“Theory can be trumped by reality, especially when Northeast temperatures plunge” writes New York Times reporter John Broder who recently took a test drive in a $100,000+ electric Tesla sedan.

Broder writes that due to the to the cold temperatures, his Tesla lost enormous amounts of battery power during his trip, even though at times he drove without using the heater.

I drove, slowly, to Stonington, Conn., for dinner and spent the night in Groton, a total distance of 79 miles. When I parked the car, its computer said I had 90 miles of range, twice the 46 miles back to Milford. It was a different story at 8:30 the next morning. The thermometer read 10 degrees and the display showed 25 miles of remaining range — the electrical equivalent of someone having siphoned off more than two-thirds of the fuel that was in the tank when I parked.

While driving to the closest charging station Broder reports that his car shut down leaving him cold and stranded on the side of the highway until the company called for a tow truck.

The car’s electrically actuated parking brake would not release without battery power, and hooking the car’s 12-volt charging post behind the front grille to the tow truck’s portable charger would not release the brake. So he had to drag it onto the flatbed, a painstaking process that took 45 minutes. Fortunately, the cab of the tow truck was toasty.

Read the full piece here.