Elon Musk, Wall Street Hit Back at New York Times Over Model S (Update 1)

Updated from 12:52 p.m. to include comments from The New York Times spokeswoman.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Elon Musk wants The New York Times to eat his proverbial dust.

In a blog post, the Tesla Motors ( TSLA) CEO has hit back at The New York Times ( NYT) writer John Broder, accusing the journalist of bending the truth in a recent controversial test drive. "You are a news organization where that principle is of paramount importance and what is at stake for sustainable transport is simply too important to the world to ignore," Musk wrote in his scathing retort.

Last week, Broder published an article saying that, in a test drive, Tesla's Model S did not perform well under harsh weather conditions. Musk, a one-time executive at PayPal (now a division of ( eBay ( EBAY)), sent out a series of tweets soon after the report was published, deriding the test drive was "fake." In his subsequent blog post on Wednesday, Musk cited data logs from the car's test drive, noting that Broder did not in fact run out of energy, among other charges, as the reporter claimed.

In an emailed response, The New York Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said, "As we have said previously, our story was fair and accurate. We plan to post a more detailed response to Tesla's latest assertions after we have had an opportunity to review them in detail."

TheStreet has reached out to Tesla to do its own test drive of the Model S.

Here are Musk's key points, as they appear in his blog post:

As the State of Charge log shows, the Model S battery never ran out of energy at any time, including when Broder called the flatbed truck.

The final leg of his trip was 61 miles and yet he disconnected the charge cable when the range display stated 32 miles. He did so expressly against the advice of Tesla personnel and in obvious violation of common sense.

In his article, Broder claims that "the car fell short of its projected range on the final leg." Then he bizarrely states that the screen showed "Est. remaining range: 32 miles" and the car traveled "51 miles," contradicting his own statement (see images below). The car actually did an admirable job exceeding its projected range. Had he not insisted on doing a nonstop 61-mile trip while staring at a screen that estimated half that range, all would have been well. He constructed a no-win scenario for any vehicle, electric or gasoline.

On that leg, he drove right past a public charge station while the car repeatedly warned him that it was very low on range.

Cruise control was never set to 54 mph as claimed in the article, nor did he limp along at 45 mph. Broder in fact drove at speeds from 65 mph to 81 mph for a majority of the trip and at an average cabin temperature setting of 72 F.

At the point in time that he claims to have turned the temperature down, he in fact turned the temperature up to 74 F.

The charge time on his second stop was 47 mins, going from -5 miles (reserve power) to 209 miles of Ideal or 185 miles of EPA Rated Range, not 58 mins as stated in the graphic attached to his article. Had Broder not deliberately turned off the Supercharger at 47 mins and actually spent 58 mins Supercharging, it would have been virtually impossible to run out of energy for the remainder of his stated journey.

For his first recharge, he charged the car to 90%. During the second Supercharge, despite almost running out of energy on the prior leg, he deliberately stopped charging at 72%. On the third leg, where he claimed the car ran out of energy, he stopped charging at 28%. Despite narrowly making each leg, he charged less and less each time. Why would anyone do that?

The above helps explain a unique peculiarity at the end of the second leg of Broder's trip. When he first reached our Milford, Connecticut Supercharger, having driven the car hard and after taking an unplanned detour through downtown Manhattan to give his brother a ride, the display said "0 miles remaining." Instead of plugging in the car, he drove in circles for over half a mile in a tiny, 100-space parking lot. When the Model S valiantly refused to die, he eventually plugged it in. On the later legs, it is clear Broder was determined not to be foiled again.

How Tesla Plans to Revolutionize the Electric Car

When Musk refuted the claims on Monday, Wall Street seemed to believe him. Shares moved off their lows after his appearance on CNBC and the tweets, settling at $38.42, above the days low of $37.50.

Jefferies analyst Elaine Kwei noted that the reason for the problems was likely due to an operator error, stemming from improper charging protocol. "After digging into the background behind the article, our conclusion is that operator error likely played a primary role, due to improper charging protocol," Kwei wrote in her report. She rates Tesla shares "buy" with a $45 price target.

In the past, Tesla has indicated drivers could lose up to 10% of driving range on extremely cold weather days, similar to a combustion engine vehicle, Kwei said in her research.

Shares of Telsa were higher in Thursday trading, up 0.39% to $38.60.

--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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