So earlier this week, when Josh Broder wrote a damning review of the Tesla's Model S’s performance under cold weather conditions for the New York Times, it became another example of a high-profile institution delivering a potentially game-breaking verdict to Tesla Motors at a critical point in their growth.
Broder’s piece is an engaging, well-written account of his drive from Washington to New York; it ends with his Model S car dead on the side of a highway, as a tow truck crew struggles to get it onto a flatbed truck. He claims to have run out of charge prematurely, and generally complains of the difficulties he had getting the car from point A to B.
Usually, that would have been the end of it. A scathing review comes out, and the company in question has its PR team work on damage control. Instead, Elon Musk, after consulting with his engineers, called the review “fake.”
What Broder didn’t know was that ever since a previous incident, the Tesla Motors team had taken to enabling tracking data on all cars they gave to the media. Everything from distance, to time spent at charging stations, to the speed and location of the vehicle at any given moment were recorded and stored at Tesla HQ. Musk promised he would post the data and prove all of Broder’s claims false, using the exact telemetry from his test drive.