Following a major dust-up between The New York Times and electric carmaker Tesla Motors, many are left wondering who to believe.
Times reporter John M. Broder claims his Model S test vehicle ran out of battery range while he attempted a trip along Tesla's East Coast Supercharger network. Tesla's CEO Elon Musk called the article a "fake," and published data logs that appear to refute Broder's account. Broder, however, says the data doesn't tell the full story.
While the two parties duke it out, CNNMoney's Peter Valdes-Dapena took to the streets in a Model S tester of his own on Thursday. Valdes-Dapena followed a similar route to Broder, driving the all-electric luxury sports car from D.C. to Boston, while making stops at Tesla's strategically placed Supercharger stations along the way.
"The most scary part of the trip: the 200 miles between charging stations in Newark, Del., and Milford, Conn.," admitted Valdes-Dapena in his article. He reports setting his cruise control between 60 and 65 miles per hour and his climate to 72 degrees, in an effort to conserve energy. But even after extending his route some 30 miles and running into traffic, Valdes-Dapena said he realized he had more than enough juice to finish the journey. "Not only did I have enough battery range left, I had plenty. I had at least 40 miles...left to play with," said Valdes-Dapena.
For those looking to point to the CNNMoney report as definitive evidence that Broder lied, Valdes-Dapena cautions that it was 10 degrees warmer on the day of his trip and that he completed the trek in a single day, as opposed to Broder's overnight excursion in colder conditions. Further, Broder admits to not fully recharging the car, on advice from Tesla personnel.
Still, it's hard to argue with this: "In the end, I made it--and it wasn't that hard."