Did Forbes just publish an article defending a plug-in vehicle? Sure did, when one of the publication’s columnists offered a counterpoint to that famous piece in The New York Times that criticized the Tesla Model S for less-than-advertised driving range.
Forbes contributor Mark Rogowsky took issue with the Times’ statement that the Teslas are “nothing more than niche vehicles,” by pointing out that no vehicle can be all things to all people. For example, on the concept of range anxiety, the columnist cites a Department of Transportation statistic that says that 97 percent of vehicle trips are less than 50 miles, or far less than the Model S’s single-charge range. Using his own SUV as an example, Rogowsky notes that his car serves most purposes fairly well but falls short when compared to the fuel economy of a Toyota Prius or when tasked to carry larger loads.
Over the years, Forbes hasn’t exactly been a bastion of plug-in vehicle advocacy. One Forbes article last year accused General Motors of inflating sales numbers for the Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in by leasing them out at artificially low prices, to cite just one example.
Either way, the Model S has been the subject of some bad blood between The New York Times. Earlier this week, the Times’ public editor Margaret Sullivan said NYT writer John Broder wrote the story “in good faith” but wasn’t precise enough in recording the details of his experience.
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By Danny King