I posted about the original review here last week. But then things boiled over, including Elon Musk posting charts and graphs to prove that the reporter was wrong, if not lying. There was much back and forth.
Here’s Engadget’s editor-in-chief, Tim Stevens, to sum it all up and explain how everyone is wrong and the whole mess makes everything worse.
It’s been hard to miss, this brouhaha that’s been boiling over between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and The New York Times — specifically with reporter John M. Broder. Broder published a piece over the weekend called “Stalled Out on Tesla’s Electric Highway” in which he panned the Model S for inaccurate range estimates and drastically reduced range in cold weather. In fact, about the only thing he didn’t hate was the tow truck driver who was ultimately dispatched to pick up him and the charge-depleted Tesla he had been driving through Connecticut.
Musk, likely still stinging from an even more vitriolic 2011 takedown by Top Gear, was quick to take to Twitter and call the article “fake.” He later backed that up with comprehensive data logs recorded, apparently, without Broder’s knowledge. That data, at least at surface value, shows the Times piece is at best misleading — at worst libelous.
The Tesla works great in Silcon Valley because it never drops below freezing there. Drive it here in the North East and you run into some problems.
> I drove, slowly, to Stonington, Conn., for dinner and spent the night in Groton, a total distance of 79 miles. When I parked the car, its computer said I had 90 miles of range, twice the 46 miles back to Milford. It was a different story at 8:30 the next morning. The thermometer read 10 degrees and the display showed 25 miles of remaining range — the electrical equivalent of someone having siphoned off more than two-thirds of the fuel that was in the tank when I parked.
Need to get a few of these off my chest:
- Haven’t done a hybrid car story here in a long time, but surely a Porsche hybrid calls for attention!
- Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” movie to be a 3D motion capture CGI film? Sure, why not? Like the initial reports that Roland Emmerich was directing it didn’t lower our expectations far enough…
- Hilarious bit of SEO: A story about Facebook logging-in techniques gets higher rankings on Google than your actual Facebook log-in page. Confusion ensues from the clueless who use Google to go everywhere. Seriously, there are still people who type Facebook into Google to go there, instead of just typing Facebook.com. Ugh
- I think I might still be drooling over the Canon T2i. And it’s only the entry level camera. This is nuts.
There was a time I covered hybrid cars pretty religiously. Then it got all hot and trendy and sucked the life out of me. But there’s some cool news every now and then that I can’t ignore.
That is all.
OK, one more thing: Toyota isn’t sure electric cars will be popular.
Haven’t had a hybrid update in a while, have I? Better late than never:
New Prius to be bigger, better | Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET – CNET Reviews
The new Prius will be 3 inches to 4 inches longer than the current model and it will get a 50 horsepower boost. Along with all that, it will get better fuel economy than the current model.
One of the reasons I like the tech of hybrid cars is that they don’t tax the power grid. You use gas to get them going, but they create extra energy (actually, save lost energy) by the proper use of technology when you brake.
For some reason, lots of people want a plug-in car, instead. I never got that. An electric car just means you need more electricity, which is something we don’t have an awful lot of. Nobody wants an electric power plant in their backyard. They’re not cheap. We’re just replacing one problem with another.
Well, now we have a study that shows a sharp rise in hybrid electric cars could present a problem:
Will plug-in hybrids stress the grid? | Green Tech blog – CNET News.com
Plug-in hybrids are coming. General Motors, Tesla Motors, Fisker Automotive and Toyota are all coming out with gas-electric cars that can be charged from a socket.The question now is can the grid handle it. The latest voice on the debate, Stan Hadley of the Cooling, Heating and Power Technologies Program at Oak Ridge National Laboratories, says it won’t be easy. Hadley examined 182 scenarios on how plug-ins might be used in different regions in the U.S. between 2020 and 2030. Hadley assumed a 25 percent penetration of plug-ins by 2020.
In a worst case scenario, Hadley postulated that the U.S. would need 160 new power plants to handle the requirements of these cars. The worst case scenario, though, assumes that the millions of plug-in owners would want to charge their car at 5 p.m., the tail end of peak power demand.
Blind advocates lobby for noisier hybrid cars | Tech news blog – CNET News.com
Hybrid cars may be on every environmentalist-cum-trend setter’s hot list, but their surging popularity is raising alarms among the blind and their advocates, who fear the near-silent vehicles could endanger lives.In recent months, the National Federation of the Blind has launched what is becoming an international lobbying campaign for legislation that encourages–or flat-out requires–automakers to install noisemaking technology to address those potential perils.
Go Sun Solutions – Volkswagen Going Hybrid
…a few months after announcing that they plan to put a hybrid engine in some of their compact models, V-Dub is taking all this hybrid talk a step further. Now, every upcoming VW model is scheduled to have a hybrid option, with some models hybrid-ready as early as next year.
Autocar – Next Accord to hit 60mpg
Honda’s next Accord will launch a new and ultra-clean range of diesel engines that could be capable of over 60mpg and, it claims, will be as clean as a petrol engine;
The Future of Things (TFOT)
The Pennsylvania based Lithium Technology Corporation recently demonstrated a new type of “plug-in” Toyota Prius hybrid car. The new model is based on advanced lithium iron phosphate battery which allows the hybrid car to travel up to a distance of 125 miles per gallon of fuel – making it possibly the most efficient mass-produced car in the world.
One Hybrid Priced Below Them All: Saturn Aura Green Line Lowest-Priced Hybrid At $22,695 – Jalopnik
Kudos to GM for not only finally bringing a sedan to the market to compete with the Camry — the Aura won NorAm Car of the Year — but then for bringing a hybrid model to the market. Oh and probably some more green-love today for pricing it below any other hybrid you can buy today. They’ve just announced pricing on the mean-grean four-door machine, and it’s got an out-the door MSRP of $22,695.
It’s the cheapest hybrid yet.
The Air Car – zero pollution and very low running costs – gizmag Article
Many respected engineers have been trying for years to bring a compressed air car to market, believing strongly that compressed air can power a viable “zero pollution” car. Now the first commercial compressed air car is on the verge of production and beginning to attract a lot of attention, and with a recently signed partnership with Tata, India’s largest automotive manufacturer, the prospects of very cost-effective mass production are now a distinct possibility. The MiniC.A.T is a simple, light urban car, with a tubular chassis that is glued not welded and a body of fibreglass. […]
Most importantly, it is incredibly cost-efficient to run – according to the designers, it costs less than one Euro per 100Km (about a tenth that of a petrol car). Its mileage is about double that of the most advanced electric car (200 to 300 km or 10 hours of driving), a factor which makes a perfect choice in cities where the 80% of motorists drive at less than 60Km. The car has a top speed of 68 mph.
Technology Review: The Incredible Shrinking Engine
. . .he shows off a turbocharger that could be bolted to the 2.4-liter engine; the engine, he adds, uses direct fuel injection rather than the port injection currently found in most cars. Both turbocharging and direct injection are preëxisting technologies, and neither looks particularly impressive. Indeed, used separately, they would lead to only marginal improvements in the performance of an internal-combustion engine. But by combining them, and augmenting them with a novel way to use a small amount of ethanol, Cohn and his colleagues have created a design that they believe could triple the power of a test engine, an advance that could allow automakers to convert small engines designed for economy cars into muscular engines with more than enough power for SUVs or sports cars. By extracting better performance from smaller, more efficient engines, the technology could lead to vehicles whose fuel economy rivals that of hybrids, which use both an electric motor and a gasoline engine. And that fuel efficiency could come at a fraction of the cost.
Geneva Motor Show: Toyota Hybrid-X concept – AutoblogGreen
Toyota unveiled the Hybrid-X concept, which is supposed to give the world a hint at the new design language for future Toyota hybrid vehicles. Presumably that means that what we see here will be reflected in the next generation Prius when it comes out next year along with other future vehicles. The concept has a low-slung one-box shape stretched over twenty inch wheels.