The critical misunderstanding between Broder and Tesla

I believe that the main conflict between the New York Times and Tesla lies in a big misunderstanding between Tesla employees and Broder. Apparently, Tesla employees have advised Broder to fully charge at the Milford Supercharger, which he did not do. He stopped the charging, because he obviously had enough range to make it to Norwich, the next charging station.

I stopped at 72 percent because I had replenished more than enough energy for the miles I intended to drive the next day before fully recharging on my way back to New York.

However, the charger in Norwich is not a Supercharger, but a normal, slower charger. Broder claims that Tesla has explicitly told him that charging the Model S for one hour at the Norwich charger was enough to make it back to Milford.

In Norwich, I charged for an hour on the lower-power charger, expressly on the instructions of Tesla personnel, to get enough range to reach the Supercharger station in Milford.

But if the Tesla employees actually said that, they would have presumed that Broder followed their advice to charge fully at Milford, which would have provided him with more charge on his way back. However, that did not happen. So when Broder charged the Model S at Norwich for one hour, “just as Tesla had told him”, he obviously did not have enough range to make it back to the Milford Supercharger. The car even told him that it would only make 32 miles, not the 61 miles needed.

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.

So why did Elon Musk write that Broder stopped the charging "against the advice of Tesla personnel"? Because Tesla employees never told Broder to actually stop at 32 miles of range. Broder however relates his statement that he charged "expressly on the instructions of Tesla personnel" on the advice to charge for one hour at Norwich. In conclusion, both Musk and Broder are somewhat telling the truth.

To catch up on the story, I recommend this New York Times graphic and my blog post.