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Tesla Model S Owners Decide To Show How John Broder Should Have Test Driven The Model S

The cleantech story of the week has probably been the infamous test drive of the Tesla Model S by New York Times‘ John Broder. Aside from the article linked above (largely a data-packed rebuttal to John Broder’s claims), we’ve posted a couple pieces on this story:

Now, the news is that a handful of Tesla Model S owners have set out on the same trip that John Broder took (and somehow failed to finish) in order to show just how easy the trip is.

The drivers will even stay in the same hotel that Broder stayed in. They’ve also set up a Twitter account for logging their trip(s). Here’s one tweet from 5 hours ago:

Here’s one with a pic of a couple of the owners/drivers:

Why do I have a feeling none of these guys are going to have any problems along the way?

What are the takeaway points of all this? Here are my thoughts and hopes:

1. If Broder decided to drive the Model S to dead on purpose, that was idiotic.

Tesla has a strong following, and the fact that the Model S won 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year doesn’t hurt that. Tesla collects data on test drives (ever since Top Gear misrepresented a drive they took in order to match their storyline). Apparently, Broder asked for Tesla’s data before writing his story. (Hmm, to make sure he knew what he could lie about?) Woops, Tesla had a lot of data and apparently didn’t share enough with Broder for him to avoid saying things that weren’t true according to the data. (Better be careful before you try to pull a scam on the tech innovators.)

Plus, be aware that there are now a lot of Model S owners who absolutely love their top-ranking car. They will defend it. Broder’s reputation is crushed in the eyes of many. The New York Times‘ reputation is, as well. Tesla is getting more press; the car has demonstrated extremely well in other drives along the exact same route; and now a bunch of Tesla Model S owners are providing even more awareness raising to show (again) how easy it is to successfully drive that route.

2. A lot of discrepancies in Tesla’s data and Broder’s claims.

Tesla’s data seemed to show in several instances that Broder went far out of his way to make the car “accidentally” fail. Apparently, many still aren’t sure who to trust. Simple things like Broder turning up the heat when he says he turned it down, driving for circles in a parking lot, and not fully charging the car when it’s clear that the car needs a full charge ring enough alarm bells for me. But hey, everyone is entitled to their own judgement. But also consider these points: Broder has a history of anti-EV articles, and what does a reporter get more attention for than controversy? (I know, if the facts didn’t sway you, that probably won’t, but seriously — think for a second.)

3. This test drive is a great way to get more eyes on electric vehicles, and it should be a launching pad to more action.

The #1 thing holding back electric vehicles today is public awareness. The technology is ready. The costs have come down. And electric vehicles are more convenient than gasoline-powered vehicles the majority of the time. The #1 obstacle is that people don’t understand that, that they’ve been misinformed by dishonest or narrow-minded journalists. I hope that this ride will help to bring more widespread attention to the possibility of owning an electric car today, and I hope it will spur on more and more actions that get people realizing how good of an option EV technology now is. The best way to make that happen is for more people who actually know the story with EVs today to get out there and help inform more of the general populous.

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Written By

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.


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