Tesla's Musk steps up claim of 'fake' New York Times review
Towed ... the Tesla Model S is unloaded from a flatbed truck. Photo: The New York Times
Tesla Motors, the electric-car maker led by billionaire Elon Musk, released data gathered during a New York Times test drive of the Model S, stepping up its defence of the vehicle to counter a critical review.
The car never ran out of battery power, Musk said in a statement posted on Tesla's website on Thursday, almost a week after John M. Broder at the Times reported the vehicle had to be dragged onto a tow truck because it shut down in the middle of his test drive. Data also showed the reporter drove the vehicle at faster speeds than reported in the article, according to the statement.
"We are upset by this article because it does not factually represent Tesla technology, which is designed and tested to operate well in both hot and cold climates," Musk wrote. Musk, who is also Tesla's biggest shareholder, on February 11 described Broder's story as "fake" in a Twitter post.
Spat ... Tesla founder Elon Musk. Photo: Los Angeles Times
New York Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said the story is "fair and accurate", and that the newspaper is reviewing Tesla's comments.
The dispute between the Palo Alto, California-based company and the newspaper comes a week before Tesla reports results for 2012's fourth quarter. Tesla is counting on Model S sales and the Model X crossover that arrives in 2014 to help it become profitable.
The company named for inventor Nikola Tesla may report on February 20 that it lost 57 cents a share for the fourth quarter, excluding some items, the average of 12 analysts' estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The company has set a goal of delivering 20,000 lithium-ion battery-powered sedans this year.
The $US101,000 Model S tested by Broder has a range of as far as 483 kilometres under ideal conditions and when its 85-kilowatt-hour battery pack is fully charged. He drove the sedan in temperatures as low as minus 12 degrees during an evaluation to test Tesla's new supercharger stations in Delaware and Connecticut designed to rapidly repower the car.
Broder said the vehicle ran out of power on the second day of his journey, eventually needing to be towed on a flatbed truck to one of the 480-volt superchargers. Tesla warns on its website that electric range is reduced in cold weather, when the heater is used and the car is driven faster than 65 miles an hour (105 km/h)
The carmaker said this week that media test cars are equipped with data logging technology that allows the company to monitor the battery's state of charge, vehicle power usage and position. Broder didn't properly charge the car, Musk said, citing the car's log.
"The Model S battery never ran out of energy at any time, including when Broder called the flatbed truck," he said.