Tesla won the 2013 Motor Treat Car of the Year, making it the first electric car to win this prestigious award. This a a step forward for Electric Vehicles becoming mainstream vs standard combustion vehicles or even hybrids. What is that made this the first major EV success?
Lets start with the Model S styling. The Model S looks like its gas powered counterparts, and does not suffer from the typical form before style that EV’s, hybrids and even your standard eco-cars do. The Nissan LEAF being the worst most recent offender here. The Model S style is on par with all of the luxury sedans that it is intended to compete with. Most people are shocked to hear that this is an all electric car.
So the Model S looks fast, but what is the real world performance like? Lets start with the raw numbers first. The base(signature) Model S has 362hp, 325 ft/lbs of torque and a range of 300 miles, while the performance model model pushes 416hp and 443ft/lbs of torque. To put those numbers into perspective the 2013 Ford F150 with a 6.2L V8 outputs 411hp and 434ft/lbs of torque, making the Model S more powerful then a V8 Ford F150 pickup. Yeah, wrap your head around that one!
Watch the Tesla Model S drag race a BMW M5...
Now what about the downsides of electric vehicles? Isn’t long distance travel going to be difficult, if not impossible? The Model S gets 300 miles on a charge with the 85kWh battery pack and Teslas’ free Supercharging stations will give owners of the Model S free long distance charging for the life of the vehicle. The superchargers are capable of charging your vehicle with 150 miles of range in 30 minutes. A 30 minutes break after 300 miles of driving seems like a well deserved break.
What about the high cost of the Tesla Model S? The Model S is intended on competing in the luxury sedan market, so we will use the BMW M5 as the baseline example. The BMW M5 starts $89,900 for the base model, which provides 560hp and 500 ft/lbs of torque. The top-tier performance Model S pushes 416hp and 443ft/lbs of torque for $97,900, yet with what seems to be a power disadvantage for the Model S it still smokes the BMW M5 drag race(as seen above). The secret sauce is the fact that in the Tesla Model S, and all other EV’s, 100% of their torque is available at 0 rpms making this think the 1/4 mile king.
In conclusion the Tesla Model S is the style and functionality benchmark for all future EV’s to be based on. The Model S is the first mass production EV to show the world that EV’s are efficient, fast and can look just as good as a standard ICE vehicle, while in many cases superior to gas powered vehicles. Let’s hope the next vehicle after the Model X crossover, the rumored sub $30,000 Telsa BlueStar, has the same polish for a price that most people can afford. If Tesla can pull this off we may have to start referring to the US automakers as the “big 4.”
Watch the Motor Trend Car of the Year announcement