Thursday, February 14, 2013

Who is the bigger liar – New York Times or Tesla?

The excitement continues with Elon Musk providing the data logs of the fateful winter trip from Delaware to Connecticut of the Tesla Model S.

I have reviewed the data in the charts that Elon provided and I can safely claim Elon is a bigger liar than John Broder of the New York Times.  The following is my basis:

Elon tells us that “Broder in fact drove at speeds from 65 mph to 81 mph for a majority of the trip and at an average cabin temperature setting of 72 F.”

The Truth

Broder drove at an average speed of approximately 64 MPH and did drive for a while at 40 MPH and drove for over 98% of the time at a speed between 52 MPH and 72 MPH.  Point 1 to Broder

The average cabin temperature was approximately  70.5 degrees and not 72 degrees as claimed by Musk  and for almost 50 miles of the trip was at 64.5 degrees.  Point 2 to Broder

What Elon did by providing the data logs is he actually provided me with real information on the efficiency of the Model S.  From the logs I derived that the Model S needed a total of 201.5 kilowatt hours (kwh) to travel 540 miles.  This means the model S needs 0.373 kwh per mile.   The US EPA states the car will need 0.379 kwh/mile.   Broder therefore drove it very similarly to the way the EPA had modeled driving conditions. 

Elon on the other hand claimed in his Tesla web site that the 85 kwh Model S would attain a range of 300 miles at 55 MPH and 265 miles under the EPA test.  The EPA data show their estimate of range is only 224.5.   The way Broder drove the car using every available kwh of stored power his range per full charge would be 227.8 miles.  Elon is fibbing about the 265 miles EPA range, therefore point 3 to Broder.

I guess I have to be like Judge Judy in The People’s Court and determine who lied the most.  I therefore rule that Musk is the biggest liar and as Judge Judy says “are you an idiot!!!” to give us all this evidence against you.

PS happy Valentine’s Day and this spat between Musk and Broder is the 2013 reenactment of the massacre.


  1. Lindsay... Good data crunching but I was surprised you didn't mention fuel costs... From a quick survey, I found that 400-HP gas-engine cars get approx. 20 mpg at 55 mph... Another survey shows folks pay $3.85 for a gallon of premium gas in the Northeast... So, the fuel cost for the 540-mile trip would have been approx. $115 for such a car... According to its website, Connecticut L&P customers pay approx. $0.16 per kWh... At 0.373 kWh per mile, the 400-HP Model S electric bill was approx. $32 for the same trip... Of course, Broder didn't pay anything since he used the "free juice" from the Superchargers...

  2. Hi Blair the cost argument will come later as to what it cost you the tax payer for Broder's not so joy ride. But let us calculate the Carbon Dioxide emissions at 0.373 kwh per mile and an average of 1.3 lbs of CO2 per kwh for the grid. Broder emitted 261.8 pounds of CO2 in the 540 mile trip. Had Broder been toasty warm in a Prius and going at his average speed of 64 MPH he may have achieved 50 MPG and used 10.8 gallons of gas. Note the Prius could get to 82 MPH for a few moments so the ride did not need an Ass Ton Martin. The 10.8 gallons of gas in the Prius will have CO2 emissions of only 208 pounds. So Broder could have been Greener. The 10.8 gallons is less than the 11.9 gallons the gas tank holds so Broder could have got to his end point without any stops. His trip would have taken him 8.4 hours at his average speed and he would not have spent $120 for a cheap hotel room and could easily have paid the $41.50 for gasoline. Mr. Musk claims he want's to save the world from CO2 emissions perhaps he should hold his breath while he digs a bigger hole.

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