February 16, 2013

NY Times’ Writer Caught lying in negative Tesla Review?

The New York Times recently ran a review of Tesla’s new model S production electric car questioning its range.

This new Tesla is arguably an effing brilliant piece of work, from design, performance, and environmental angles. It’s been called a gamechanger by the mainstream automotive press—including by the Times itself. It’s perhaps the first car (without an engine) (with a computer that can be updated remotely) that can drive a long ways without recharging, and that (if solar powered) is zero emissions. It’s the kind of car that could save our planet from ourselves.

Taking awards from every direction, the car is dreamspun, and just riddled with breakthrough technology.

The new Times review, however has been challenged by Elon Musk, founder of Tesla. How can I say this, false as that story you used to tell your mom about how you and your friends were going out “bowling.” Here’s a news flash for you on that: she knew, she just wanted you out of the house for awhile. What did you think, she liked your 14-year-old company? She was tolerating you, buying time until University.

So the review was apparently as bunk as your uncle Bertrand’s “girlfriend.” He’s a hairdresser for god’s sake, wake up. Looks like it was a lie, or many, and a Times review is not a small deal. I know hunchbacked midget carnival pig racing cartels who would kill for a Times review. Literally. A Times review can do you a lot of good, or in this case, countless volts of bad. This one was bad bad bad, and that sucks, for all of us.

Tesla is pretty much America’s electric car ninja rabbit in black sneakers and mirror shades. They’re just our brilliant teenage son on his way to University on a full boat distinguished scholar freebie. They’re only the best thing that has happened to transportation since the advent of socks.

They have been throwing everything they have at producing a full blown electric car, including charging stations which take an hour instead of overnight to charge you up. They are one of those companies where if I win the Powerball for 500 million, I’m writing them a check fatter than your aunt Marge, the one who thinks soda is what’s for breakfast. And they have cracked it. They’ve broken through. And it’s awesome.

So why would the Times writer Broder lie and down talk this only real piece of American auto innovation in forever?

Why do women go to the rest room in groups? Why do some bicyclists dress up like loons before a ride? It’s in their nature. So why does this man getting busted lying about the car make me so happy?

Maybe it’s my dad’s fault. He can’t stand the subsidies for alternative energy the current administration paid out. Somehow, the coal subsidies are no problem, and he also enjoys three-dollar-a-pound meat. (Tesla got what, 450 million?) If Tesla fails, dad wins. That makes Tesla too cool to fail.

Maybe it’s Detroit, and the shroud of innovation’s death that has hung over all forms of green car creativity across American auto manufacturing. Maybe it’s my perpetual eye roll going back to when Toyota whaled into the mainstream with the Prius, and they were forced to comply by market forces and shame, in that order.

Maybe it’s just the Times. As a writer happily typing away here at humble elephant, I admit to a completely childish glee at the Times reviewer going down in the flames of his own gasoline-soaked mentality. How sweet to see that a guy who, in the cocktail party of my imagination, has snubbed me repeatedly for not being so very New York. So very Times.

And by the way, elephant gave a review of the Tesla that was sexy, accurate, and honest.

I would have to say that on this particular review competition, not that there was one, the judges gave elephant a 6.0, 6.0, with a disappointing 5.9 from the Russian Judge, and unanimously disqualified the Times for printing big fat whopping lies. We had an awesome and personal review up from Amy Ippoliti who knew enough to fuel her vehicle, and wrote what happened.

Can’t claim that if you’re John M. Broder! Or can you? Because he did. Broder defended his review to the teeth, which to my mind is not only funny but seriously awesome, like a closeted gay politician hammering out anti-gay legislation and getting caught with his hand in his, well, let’s calm down a little bit, and review the facts. Suffice it to say, I love people.

In these times of woe and strife, we are nothing if not utterly surveyed. Run a red light, get a traffic violation letter in the mail, complete with photo. Make an honest attempt at shoplifting, and the mustachioed security guard will bring you into his orange-plastic-furnished little room with an open ashtray smelling up the whole windowless walk-in and you’re like:

“You smoke in here? Hey, isn’t it 2013?”

and he’s like:

“Let’s review this video.”

And you are so nailed.

I mean, I’ve heard. So all that to say this.

Tesla just released the data that totally busted Broder, hard core, with their monitoring equipment, gadgets and sensors that log every aspect of the car’s functionality and remember it.

He is so totally nailed to the wall it is brilliant! Little did Tesla know that their monitoring devices would come in super handy to protect their reputation from crooked reviews. Boder posited that the specs on rim sizes accounted for the speeds he was claiming to drive being way lower than the actual speeds recorded. The temperature difference, when the brave man was supposedly conserving the battery and freezing on the car’s behalf but the data had the interior at a cozy 72 degrees, gets a similar sideways dance.

This thing feels crooked as a corkscrew fresh out of a bending machine for the second time. Broder has already admitted a bias against electric cars. The questions that leap to my mind all involve levels of crookedness. Is Broder on the take from traditional car manufacturers, or just good old fashioned mean-spirited?

The logging devices tell it like this: deliberate measures were taken to assure a bad review.

Deliberate as in not filling the car up with juice before leaving the charging station, against the stated advice of the technicians there. Pretty clear results are gonna follow when you don’t fuel the car. Lies included charging times and speeds, all of which were fed into data banks as they happened, and logged and recorded. Broder might do well to explore what the car knows about him before his next fictional undertaking.

It’s an awesome story to watch, and a classic case of the good guys kicking serious butt. Can’t wait to see how they spin this. Admittedly, Broder gives no ground in his refuting of Tesla’s data. He is sticking to his guns, and having him dead to rights on the data must mean the data is wrong.


No telling what the real story is, or why Broder seemingly wanted a bad drive to come of this, but with the majority of drivers falling instantly in love with the ride, maybe it will survive even a bad Times review. I sure wouldn’t


Meanwhile, rock on Tesla! I wonder if they can tell what Broder had for lunch when he drove it?  Probably subsidized meat.


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Ed: Kate Bartolotta

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