Shares of Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) slid more than 3% in Monday midday trading after an account of a test drive of its Model S sedan appeared in the New York Times.
The Times reviewer called the $101,000 luxury electric car a “technological wonder,” noting its sleek frame, large cabin and 17-inch touchscreen control system. However, during the test drive, the reviewer noticed that the battery was losing its charge much faster than predicted, forcing him to shut down vehicle systems including heat in order to stretch the car’s range to the next charging station. With the outside temperature at 30 degrees, the cabin quickly became cold.
The reviewer made it to the next charging station and spent an hour recharging the Model S. Parking it overnight in sub-freezing weather, he found the charge had diminished considerably by the next morning. Tesla officials recommended sitting in the car for half an hour with the heat on low to “condition” the battery.
After locating an alternate charging facility, the reviewer spent an hour recharging the car. Despite this, the shut down completely on the next leg of the trip, giving the him just enough warning to get off the interstate first. Tesla sent a flat bed truck to rescue the reviewer and the car.
Tesla officials told the Times reviewer that cold weather reduces the battery’s range.