In a striking sign of the future to come, the car-kingmakers at Motor Trend magazine have for the first time named an all-electric vehicle their Car of the Year. The Tesla Model S is the first car without an internal combustion engine to win the coveted award. It's also much-loved by PopSci, FYI.
And for the first time since anyone can remember, the winner was a unanimous choice, according to Motor Trend. "Not a single judge had any doubts about the 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year," the magazine said. The Model S--now Tesla's only offering after it ceased production on its Roadster--beat the Ford Fusion, the Porsche 911 and nine other finalists.
It was one of the most efficient cars ever tested, but that was hardly its most important factor. "At its core, the Tesla Model S is simply a damned good car you happen to plug in to refuel," wrote Motor Trend editor-at-large Angus MacKenzie.
It's a shining moment for Tesla, which briefly became a flash point in the presidential campaign when Mitt Romney dumped it in the same camp as failed solar-energy firm Solyndra. He called them "losers" that were bad bets for public funds.
The car is huge, seating seven people when you outfit it with some interesting rear-facing child seats. And its cargo capacity rivals an SUV--there's no hulking engine, so there are two trunks to store all your groceries and camping gear. It can travel up to 300 miles on its optional 85-kilowatt battery, and its motors can bring it from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk was gleeful at the New York announcement Monday night, according to Slate and CNN, saying "This is a point at which the gears of history moved." He also recalled Romney's loser remark: "In retrospect, he was right about the object of that statement, but not the subject," he said.
Now we just need it to be manufactored for all the common people to afford!!!!!!!!
Most COOLaBLE Car, WoWzers!
I'm curious if it would be hit by lightning that it would go 500mph; or even back to the future?
The coal powered car, that's the way to the future.
Maybe, if it had a flux capacitor.
<i>"Coal power in the United States accounted for 42% of the country's electricity production in 2011."</i>
The future is here.
If it turns out that we are living inside a computer simulation, than a flux capacitor might indeed be our way out of the system.
Nice attempt at a green solution. It isn't green by any real test.
We still can't see any real tests on it. Let us see Top Gear test it.
This was my point of it manufactured at a price for the majority of the people. Else this car about is really just an expensive piece of jewelry and not green at all.
Cheapest model is $50,000 and recharges at 31 driving miles/hour and a range of 160 miles.
I have to wonder... giving COTY to a new and untested technology? Especially right after 19 plug-in hybrid electrics all caught fire and burned when exposed to hurricane Sandy? This is either going to be a great call or a total flop. We'll know in about 5-8 years.
Actually, I have to wonder about their mpg-e equivalent calculations. In order to come up with comparable numbers, a whole host of assumptions would have to be made. And assumptions are only as good as the people behind it. Not that Tesla is the one making these numbers. The EPA and various car "authorities" all have their own versions of the calculations. But in the end, there are serious flaws in many of these calculations, and there are various opinions on what the mpg-e figure should even try to encompass.
Just because the inefficient part of generating power (combustion) is done somewhere other than in the vehicle itself, doesn't mean that it is somehow more energy efficient than a normal car. It just means that it is transferring that duty offsite (and requiring a bunch of additional inefficient transmitting to get back) and somehow claiming that it is so much more equivalent because of it. Well, that's hogwash. If it were the case, we could put an extremely efficient gasoline engine in the car, run it only at peak efficiency to generate electricity, and then use most of that electricity to drive the car directly without even dealing with the losses of going in and out of batteries, over power lines, through transformers, etc.
Oh, and the very base model costs $57,500, not $50,000. But the owner of the vehicle could get up to $7,500 as a tax credit. Regardless, the company still charges $57,500, and whether the customer pays it all or the taxpayer pays part of it too, that's still the cost to someone.
I know PopSci loves this car (as does Motor Trend, obviously), but can we at least PRETEND to be a little more objective about it?
untested tech ?
Really Tesla has been putting cars into production for years. They have a collaboration project with Toyota that is also on the road (Rav4 EV).
This is not untested tech, maybe its just new to you.
marcoreid obviously isn't familiar with Tesla. They have been around a little while. Google their auto facility. They manufacture most of the components for the S in house.
To make enough of a profit to grow an automotive company on the small production numbers, Tesla will have to be upscale for a while. Complain about the price, but you are getting a gorgeous, mostly hand built vehicle that has a fantastic range.
You can't pop up a 50-state network of dealerships, distribution facilities, and assembly lines overnight. Especially when the new infrastructure for public and private charging is still growing and shaping.
I am curious where the relationship with Toyota will end. At some point Tesla is likely going to want to build one for the masses. Will Toyota accommodate the assembly lines and stampings, or are they just buying and not really in bed with Tesla?
I get super excited when I see cars and company's like this. This basically means that it is possible to have a electric car with as much range of a gas car. I could take a trip a few hours out and back and not have to worry about it but I could charge it if i needed. I am really excited because I know before to long especially once your big greedy manufacturers get a hang on the tech to allow this kind of trip range it will be produced to be in the 30-40 k range. And also any one that complains that is to high. Lets think this....i get 30 MPG i spend 200 bucks a month on gas...i currently pay 325 dollars a month for my car. So I am basically paying 525 dollars for my car and destroying the environment. I will gladly pay 400 a month for a car like this and save on some of the green house gases. Oh also I would probably only pay 10-20 a month to charge this bad boy! Thank you TESLA!! lets throw money at them so they can advance this stuff.
Of course they never advertise the lifespan of the battery or what it will cost to replace/recycle the old one.
Plus, I wonder if they fixed the bricking fiasco. On the Tesla 8, if the battery drained it was reported that it could cost upwards of $40,000 to fix the car.
The big question: "How much is an 5 year old electric vehicle worth if it needs $20,000 - $50,000 to replace the battery?" And, when the new battery is in place you still have a 5 year old car with 5 year old software and electronics.
"ar kingmaker" -- come on, MT awards are boasted by manufacturers, but that's because they sound good.
Sorry, over the years I've often not been impressed by MT's choices.
As for the Tesla, well there is the battery issue, and it's hardly a car that many will be able to or even want to own.
I respectfully disagree with their choice.
Don't forget Tesla has a few solar-powered charging stations where you can charge a Tesla vehicle for free. They plan on opening many more too. Definitely a perk if you live near one.
The very existence of power plants and transmission wires should lead you to the obvious conclusion that electricity is generated far more efficiently off-site in a large power plant as opposed to onsite by something much smaller. If that wasn't the case we would all have home generators.
electricity is more efficient then gas/diesel/biofuel powered cars and greener.
Offsite production on large scale is more efficient. Also they generally use not so polluting fuel and more strict filtering systems.
Not to mention hydro, wind, solar, fuel cells and even nuclear (the energy/waste ratio).
Its what will keep the large city air clean, in long term cheaper for the consumers, less noise, less dangerous/combustible chemicals.
Anyone saying that it isn't clean or more efficient because a coal plant somewhere is providing the power is completely nuts.
For those of you in coal states, do you own a generator at your house and live off the grid because it is more efficient than the coal plants? No, you don't. Because the coal plant, and all of it's economies-of-scale-goodness, is waaay more efficient than a tiny engine can be. The same applies for your car. Sure, the batteries don't take power 100% efficiently, the energy isn't transmitted to your house 100% efficiently, and the coal isn't converted into electric energy 100% efficiently, but all three of those inefficient systems combined are going to be a lot more efficient than a typical ICE.
Also, if everyone bought electric cars, the process to "green" a particular city would be to replace a couple polluting power plants, not to get every person and their mother to buy a newer car that gets 6 mpg better.
The argument that pollution would still occur is such a cop-out. On top of that, the generation for a new electric demand that a large amount of ev's would bring would cause new NatGas plants to be built. The political risk around coal is preventing new plants from being built in nearly every state in the nation. So to say that the power would come from coal isn't necessarily true.
"First all-electric car of the year"?
That award is some pretty low-hanging fruit. What was the competition, a couple of golf carts?