Tesla Motors furious with New York Times
The electric-car maker defends its vehicle after a scathing newspaper report hurt the company's stock and credibility.
The war of words between Tesla Motors (TSLA) and The New York Times is heating up.
Earlier this month, Times reporter John Broder wrote a scathing article about his test drive of a Tesla Model S electric sedan (prices on the high performance model start at $87,400, after a federal tax credit) from suburban Washington, D.C., to Connecticut -- a drive that he says was punctuated by long stops at roadside charging stations, concerns that the car's battery was losing power in low temperatures and an eventual tow truck rescue.
Tesla shares fell 4% after the article was published, and now the electric-car maker is pushing back.
Billionaire Elon Musk, Tesla's CEO and the man behind the PayPal and SpaceX ventures, blogged his response Wednesday questioning Broder's report and accusing him of being hostile to the concept of electric cars.
"When the facts didn't suit his opinion, he simply changed the facts," Musk wrote about Broder. "Our request of The New York Times is simple and fair: Please investigate this article and determine the truth."
There could be a lot of red faces if Broder's report is found to be accurate. In 2010, the federal government lent Tesla Motors $465 million as part of a government effort to help develop clean energy, reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil and advance vehicle technologies. The Washington Post's Brad Plumer, who reports on energy and environmental issues, believes the controversy could hurt Tesla's potential customer base.
"Tesla’s whole strategy depends on lots of people buying electric cars and using the fast-charging stations often -- that will allow the company to recoup its investments," Plumer wrote Thursday. "A negative review in a paper like The New York Times, whose well-heeled readers are part of Tesla’s target demographic, hurts that strategy."
Some industry analysts believe the Times' article is just a temporary setback for Tesla.
Earlier this week, MercuryNews.com quoted a report by Elaine Kwei of Jefferies & Co., who still considers Tesla a buy.
"After digging into the background behind the article," Kwei wrote, "our conclusion is that operator error likely played a primary role, due to improper charging protocol."
And there may be something to what Kwei said. CNN Money reporter Peter Valdes-Dapena did his own test drive of the Tesla S Model from Washington, D.C. all the way to Boston -- making the trip in one day and in warmer temperature than The Times' Broder.
And he made it without any major problems, declaring on Friday that the Model S is "a pretty amazing mix of smooth and silent performance along with brain-squishing acceleration."
So who is right: Tesla or The Times? Stay tuned.
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I think a better question is:
Why does the federal government (huge debt) lend $465 million to a BILLIONAIRE to start a company? The company then goes on to make cars, that EVEN AFTER the government subsidy -are too expensive for any regular Joe to buy?
Our country is broke people, and subsidizing billionaires to start company's, then subsidizing the consumer of the product of those companies is stupid. Does Joe six pack realize he is giving tax credits (HIS TAX MONEY) to someone that wants to buy an $80,000 car!
If Mr. Musk with his billions of dollars doesn't believe in the concept enough to fund it himself -why the hell should we the taxpayers?!!!!
Not a very cost effective car but that's not the point. time2share said "...hands down the most Cost Effective and coolest car in a long time. Well, "coolest car" is subjective so I'll pretend he's right on that point (I thought the Tesla Roadster was even more cool). Mazda has the new SkyActiv Diesel coming out for a little less than $25,000 well equiped that gets 56MPG. Now, even at $4.50 per gallon, $87,400 (Tesla cost) - $25,000 (Mazda cost) = $62,400 / $4.50 = 13,866 gallons of diesel fuel. 13,866 * 56MPG = 776,533 miles. Let's be more conservative - maybe you use your lead foot... 13,866 Gallons * 40 MPG = 554,640 Miles. 554,640 Miles / 20,000 Miles per year = 27.7 years.
So, the Tesla pays for itself in just under 28 years.... Not so much the "most Cost Effective" car around now, is it?
(Notice I assumed that the diesel would last 554,640 miles (possible) AND the Tesla's batteries would last 28 years (not a bloody chance)
One of the advantages to borrowing money from Obama....Nobody can bad-mouth your product.
Really, I'm surprised Broder just didn't disappear off the face of the Earth, never to be seen or heard from again.
Tesla will go the way of the Delorean, the Bricklin and Solyndra ............... when the tax subsides and guaranteed loans dry up, so will those pitiful few jobs that our money bought, the most prolific losing gambler (with others money) ever is our president!
Just like the rest of Obama's "greenie" junk, the Tesla is a piece of crap. Nobody wants a car that you have to stop and spend an hour charging it back up, so you can go another few miles.
This trash is costing the American taxpayers dearly. All of those junky, noisy almost useless windmills are $2 million dollars a pop. It will take 100 years, for them to become a very small part of America's energy. Oil, cean-burning coal and natural gas are already available. They give INSTANT eergy and don't cost us an arm and a leg.
Obama and the EPA CANNOT change the Earth's climate. What a joke!
First of all the loan has been paid back! It is also a technology that is needed for our future independence on oil, and cleaner air. (Ecology).
It is a very expensive technology, and if the past is any kind of indicator, with time and volume it will become affordable to the masses.
Why there is no mention of it in this article ?
Whether it is envy or fear of the new, some people dislike electric cars and reasoning wih them will not change their closed minds. They are likely the same folks who made fun of hybrids as being "wimpy" and a "political statement."
I drive by these angry myopics every morning and evening as they sit in traffic and I quietly cruise by in the HOV lane in my electric car. Victory is mine. Sometimes I honk my tinny Nissan Leaf horn at their stationery vehicles just to further remind them of the inevirable rise of the superior electric car.
The NY Times is the equivalent of my old 1982 Ford Mustang II. Once powerful and respected and now a crumbling icon of what it once was.
Hard to fault the truth...Sometimes.
At least he wasn't "drum beating" the car after having problems..
I've never really seen ANY manufacture of ANY product admit responsibly or a fault...
UNTIL THEY ARE SUED....Then many times it's payment without "admission of guilt."
The scandal IS you don't use accurate numbers in your little hatchet job sound bite you call a news story. Pricings and ranges of the model S vehicle are published and substantiated, but you blow all that off with a lie and mischaracterizations of what the vehicle can really do, which includes a broad appeal to a very tough up scale market. In the process, The New York Times comes off looking like they are being intentionally ignorant to the values of the electric car and it's suitability to all sectors of the very tough car market, presumably to make it easier to talk about the propriety in investing in an upscale electric vehicle with public money. This time I would say that the answer to that question is yes, as we now have all major car manufacturers investing in either all electric and or extended range technology for their vehicles. I notice the woman in this piece smirking as she intentionally mischaracterizes this Tesla car. Where did you find those two bums, FOX?
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