this one.
I find it genuinely distressing that a motoring journalist would go to such lengths to deliberately sabotage a test, and I don’t understand why he’d do it at all. It’s one thing to be one of these cowboys who love the petrol engine too much to praise these supposedly satanic electric vehicles, but even still, you have to give the Tesla Model S praise, it’s not just a seriously good electric car, but it’s a seriously good car full stop. It’ll accelerate like a BMW M5, it’s visually and technologically stunning, it emits nothing from its tail pipes – mainly because they don’t actually exist – and its range is more than enough for every day use.
Owners of the Model S adore their cars, and so to stick it to the shoddy NY Times journalist, they’ve decided to take the same trip as the journalist to prove that their cars are capable of the journey and that this man is a complete spanner.
I think we’ve learnt a few things here today, cheaters get caught – unless they’re of the speedy animal variety, obviously -, the men at Tesla are a pretty crafty bunch of fellows, and you shouldn’t mess with Iron Man – i.e Elon Musk.
Do you think the press Tesla has been getting is unjust? Would you buy a Tesla? Share your views below or tweet us at @CarhootsUK using the hash tag #tesladispute
By Aiden Taylor (@Aiden_Taylor)