Tesla Data Logging vs. NYTimes Journalist, who will win?

I got a chance to ride in a Tesla a couple of years ago with a salesman at an OSIsoft event.  OSIsoft is about data monitoring to show real time performance, so it felt natural to discuss the data logging feature of the Tesla.  It's a great feature to get data on how the car is performing and how it is being driven.  And, this feature is creating an interesting PR battle between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and NYTimes reporter John Broder.

The Public Editor's Journal just posted its investigation.

Conflicting Assertions Over an Electric Car Test Drive

2:53 p.m. | Updated Let me get this out of the way up front: This blog post will not be the definitive word on the contentious subject of a Times article in Sunday’s Automobiles section. It’s just an early effort to put some claims and counterclaims out there, while I continue to look into it.

I will keep reporting on this, and, for now, am simply telling readers what I know so far.

Elon Musk put his post out yesterday and they have learned from the creative reporting from Top Gear to always turn on data logging when loaning their cars out to the media.

After a negative experience several years ago with Top Gear, a popular automotive show, where they pretended that our car ran out of energy and had to be pushed back to the garage, we always carefully data log media drives. While the vast majority of journalists are honest, some believe the facts shouldn’t get in the way of a salacious story. In the case ofTop Gear, they had literally written the script before they even received the car (we happened to find a copy of the script on a table while the car was being “tested”). Our car never even had a chance.

The logs show again that our Model S never had a chance with John Broder. In the case with Top Gear, their legal defense was that they never actually said it broke down, they just implied that it could and then filmed themselves pushing what viewers did not realize was a perfectly functional car. In Mr. Broder’s case, he simply did not accurately capture what happened and worked very hard to force our car to stop running.

The NYTimes is preparing a response.

I will be interviewing Mr. Broder later on Thursday. When I reached him earlier, he said that he and his editors were working on a point-by-point response to Mr. Musk’s blog that would appear on The Times’s Wheels blog.An earlier post on that blog made an initial response on the matter, but that predated Mr. Musk’s release of the logs. I’ll link to the new post when it’s available.

Mr. Musk has not returned my call, made at about noon on Thursday. I eventually intend to ask him to fully release and “open source” the driving logs, along with whatever other data might be necessary for better understanding and interpretation.

But, what data does the NYTimes have?  I am looking forward to see what the NYTimes come up with.  Does the NYTimes have a secret data logging feature on their journalists?  :-)