When covering the Obama administration, The Gray Lady is a pretty easy date. But when it comes to electric cars, the paper of record is apparently doing Woodward and Bernstein level journalism. Earlier today, the Times published a piece by automotive writer John Broder who chronicles his attempt to drive a $100,000 Tesla Model S from Washington DC to Boston. His trip gets cut short because, well, it’s cold outside.
I began following Tesla’s range-maximization guidelines, which meant dispensing with such battery-draining amenities as warming the cabin and keeping up with traffic. I turned the climate control to low — the temperature was still in the 30s — and planted myself in the far right lane with the cruise control set at 54 miles per hour (the speed limit is 65). Buicks and 18-wheelers flew past, their drivers staring at the nail-polish-red wondercar with California dealer plates.
Nearing New York, I made the first of several calls to Tesla officials about my creeping range anxiety. The woman who had delivered the car told me to turn off the cruise control; company executives later told me that advice was wrong. All the while, my feet were freezing and my knuckles were turning white.
Read the whole thing as they say, but to make a long story short (or a short trip long), it takes Broder two days, a number of calls to Tesla’s Tech Support, and hours of charging stops to compete a trip that normally takes about 8 hours. If this is the future of motoring, call AAA immediately.
Look, all new technologies have issues, especially when batteries are involved (ask Boeing). These things generally get fixed over time. So until this one gets solved I have a simple, low tech fix for the engineers at Tesla: equip each Model S with a really long extension cord.