Diggin' technology every day

May 9, 2013

Lost almost all respect for Consumer Reports today

Filed under: Random Thought — Tags: — Nate @ 10:30 pm

I was getting my morning dose of CNBC this morning(I’m not an investor – I watch CNBC purely for entertainment purposes) when news came over the wire that Tesla had gotten a 99/100 rating on their ultra luxury green car by Consumer Reports.

I watched the interview with the guy at Consumer Reports and I was shocked, and I still am. A bit disgusted too.

Let me start out by saying I have no issues with the car itself. I’m sure it’s a fine automobile. My issue is with the double talking standard of Consumer Reports in this particular case.

(forgive me the quotes will not be precise, see the video link above for the full interview)

The guy who wrote this report starts off by saying it’s better than the other $90,000 cars in it’s price range… (also goes on to say it’s better than pretty much ANY car they have EVER EVER EVER TESTED — not just better than any other electric car — ANY CAR)


It is an electric car, while it has a long range compared to other electric cars, I can take a Toyota Corolla and drive to Cleveland from New York  — I can’t do that in this car yet.

You can only go about 200 miles before charging it up, that is a severe limitation. (those last two are his words)

CNBC goes on to quote him as saying If you leave it unplugged, you experience what you describe as a parasitic loss of energy(Consumer Report’s words) that amounts to 12-15 miles per day, and asks him on that topic. He responds –

The concern is this is a new vehicle from a new automaker and there’s going to be growing pains. If you’re really looking for something to be trouble free off the bat – look elsewhere (his words too!)

I’m really glad I saw the interview. My disgust here is not with the car. I have no doubt it is a fine car! I think many people should go buy it. But if these sorts of flaws knock only a single point off the score ….that just seems wrong. Very wrong.  Especially the last bit — if you want something to be trouble free look elsewhere — for something that got rated 99 out of 100!!!

He goes on to talk about how it takes 30 minutes to charge the battery to half strength at one of Tesla’s charging stations. He thinks people would be happier (duh) if they could fully charge it in four minutes.

CNBC half seriously asked him if you could charge a Tesla from a hotel room power outlet. Consumer reports guy said yes but it would take a VERY long time.

People buying this $90k car obviously are not concerned about the price of gas. It’s really more for the image of trying to show your green than anything else, which is sad in itself(you can be more green by buying carbon offset credits – folks that can afford a $90k car should have no trouble buying some). But that’s fine.

Again my issue isn’t with the car. It’s with the rating. Maybe it should be a 75, or an 85. I don’t know. If it was me I’d knock at least 20 points off for the lack of range and lack of charging stations alone. Now if gas was say fifteen dollars a gallon I could see giving it some good credit for saving on that.

I think what Tesla is doing is probably a good thing, it seems like decent technology, good (relative to other electric vehicles) range. Likely can’t take it on a road trip between SFO and Seattle any time soon..

I have relied at least in part on Consumer Reports for a few different purchases I have made (including my current car – which if I recall right Consumer Reports had no rating on it at the time it was too new. One of my friends just bought the 2013 model year of my car a few weeks ago).  It was extremely disappointing to see this result today. Maybe I should not of been surprised. I don’t pay too close attention to what Consumer Reports does, I check them usually once every couple years at most. This may be par for the course for them.

Internet tech review sites have often had a terrible reputation for giving incorrect ratings for some reason or another (most often it seems to be because they want to keep getting free stuff from the vendors). I had thought(hoped) Consumer Reports was in a sort of league by itself for independent reporting.

I think at the end of the day the rating doesn’t matter – people who are in the market for a $90k car will do their homework. It just sort of reeks to me of a back room deal or perhaps a bunch of hippies over at Consumer reports dreaming of a future where all vehicles are electric, never mind the fact the power grid can’t handle it. (I can hear the voice of Cartman in the back of my head – Screw you hippies!). Tesla wants all the positive press they can get after all.

So let’s see. We have a perfect score of 99/100 along which we have the words severe limitation, parasitic loss of energy, and look elsewhere if you want a trouble free experience ……..

I’ll say it one more time – my problem is with the perfect rating of 99/100 not with the car itself.

Powered by WordPress