Things degenerated from there.
Not plugged in overnight
"Virtually everyone says that I should have plugged in the car overnight in Connecticut, particularly given the cold temperature," Broder writes in his followup.
Plugging in the car overnight, even on 110-Volt power, lets the Tesla Model S use grid power to warm its battery pack, keeping it at a temperature that maximizes range.
He then defends his decision not to do so by noting that he was supposed to be testing the SuperCharger network--and that the car showed sufficient range to return to the nearest SuperCharger location.
"This evaluation was intended to demonstrate [the Model S's] practicality as a 'normal use,' no-compromise car, as Tesla markets it," he continues.
And he sneers at the idea that Model S buyers will all be "electric-car acolytes who will plug in at every Walmart stop," if Tesla expects to be a "mass-market automaker."
We find that line of reasoning a little disingenuous with the Tesla Model S on sale less than a year.
Electric cars are still an almost unknown quantity among mass-market buyers--who generally don't look at luxury sport sedans whose prices start at $59,900 and can reach $100,000 anyhow.
Data logs, graphs, maps, and annotations
Late last night, the Tesla Motors post, A Most Peculiar Test Drive, finally appeared with Musk's name as author--scooped merely minutes beforehand by the Wired Autopia blog.
It told the story with some remarkably different details.
Musk dives in by saying Broder's article "does not factually represent Tesla technology, which is designed and tested to operate well in both hot and cold climates."
And, he notes, "About half of all Tesla Roadster and Model S customers drive in temperatures well below freezing in winter."
'Never had a chance'?
The data logs for Broder's car show, Musk writes, "that our Model S never had a chance with John Broder."
Then Tesla dives into nine separate points where it says the data logs contradict Broder's published claims, among them:
The post includes five data-log graphs, an annotated version of the original New York Times infographic, an annotated route map, and a map showing all chargers en route.
The post also suggests at several points that Broder's motives were less than unbiased: "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."
The discrepancies raised in Tesla's post, if accurate, are deeply disturbing.
They appear to indicate that Broder's article was not factual on numerous points. That means that either his reporting and note-taking were sloppy, at best, or that he omitted or concealed relevant facts that would add important context to his claims.