Tesla CEO Fires Back at NY Times

Tesla logoTesla Motors Inc., 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 defense of the vehicle to counter a critical review.

The car never ran out of battery, Musk said in a statement posted on Tesla’s Web site, 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.

New York Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy earlier this week said the story was “completely factual” and that “any suggestion that the account was ‘fake’ is, of course, flatly untrue” after Musk said the article was inaccurate. Murphy didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail sent after regular U.S. business hours, seeking comment on Tesla’s latest statement.

The dispute between the company and the flagship newspaper of New York Times Co. 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 car tested by Broder has a range of as far as 300 miles under ideal conditions and when its lithium-ion battery pack is fully charged. He drove the sedan in temperatures as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit during an evaluation to test Tesla’s new supercharger stations in Delaware and Connecticut designed to rapidly repower the car.

Broder’s test 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.


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