To say that Tesla Motors CEO and founder Elon Musk was upset with New York Times writer John M. Broder review of their Model S would be a gross understatement.
After the company's shares slumped 3% following the review, Musk stepped in and launched a scathing attack via a Twitter: “NY Times article about Tesla range in cold is fake Vehicle logs tell true story that he didn’t actually charge to max & took a long detour.”
On February 8th the Times published the review in question, detailing how the Model S (starting from starting at $42,400) failed to live up to its boasted 300 mile (480 kilometer) autonomy range while driving in less than “under ideal conditions’, typically winter temperatures, with a litany of complaints especially regarding the car’s lithium-ion batteries draining too fast and adding that the car had to be towed for 45 minutes to find the next available charging station.
Following up on his Tweet, Musk laid out the evidence on the Tesla Blog of what actually happened during the test drive using the car’s data log system that monitors charge and recharge status, driving style, cabin settings as proof, with a blow by blow account of all the key points accompanied by graphs, showing that the writer’s review was wrong and with Musk arguing that Broder was prejudiced against electric cars from the start.
In a statement, the Times stood by its report, saying "any suggestion that the account was 'fake' is, of course, flatly untrue and our story was fair and accurate. We are in the process of reviewing the specific claims in Tesla's blog post and will respond to those when that review is complete."
This isn’t the first time that Musk has targeted negative reviews, and went after Top Gear in 2008, when the show made similar reliability claims against the company’s Roadster - the British TV show show was accused doing the same thing with Nissan's Leaf, another electric car - but in Tesla's case the ruling decided that the show’s review did not libel the car company.