Update: Tesla CEO Elon Musk has fired back. Read about it here. Our original post follows.
The notion of electric cars as the future of personal transport continues to enjoy wide popularity, pioneered in large part by upstart car company Tesla. But a recent report highlights one of biggest hurdles testing electric vehicles before becoming truly mainstream.
In a recent story, New York Times reporter John M. Broder tells of his recent experience test driving Motor Trend's Car of the Year, the 2013 Tesla Model S, focusing on the car's 265-mile estimated range. The range, rated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is expected to allow the driver to use the car's 85 kilowatt-hour battery to travel within the full range. However, during a test-drive from Washington, D.C. to Connecticut, the car fell short of the stated driving range, leaving the reporter stranded in cold winter weather and in need of a towing service.
Detailing the end of his journey, Broder wrote, "'Car is shutting down,' the computer informed me. I was able to coast down an exit ramp in Branford, Conn., before the car made good on its threat." Interestingly, even towing the vehicle wasn't without difficulty, as the car's parking brake would not release without battery power, forcing the tower to slowly drag the car onto his flatbed truck.
Playing the battery-saving game with your smartphone is one thing, but when traveling on wintery roads in the middle of nowhere, it could be troubling knowing that not even a Mophie back-up battery can save you if you run out of juice in the wrong place. So while the reporter did praise the car for its renowned technological innovations, the overall story paints a picture of a car that might not be ready for the average consumer looking for reliable long-trip transportation for some time to come.