Nail-biting trip shorts out Tesla stock
Share prices plummet after a New York Times reporter's Model S loses heat and power on Interstate 95 and gets towed to a charging station.
Tesla (TSLA) discovered this the hard way.Shares of the electric car maker dropped nearly 4% after New York Times writer John Broder tried to drive its $101,000 Model S from the Washington, D.C., suburbs to a supercharger station in Milford, Conn., and around New England to test its proclaimed 265-mile range.
Broder made the nail-biting trip to Milford, but after recharging, he lost energy in temperatures flirting with 10 degrees, lost heat when the car tried to conserve its remaining energy and, eventually, had his powerless Tesla towed back to Milford after a quick tour of Connecticut.
The consequences have been far more dire than just a frozen and put-upon reporter. Tesla received a $465 million loan from the Department of Energy in 2010 to build its vehicles and support infrastructure and reduce American dependence on foreign oil. Tesla already has plans to produce 20,000 Model S vehicles by the end of the year.
That's just fine if you're driving along Interstate 5 from British Columbia to California, where The Oregonian says regional governments are putting the finishing touches on a series of quick charging stations. When completed, the so-called West Coast Electric Highway will allow electric vehicle owners to juice up every 25 to 60 miles whether they're driving a Tesla, a Nissan (NSANY) Leaf, a Chevy (GM) Volt or a Ford (F) or Toyota (TM) plug-in hybrid.
By comparison, the stretch of I-95 from D.C. to Boston has exactly two such stations in Milford and Newark, Del. Both of those stations just opened in December and, judging by the Times article, seemed insufficient to handle the demands of a Northeast winter far colder than anything faced regularly by drivers in California and the Pacific Northwest. That cold puts a hurt on battery capacity and diminishes range, making it much harder to limp from Delaware to Connecticut. Factor in the hour it takes drivers to reach a full charge at each stop, and drivers are tacking on an additional two hours to their trip under even the best conditions.
Analysts see it differently. According to StreetInsider.com, the folks at Jefferies & Co. blame Broder for his Tesla's woes and say "improper charging protocol" led to the Model S' problems. Just ahead of Tesla's fourth-quarter earnings release, Jefferies says the vast majority of Model S buyers are “very impressed.”
It didn't note where those drivers live, however, and didn't reveal whether those drivers regularly take the Garden State or Merritt parkways to avoid I-95. Also, how is “improper charging protocol” not a problem? When you're asking a driving public conditioned on 10-minute pump-and-go stops to completely change their way of thinking and driving to accommodate your vehicle, a little margin for error doesn't seem like a big request.
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trip in a Tesla Model S on a 30 degree day. Lets study this classic case of user error and ignorance.
He was attempting a trip from New York City to Boston using ONLY the new Superchargers in Milford, CT and Newark, DE.
He didn't follow the proper procedures of preheating the car and battery while it was charging which reduced his range.
He didn't charge in range-mode.
He didn't drive the speed limit which reduced his range even further.
He didn't call Tesla Motors until after the situation was dire.
He dramatically drove the car until no more electrons were available and it stopped, instead of exiting the interstate, charging somewhere, and continuing.
He didn't charge the car enough during his "short break in Manhattan". He gave it a 79 miles of charge and the distance to Milford was 73 miles.
That's cutting it really close. I'd have charge the car to at least 100 miles of range in Manhattan before setting out. He must have conveniently forgot the fact that electric cars lose capacity in the cold.
The Superchargers are free, so if he could have enjoyed a nice relaxing drive from New York to Boston, but I don't think he wanted that. Nice drives don't sell papers.
A fan-made commercial for the Tesla Model S tells the the other side of the story. It's called "Gallons of Light".
So it takes hours for this thing to recharge, cold weather drains battery which cuts that so-called 265 mile range down even further? I knew these things were just a high priced joke. $101,000 to be stranded on the side of the road or waiting hours for this thing to recharge after driving in bad weather or traffic.
For $101,000, I can buy a 2013 Corvette for $50,000, a 6 cylinder gas sipper for under $20,000, and still have about $30,000 left in the bank. lol
What a load of nonsense, trying to drive a car in harsh conditions to test the vehicle's limits is a good idea but it is in absolutely no way an indication of the practicality of said vehicle in everyday driving conditions. But for folks that are looking for any excuse to condemn new technology that threatens their world view I guess grasping at this straw is about all they have.
Weird, thinkin "hey, not a bad looki... WTF?"
The electric car associated "carbon footprint" mantra I find amusing in that we generate most of our electricity by burning coal - good fuel for the future by the way. I agree with the post with the list of driver ignorance items, as buyers are given full disclosure on charging and range when getting the car. Most people would be embarrassed to admit to the errors by this driver. Charging can be performed at your residence with a 120-volt outlet, although 240 works more quickly.
Super charging stations are for driving convenience much as are government subsidized (it is NOT all gas tax) rest areas and parks. States put these in to attract tourist in the hopes of getting a return on investment through tourist (motels, restaurants, trinkets and admission fees) dollars. Not sold on self righteous comments on free enterprise when discussion turns to subsidized petroleum production and tax credit financing for dollars inherent with internal combustion engines - personally I use an ethanol blend on most occasions and have one of those "200 thousand mile" Ford products, however, the writer Re: 200 thousand, might want to check with an experience mechanic regarding various issues with Ford engines beyond 150,000 miles.
What ever Floats your Boat...Or gets you down the Road...?
As far as Government "investing" in Private Business.....??
What do you think State and Federal Grants are ?? Or all your Legislature's "Pork Projects?"
And all "tax incentives" or defrayals.
I just have a few questions....what happens when these batteries start wearing out and have to be replaced? How much will that cost the car owner? How are the batteries manufactured? What kind of disposal problems will there be? It is bound to happen...have plans been put into action for when it does? Or has the cart been put before the horse again? Just thinking of the "pig-tail" light bulbs that can contaminate land fills if not disposed of properly. Good idea, just not thought out completely.
And, in the area I live in, it would be absolutely foolhardy (possibly deadly) to trust in something like this. I need strong, sturdy, dependable transportation here where towns are at least 100 miles or more apart with NOTHING between them.
We are seeing the "baby steps" of the electric car becoming more like a long distance car we are used to. Like cell phones, this will advance and situations like this will be a bad memory.
Lets not forget the fact there are less moving parts to break down and we get to tell big oil to take a hike. More power to ya Tesla!!!
A huge load of nonsense. If the article was about "We take a car and purposely get stranded", I would find it valid. This guy did many things designed to run him out of energy. You can do the same thing in a gas car, by ignoring all the stations.
Regarding the NYT article, it's not likley that stock fell because of that. The run up over the last few weeks has been because of the quarterly financial announcement coming up, and the accelerated deliverys as Tesla ramps up to excede first full year production goals. We're just seeing profit taking today, and stock was recovering by the bell. The New York Times writer was frankly not that important to cause a 2% drop any more than he caused the entire market downturn this morning.
Double dumb a** on MSNBC for this article reporting about some other a**.
(I'm a VERY happy, VERY VERY VERY happy Tesla owner (and stock holder) by the way)
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