Despite an official promise that Tesla Motors would respond to the online kerfuffle kicked up yesterday between The New York Times reporter John Broder and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the official Tesla website remained silent today. The wait doesn’t mean the internet has been mute on this subject, though. That’s just not how it works.
First up, Broder’s detailed response to Musk tweeting that his article about running out of electricity was a “fake” is clear and straightforward: “My account was not a fake. It happened just the way I described it.” He goes on to describe the ways that he could have babied the Model S to hit the range targets, but points out that the plan was to test the Supercharger network. He added, “Now that Tesla is striving to be a mass-market automaker, it cannot realistically expect all 20,000 buyers a year (the Model S sales goal) to be electric-car acolytes who will plug in at every Walmart stop.”
The rest of the web got in on the action, too. After noticing Musk’s tweet that revealed “Tesla data logging is only turned on with explicit written permission from customers, but after Top Gear BS, we always keep it on for media,” other journalists wondered if they had been tracked when they test drove the Model S. It appears so. The Atlantic flat-out says, “Elon Musk’s Crusade Against The New York Times Isn’t Helping Tesla.”
Over at Automotive News, Mark Rechtin points out an important – and unfair – difference between the way automotive journalists test cars:
If you drive an EV on the autobahn full tilt, your mileage and range will drop precipitously. But so will it if you drive your Porsche 911 or Toyota Camry in a similar fashion. Yet for some reason, while traditional cars are given a pass for lead-footed driving, the reaction to an EV’s reduced range under those conditions is, “Aha!” in a tone mixed with outrage and schadenfreude.
So, yes, the discussion is growing while we wait for Tesla’s delayed official response. The big question is if it is too late to put this genie back in the bottle. By the time Tesla’s report is released, it’ll be just one more item in what is fast turning into a much bigger deal than you would think could ever grow from just 140 characters.
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