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Electric Tesla Sweeps Car-of-the-Year Awards

Electric Tesla Sweeps Car-of-the-Year Awards

On Monday, Motor Trend magazine announced that the all-electric 2012 Tesla Model S won its Car of the Year Award.  It was the first time Motor Trend gave the distinction to a pure electric vehicle, and the first time the judges were unanimous in their decision.

The Motor Trend award follows Automobile Magazine giving the Model S its top annual award earlier this month.  This is likely just the beginning of the awards circuit for the Model S.  Tesla’s sporty luxury EV is the front-runner for other upcoming major awards, such as the North American Car of the Year, presented at the Detroit auto show.

While a single car does not make an entire category, Tesla Model S’s sweep of awards will create a new level of legitimacy to the entire electric car category.  Only an electric vehicle could garner a description like this one, provided by Motor Trend editor-at-large, Angus MacKenzie: “The Model S is one of the quickest four-door sedans ever built.  It drives like a sports car, feels as smoothly effortless as a Rolls Royce, and is more fuel-efficient than the Toyota Prius.”  Moreover, MacKenzie said that the Model S, produced by a start-up American automaker, proves that “America can still make things. Great things.”

The Chevy Volt, an American-made plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, won many Car of the Year awards last year—but the level of praise is mild compared to what is being heaped on the Tesla Model S, an all-electric car that is capable of going up to 300 miles on a single charge.  While the 250-300 mile version of the Model S, costs as much as $100,000 fully loaded, the variant offering about 160 miles of range drops down in price to below $50,000 after federal tax incentives.

In granting its top honor to the Model S, Automobile magazine editor-in-chief Jean Jennings praised the car’s performance. “The Model S can blow away almost anything,” she said. ”The crazy speed builds silently and then pulls back the edges of your face. It had all of us endangering our licenses.”

In my week with the Model S—to prepare for my review of the car for The New York Times—I also loved the car’s performance.  But it was the whole package that makes the Model S such an accomplishment—from the Aston Martin styling and low center-of-gravity handling, to the 17-inch jumbo iPad touchscreen on the dashboard and access to a network of highway superchargers in California.  The network makes all-electric roadtrips, for example between San Francisco and Los Angeles, a practical reality.

At the end of the day, awards are merely symbolic—and don’t reshape real-world market dynamics. But there’s little doubt the Model S is a true achievement, and will provide unprecedented opportunities to promote electric-drive vehicles as a viable alternative to internal combustion engine vehicles. On Monday, after receiving the award, Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive predicted, “Other car companies will in fact copy us and pursue their own electric car programs with greater vigor as a result of this award.”

This means more and better EVs on the market, and greater opportunities for green car shoppers to find exciting and capable cars that use zero petroleum and have no tailpipe emissions.

Photo Credit: Tesla

For more information about fuel efficient cars, visit eBay Green Driving.

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eBay Green Driving

eBay Green Driving helps drivers save money at the pump, and reduce their environmental impact. It offers user-friendly tools and resources, as well as eBay's unique green vehicle and parts inventory, in a single location, to help people determine the best ways to "green" their daily driving routines. The site covers the full range of efficient technologies: electric vehicles, hybrids, clean diesels, compressed natural gas and ethanol vehicles, as well as high-MPG gasoline vehicles. Green Driving's Fuel Type Comparison Tool was developed in cooperation with the Department of Energy's World-class content is provided by leading writers and researchers in the field of eco-friendly automotive technology.


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3:05AM PDT on Jul 4, 2013

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1:30PM PST on Nov 21, 2012


5:29PM PST on Nov 20, 2012

Can’t say I’m surprised this beauty made it as top car of the year, and with the media singing its praises (particularly good one here: I think the model’s success is guaranteed. Gotta love the new showroom in Canada too, if I may add.

6:27PM PST on Nov 19, 2012

I'd take one if I could afford it.....we do love my wife's Volt and we've only used 26 gallons of gasoline for the first 12000 miles....

9:15AM PST on Nov 19, 2012

yeah, but not available for the average consumer. sad.

3:05AM PST on Nov 19, 2012

Noted, thanks.

7:56PM PST on Nov 18, 2012

Appropriate name.

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