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Elon Musk Vs. John Broder of NYTimes

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Damage, Feb 15, 2013.

  1. Damage

    Damage ****face

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    Quick recap of what's going on here:

    1. Elon Musk, owner of Tesla Motors (and many other things that make him a billionaire) had his car, the Tesla S, a clean battery powered car, test driven by NYTimes writer John Broder. One of Musk's main goals is to get Tesla charging stations across the U.S. (there are many on the east coast).
    2. Broder test drove the car from Boston to DC. Suffice to say, it didn't go well, per his accounts - http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/10/automobiles/stalled-on-the-ev-highway.html?ref=automobiles&_r=1&

    In a nut shell, Broder is asserting that the Tesla S doesn't give you as great of a performance as Musk claims, that the car ran out of battery power ("ran short of it's projected range on its final leg"), that the charge time was much longer than anticipated, that he had to set his cruise control to 54 (in a 65MPH hwy), that he had to turn his Temperature down to 64, eventually culminated with the Tesla S stalling out and needing a flatbed.

    This is not good news for Tesla and it's shareholders, who could revolutionize the auto industry and eliminate our need for oil and who also received car of the year awards from many independent publications. But here is why it gets interesting

    1. Broder isn't the NYTimes main car writer. While this may (or may not) matter at face value, it does when he is one of their oil industry reporters (90% of his articles are about Oil - http://topics.nytimes.com/top/refer.../b/john_m_broder/index.html?offset=0&s=newest)
    2. After his article was published, Tesla's stock dropped

    But thankfully science prevails. Behold - Tesla's car log's (http://www.slashgear.com/tesla-tears-down-nyt-model-s-review-with-cars-own-logs-14269310/)
    Another source (http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/...ogs-that-show-the-new-york-times-blatant-lies)

    The logs show that Broder lied about everything.

    1.He turned the heat up, not down, when the automated system told him not to (his avg cabin temp was 72)
    2. he passed several charging stations when he was given a warning that his battery was low
    3. he drove around in many circles, at the charging station mind you, leading to the battery to die and him needing a flatbed
    4. most damning, he disconnected the charge cable when the range displayed 32 miles - even though the final leg of his trip was 61 miles. In other words, he didn't complete his charge.

    In short, it appears Broder changed the facts of his findings to fill whatever agenda(s) he may have.

    CNN's car reporters asked to test drive the same car and the same route (*note that the temperature was warmer when the CNN guys did it, which does have an effect on the battery power, but only 12-16%). The result? They made it to Boston with 96 miles to spare with no issues. I want to see these logs as well.

    Personal note: I loath people who curb technological breakthroughs, especially when they can effect so many people. Sure, Tesla's prices are large (40-100K) - but this is just the start. Prices will drop, and Tesla will make much more affordable cars.

    Not completing your charge would be akin to saying, "Hey, i get 25 miles a gallon and work is only 23 miles away - I'll only put in 1 gallon and see what happens". It's asinine and, based on Broder's connection to big oil, is pretty despicable. Tesla's stock is up again, but let's assume it didn't (which happens all the time - you get bullshit reports from "analysts" with an agenda that causes a stock to drop - making very few rich and many fucked). Then what?

    Coming from someone who has worked in the clean energy field, this hits home. And it really pisses me off.
     
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  2. Jack Brickman

    Jack Brickman Preview Team

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    I got to drive that Tesla car that's like 120k (the one that looks like a really expensive sports car). My company owns one, along with a bunch of the cheaper models. It was pretty awesome.

    If I had a spare 120k lying around, I'd totally buy one. It would also help if my apartment complex had electric chargers, which it does not.
     
  3. MRMsix6

    MRMsix6 All-Star

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    The part where he drove around in circles in the parking lot for a whole 0.6 miles to "drain the battery" gets me every time.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 15, 2013
  4. Maximus

    Maximus BANNED Staff Member

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    This doesn't sound nearly as sinister as the original post...



    February 14, 2013, 6:10 pm263 Comments

    That Tesla Data: What It Says and What It Doesn’t

    By JOHN M. BRODER


    John M. Broder/The New York Times The Model S at the Tesla Supercharger in the Interstate 95 service plaza in Milford, Conn.

    Elon Musk , the chief executive of Tesla Motors, has now responded in detail to the account of my test drive of his Model S electric car, using the company’s new East Coast Superchargers, that was published in The Times on Feb. 10. His broadest charge is that I consciously set out to sabotage the test. That is not so. I was delighted to receive the assignment to try out the company’s new East Coast Supercharger network and as I previously noted in no way anticipated – or deliberately caused – the troubles I encountered.

    The test was initially proposed by Tesla to Times editors, and the company arranged the timing, which came during a cold snap on the East Coast. It is fair to say that when I set out I did not fully appreciate how much of an effect the freezing temperatures would have on the travel range of the car.

    Since 2009, I have been the Washington bureau reporter responsible for coverage of energy, environment and climate change. I have written numerous articles about the auto industry and several vehicle reviews for the Automobiles pages. (In my 16 years at The Times I have served as White House correspondent, Washington editor, Los Angeles bureau chief and a political correspondent.)

    Before I set out in the Model S, I did speak with the company’s chief technology officer, J B Straubel, about the charging network and some of the car’s features and peculiarities. Neither he nor the Tesla representative who delivered the car to me provided detailed instructions on maximizing the driving range, the impact of cold weather on battery strength or how to get the most out of the Superchargers or the publicly available lower-power charging ports along the route.

    About three hours into the trip, I placed the first of about a dozen calls to Tesla personnel expressing concern about the car’s declining range and asking how to reach the Supercharger station in Milford, Conn. I was given battery-conservation advice at that time (turn off the cruise control; alternately slow down and speed up to take advantage of regenerative braking) that was later contradicted by other Tesla personnel. I was on the phone with a Tesla engineer in California when I arrived, with zero miles showing on the range meter, at the Milford Supercharger.

    [​IMG]
    A Google Maps screenshot of the Milford, Conn., service plaza with the Tesla Supercharger indicated with a blue marker

    Beginning early in the morning of my second day with the car, after the projected range had dropped precipitously while parked overnight, I spoke numerous times with Christina Ra, Tesla’s spokeswoman at the time, and Ted Merendino, a Tesla product planner at the company’s headquarters in California. They told me that the loss of battery power when parked overnight could be restored by properly “conditioning” the battery, a half-hour process, which I undertook by sitting in the car with the heat on low, as they instructed. That proved ineffective; the conditioning process actually reduced the range by 24 percent (to 19 miles, from 25 miles).

    It was also Tesla that told me that an hour of charging (at a lower power level) at a public utility in Norwich, Conn., would give me adequate range to reach the Supercharger 61 miles away, even though the car’s range estimator read 32 miles – because, again, I was told that moderate-speed driving would “restore” the battery power lost overnight. That also proved overly optimistic, as I ran out of power about 14 miles shy of the Milford Supercharger and about five miles from the public charging station in East Haven that I was trying to reach.

    To reiterate: Tesla personnel told me over the phone that they were able to monitor the state of the battery. It was they who cleared me to leave Norwich after an hour of charging. I spoke at some length with Mr. Straubel and Ms. Ra six days after the trip, and asked for the data they had collected from my drive, to compare against my notes and recollections. Mr. Straubel said they were able to monitor “certain things” remotely and that the company could store and retrieve “typical diagnostic information on the powertrain.”

    Mr. Straubel said Tesla did not store data on exact locations where their cars were driven because of privacy concerns, although Tesla seemed to know that I had driven six-tenths of a mile “in a tiny 100-space parking lot.” While Mr. Musk has accused me of doing this to drain the battery, I was in fact driving around the Milford service plaza on Interstate 95, in the dark, trying to find the unlighted and poorly marked Tesla Supercharger. He did not share that data, which Tesla has now posted online, with me at the time.

    Here are point-by-point responses to specific assertions Mr. Musk has made:

    • “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 car’s display screen said the car was shutting down, and it did. The car did not have enough power to move, or even enough to release the electrically operated parking brake. The tow truck driver was on the phone with Tesla’s New York service manager, Adam Williams, for 15 or 20 minutes as he was trying to move the car onto a 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.”

    The Tesla personnel whom I consulted over the phone – Ms. Ra and Mr. Merendino – told me to leave it connected for an hour, and after that the lost range would be restored. I did not ignore their advice.

    • “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.”

    The phrase “the car fell short of its projected range” appeared in a caption with an accompanying map; it was not in the article. What that referred to (and admittedly could have been more precise) was that the car fell short of the projected range, 90 miles, that it showed when I parked it overnight at a hotel in Groton, Conn.

    Tesla is correct that the car did exceed the projected range of 32 miles when I left Norwich, as I was driving slowly, and it gave me hope that the Tesla employee I’d consulted was correct that the mileage lost overnight was being restored. It wasn’t enough, however, to get to Milford.

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

    If there was a public charging station nearby, no one made me aware of it. The Tesla person with whom I was in contact located on the Internet a public charging station in East Haven, Conn., and that is the one I was trying to reach when the car stalled in Branford, about five miles shy of East Haven.

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

    I drove normally (at the speed limit or with prevailing traffic) when I thought it was prudent to do so. I do recall setting the cruise control to about 54 m.p.h., as I wrote. The log shows the car traveling about 60 m.p.h. for a nearly 100-mile stretch on the New Jersey Turnpike. I cannot account for the discrepancy, nor for a later stretch in Connecticut where I recall driving about 45 m.p.h., but it may be the result of the car being delivered with 19-inch wheels and all-season tires, not the specified 21-inch wheels and summer tires. That just might have affected the recorded speed, range, rate of battery depletion or any number of other parameters. Tesla’s data suggests I was doing slightly more than 50 over a stretch where the speed limit was 65. The traffic was heavy in that part of Connecticut, so cruise control was not usable, and I tried to keep the speed at 50 or below without impeding traffic.

    Certainly, and as Tesla’s logs clearly show, much of my driving was at or well below the 65 m.p.h. speed limit, with only a single momentary spike above 80. Most drivers are aware that cars can speed up, even sometimes when cruise control is engaged, on downhill stretches.

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

    I raised and lowered the cabin heat in an effort to strike a balance between saving energy and staying somewhat comfortable. (It was 30 degrees outside when I began the trip, and the temperature plunged that night to 10 degrees.) Tesla jumped to the conclusion that I claimed to have lowered the cabin temperature “at 182 miles,” but I never wrote that. The data clearly indicates that I sharply lowered the temperature setting – twice – a little over 200 miles into the trip. After the battery was charged I tried to warm the cabin.

    • “The charge time on his second stop was 47 minutes, going from —5 miles (reserve power) to 209 miles of Ideal or 185 miles of E.P.A. Rated Range, not 58 minutes 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.”

    According to my notes, I plugged into the Milford Supercharger at 5:45 p.m. and disconnected at 6:43 p.m. The range reading was 185 miles.

    • “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?”

    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. 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.

    • “The above helps explain a unique peculiarity at the end of the second leg of Broder’s trip. When he first reached our Milford, Conn., 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.”

    I drove around the Milford service plaza in the dark looking for the Supercharger, which is not prominently marked. I was not trying to drain the battery. (It was already on reserve power.) As soon as I found the Supercharger, I plugged the car in.

    The stop in Manhattan was planned from the beginning and known to Tesla personnel all along. According to Google Maps, taking the Lincoln Tunnel into Manhattan (instead of crossing at the George Washington Bridge) and driving up the West Side Highway added only two miles to the overall distance from Newark, Del., to Milford, Conn.

    Neither I nor the Model S ever visited “downtown Manhattan.”

    • “When I first heard about what could at best be described as irregularities in Broder’s behavior during the test drive, I called to apologize for any inconvenience that he may have suffered and sought to put my concerns to rest, hoping that he had simply made honest mistakes. That was not the case.”

    Mr. Musk not only apologized, he said the charging stations should be 60 miles closer together and offered me a second test drive when additional stations were built.
     
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  5. The Oi

    The Oi Or Also Schtick

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    Damage strikes again...

    But seriously, you have to charge the thing for AN HOUR every time you need to stop along your route? What a massive waste of time. God forbid you need to be somewhere on time and the stupid thing isn't charged.


    Technology seems cool, but practicality hasn't caught up yet.
     
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  6. Damage

    Damage ****face

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    Ok...your point? Musk and every engineer/scientist/etc has admitted as such. What is your point?
     
  7. Damage

    Damage ****face

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    Musk has refuted most of this, but whatever, Side with Big Oil (shocker).

    EDIT: that was suppose to come off as jovial but I realized it didn't. What bothers me still is that you're taking this guys article as fact, when Musk has actual facts that support his claims.Not saying either side is right or wrong, but it doesn't appear as if Broder is being 100% honest.

    Anyways, there's no denying that the technology is awesome and Musk is a great person to have pioneering our future. He knows this is in an early test form. However, if you look at Broder's literature, something you did fail to bring up, he is very much in favor of oil. Maybe that had nothing to do with his write up, maybe it had everything to do with it. Point is he is disingenuous at the very least and in someone's pocket at the very worst.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2013
  8. Chardon

    Chardon Hall of Farmer

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    You of all people on RCF can't talk about what I have bolded. You are the worst offender of making premature facts and stories that turn out to be fake or false.


    This car isn't practical right now. What if you wanted to drive across country? You can't.
     
  9. The Oi

    The Oi Or Also Schtick

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    Why so defensive? I stated my point and apparently every engineer and scientist involved in creating the car agree that it's basically useless :chuckles:

    Pioneers get slaughtered...
     
  10. Damage

    Damage ****face

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    Check my re-edit "Not saying either side is right or wrong, but it doesn't appear as if Broder is being 100% honest." Which is called a fucking opinion based around facts which are supported by car logs and not some guys opinion (a guy who happens to write for and about big oil for a living).

    And no shit, tiny. It's stated countless times in those articles that you can't go more than 300Miles.
     
  11. Damage

    Damage ****face

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    Not defensive at all. I still don't know what your point was. All of what you said is common knowledge (i.e. don't be a dumbfuck and not charge your car less than the amount of miles you need to travel).
     
  12. Soda

    Soda Bania'd

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    Not surprised to hear a big oil honk try to deflate accolades stemming from clean energy. Unfortunately, this is the society we live in. Big money can suppress a lot. What irks me is that clean energy is clearly something we need to keep pushing for as we can't depend on oil forever. Big oil wants us to depend on it forever, regardless of what the ramifications of having no oil left means. Great stuff that Musk had the facts from the vehicle to support his side of the argument. Fucking tool.
     
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  13. The Oi

    The Oi Or Also Schtick

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    Damage,

    It's not about "being a dumbfuck." It's about having a product that deserves mass consumption.

    I'm in support of clean energy 100%. But I also recognize that old (read oil) habits die hard and that if you want to bring a successful product to the marketplace for mass consumption, it needs to be not only more effective but more convenient too.

    When a car is brought to the market that doesn't require an hour of downtime in order to charge, then we're past this argument.

    Pioneers get slaughtered, settlers prosper. Tesla's the pioneer and they themselves have admitted their producy is impractical. I'm sure there's future settlers out there in the laboratory right now working on something more convenient.

    What Tesla is doing is noble, but they're most likely going to be a failed company that a successful company learns from or just provide partnerships with larger companies, which they are doing now.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 15, 2013
  14. RTrees

    RTrees Banned

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    Wait.. they advised him to alternately speed up and slow down to take advantage of regenerative breaking?

    Anybody want to show me how that produces more energy than you used to speed up the car in the first place?

    Either they didn't advise him to do that, or they don't understand some basic energy conservation laws of physics. And it's their product.

    You're not going to create more energy than you use to create the speed needed to brake. F=ma and W=Fd. If anything that should eat up more energy than just going one constant speed. What am I missing?

    Is there some kind of nuclear reaction embedded in the breaking system?
     
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  15. metalman213

    metalman213 In the Rotation

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    http://auto.howstuffworks.com/auto-parts/brakes/brake-types/regenerative-braking.htm
     
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  16. Damage

    Damage ****face

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    Here's the thing: they're both right & they're both wrong (they being Musk and Broder). The technology is brilliant and it is a game changer. Musk is the very type of innovator to pave the way for breakthroughs in technology. He's not some nameless person, working out of a basement, creating a water-run engine (not discrediting Stanley Meyer, as he was brilliant, but he wasn't as well known or as well funded as Musk is). So to discredit Tesla because it's essentially in the birth stage of the product life cycle is asinine.

    However, Musk has to know that it is Broder's job to be 100% objective, even if Broder was not (not saying he wasn't, but those logs look damning). Point being, if you're going to throw the new Tesla S out there, you have to be aware of the negatives and the corresponding feedback. What Broder reported isn't new news: Musk has stated that they need a lot more charging stations. Again, one of his goals, along with making these cars much more affordable and for the charge to last longer, is to get them lined up across the U.S.

    The biggest issue I have is the conflict of interest with Broder. Let's say he did do this test drive with an awesome, unbiased attitude. It doesn't matter because of the columns he's linked to. Bad job on Broder for accepting the assignment, worse job on NYTimes for assigning him (this is, unless, Musk handpicked him).
     
  17. Damage

    Damage ****face

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    Lol. You do realize how much money Elon Musk has. You do realize this car, this concept, and more importantly, this company has been championed by almost everyone. There's a reason TSLA is getting AAPL stock level buzz (well, before hedge funds decided to sell their shares of AAPL and make a killing while killing everyone else, me included lol)

    Shut up.
     
  18. The Oi

    The Oi Or Also Schtick

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    Just because he has money doesn't mean ALL of his companies are going to succeed. If it tanks, is he just going to keep pumping money into a failed business? If people aren't buying it because it's impractical, does he just keep throwing money at the problem? I just don't see enough success in the near future to sustain it. Long term, the technology should be great once it's practical enough to actually be...uh...driven. But for now, it seems doomed to fail.

    For an entrepeneur with an MBA, your lack of business sense is astounding at times...
     
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    Last edited: Feb 15, 2013
  19. Damage

    Damage ****face

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    :chuckles:

    He has more money than god. And this isn't a failed business. Read up on them and the future growth potential (low and high multipliers). Again, we all know the prices are not economical for everyone. As the price decreases and the driving range(s) increase, it's going to explode (because let's face it: Prius's, while noble and awesome for the environment, look more butch than Subaru's).

    EDIT: Explain to me why you think it's "doomed to fail"? How can't it be driven? 300 miles isn't a lot for your average commuter, twinkle toes.
     
  20. RTrees

    RTrees Banned

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    Yeah, you didn't understand my question. I understand how regenerative breaking works, which is why I asked the question in the first place. Please reread my question.

    Unless the guy starts his car from the top of a mountain to take advantage of gravitational forces, you're not going to create new energy with regenerative braking. You're going to save some of the energy you would normally waste when you're braking, but if you don't need to brake at all, like you're trying to get somewhere, it's actually wasteful to speed up and slow down.

    If you're out of juice and you need to get to point B, accelerating and braking is going to decrease your chances of getting there. I'm very doubtful that anybody from Tesla Motors gave this guy that advice, and if they did they were completely incompetent, to the point of shooting their own company selves in the foot.

    If it worked as you seem to be implying by linking me to this post (it doesn't answer my question though), or the way the writer's implying or advice giver from Tesla is implying (I really don't think they said that), then the world's energy problems would be solved. You'd never have to charge this car if that process created net energy. You could drive across the country by speeding up and slowing down, and I'm fairly certain that's not the case. Tesla Motors might mention it if it were, as they'd be instant zillionaires.

    Anybody who wants to investigate the overall truth of this story needs to focus on this part of the article. They need to find out who gave this guy that advice (if he didn't make it up) and hold their feet to the fire. Maybe it's bad customer service, but it's hard to believe somebody would take such an amateur idea and claim it to be the company line in how to deal with the problem of running out of power. I'm guessing they won't find that person, because if they did then they will have found the person who will win the next nobel prize in physics. I'm not holding my breath.

    If the driver was doing this, speeding up and slowing down, even with regenerative braking, he was the cause of his own loss of power, or somebody gave him advice that amounts to sabotage of what this experiment was supposed to be about. Ask any person with a degree in physics and they'll tell you the same thing. Promise.

    Find the person that answered that phone to crack this case wide open. Up until now it's just a he said she said. Either that guy was given counterproductive advice or he wasn't. I bet they never find the person who told him that, but if they do, if that person exists, they won't be working there anymore after this.
     

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