Consumer Reports editors discount Tesla's potential for slowing climate change

Tesla's Model S is a large, premium all-electric car, but it is dwarfed by some of the behemoths produced by General Motors and other U.S. automakers, such as this gas-guzzling Buick Roadmaster from the 1990s.


By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

The editors of the Consumer Reports have been knocking themselves out in recent years, urging food shoppers to buy chicken raised without harmful antibiotics.

Consumers Union, the magazine's advocacy arm, has even tried to shame Trader Joe's into banishing from its shelves any meat or poultry raised on the growth promotant.

But on other important global issues, such as climate change, and air and noise pollution, the editors of Consumers Reports have failed us completely.

That's the only conclusion consumers can draw from the magazine's unexpected decision this week to drop its recommendation of the zero-emissions Tesla Model S.

Consumer Reports surveyed 1,400 Model S owners -- perhaps 1 in 10 -- who listed "a range of problems" involving "its drivetrain, power and charging equipment, body and sunroof squeaks, rattles and leaks," The New York Times reported.

I've owned a 2015 Model S 60 for more than 6 months, and have experienced none of those problems.

I didn't order a sunroof after hardly using the one in my 2010 Toyota Prius.


The Tesla logo.


Clearing the air

Responding to the survey -- "Tesla's reliability doesn't match its high performance" -- company CEO Elon Musk said "a lot of early production cars" were included, and problems have already been addressed "in new cars."

Musk also noted the magazine has said 97% of owners would buy another Tesla -- the highest satisfaction rating of any car it has ever tested.

Still, the bigger omission is that Consumer Reports still evaluates cars on the basis of their performance, and doesn't give them an environmental rating -- this more than 15 years after the first gas-electric hybrid was brought to the United States.

Reliability problems experienced by a minority of owners are one thing:

What about the potential of a growing number of Teslas and other all-electric cars to slow climate change?

Air and noise pollution also will be eased as more Americans buy EVs.

The fixation of the automotive media, including Consumer Reports, on 0-60 times is ill-suited at a time when many drivers spend a good deal of their day in horrendous traffic, choking on fumes from other vehicles.



The charging port on a Tesla Model S.

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