Motor Trend magazine has named its 2013 Car of the Year, and for the first time in the 64-year history of the award it goes to a car with no internal combustion engine: the Tesla Model S.
Writing in the magazine, Angus MacKenzie describes the car as “one of the quickest American four-doors ever built. It drives like a sports car, eager and agile and instantly responsive. But it’s also as smoothly effortless as a Rolls-Royce, can carry almost as much stuff as a Chevy Equinox, and is more efficient than a Toyota Prius. Oh, and it’ll sashay up to the valet at a luxury hotel like a supermodel working a Paris catwalk. By any measure, the Tesla Model S is a truly remarkable automobile.”
One of the most remarkable things about the car is that it is all-electric.
MacKenzie writes: “Sure, the Tesla’s electric powertrain delivers the driving characteristics and packaging solutions that make the Model S stand out against many of its internal combustion engine peers. But it’s only a part of the story. At its core, the Tesla Model S is simply a damned good car you happen to plug in to refuel.”
The car boasts a base price of $58,570 — before a federal tax credit of $7,500, the report notes, with a variety of performance packages that can pump up the price tag considerably.
“Tesla offers three lithium-ion battery packs for the Model S — 40-kW-hr, 60-kW-hr, and 85-kW-hr — that are claimed to provide ranges of 140, 200, and 265 miles, respectively,” the piece reports. “The base 85-kW-hr powertrain delivers a stout 362 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque, while the performance version makes 416 hp and 443 lb-ft.”
The report concludes: “The mere fact the Tesla Model S exists at all is a testament to innovation and entrepreneurship, the very qualities that once made the American automobile industry the largest, richest, and most powerful in the world. That the 11 judges unanimously voted the first vehicle designed from the wheels up by a fledgling automaker the 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year should be cause for celebration. America can still make things. Great things.”