Tesla CEO Calls Critical New York Times Article About Model S A ‘Fake’

Tesla CEO Elon Musk isn’t happy over a recent article published in The New York Times that criticized the range of the company’s Model S sedan.

In the article, The New York Times‘ John Broder said that in his trip along the east coast in the Model S, provided by Tesla, the car’s estimated range rapidly dropped and even shut down before reaching a charging station, which the writer blamed in part on the freezing temperatures.

Taking to Twitter, Musk shot down the claim, calling the article a “fake.”

“NYTimes article about Tesla range in cold is fake,” Musk wrote. “Vehicle logs tell true story that he didn’t actually charge to max & took a long detour.”

The writer stated that after arriving at the first stop on his trip — a new supercharger station set up by Tesla in Delaware — with roughly half energy left, he completely charged the vehicle before setting off to his next destination. On the way there, he noticed that the range was decreasing more rapidly than miles were adding up.

From there, Broder’s account of his trip in the Model S gets worse. Before making it to a charging station in Connecticut after passing through Manhattan, the writer said that the vehicle ran out of power, and needed to be towed to the nearest station some 25 miles away.

Speaking with CNBC program Closing Bell (transcript here), Musk said that the vehicle logs tell a different story.

“Well, when we downloaded our vehicle logs after the test drive, it showed that in fact he had not charged up to the maximum charge in the car,” Musk said.

“So essentially it’s like starting off a drive with a tank that’s not full. And then instead of driving to the next supercharger location, there was an extended detour through Manhattan, and it also showed that at times he was driving very fast. In some cases ten miles or more above the speed limit.”

Those things together, Musk explained, would certainly cause what Broder was seeing — not the cold or the car.

In another statement to CNBC, The New York Times stood by the writer, saying that any claims that the article is fake is “flatly untrue.”

“Any suggestion that the account was ‘fake’ is, of course, flatly untrue,” the statement said. “Our reporter followed the instructions he was given in multiple conversations with Tesla personnel. He described the entire drive in the story; there was no unreported detour. And he was never told to plug the car in overnight in cold weather, despite repeated contact with Tesla.”