Econintersect: The Yahoo! Autos Car of the Year is a limited production car from Elon Musk's Tesla Motors.
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The primary reasons given by Yahoo's panel of auto experts for the selection was the high performance level of the car in a package which has blown away the mileage limits that have hampered previous all-electric models. Cars produced by Nissan (Leaf) and GM (Volt) have limits of 38-80 miles between charges. The Tesla Model s gets 300 miles between charges for the largest battery pack option.
The Tesla is also a luxury sedan, not a spartan commuter car.
The other difference between the Nissan and GM models vs. the Tesla is price. The former have base prices under $30,000 while Tesla starts their base prices at $50,000 and for the most expensive models can exceed $100,000. A Model S sedan, well appointed, with the 300 mile range battery pack lists for $69,900.
The car is comparable to many luxury sedans that are in the $50,000 +/- range. Thus, the price is quite competitive for Tesla. The cost of gasoline for 100,000 miles at 25 mpg and $4 a gallon is $16,000 and the reduced service maintenance costs for electric vs. internal combustion systems (ICE) is likely to be $2,000 to $4,000 over 100,000 miles. That puts the Model S comp price at the equivalent of $50,000 +/-.
And, when it comes to performance, the lower center of gravity of the Tesla combined with the high torque performance that gives 0-60 mph in 4.4 to 5.6 seconds, depending on model, cannot be matched by most of the ICE sedans on the market today.
Of course the competitor ICE cars will not have to have a battery pack replacement. The estimated life of the lithium ion battery pack could be as little as 100,000 miles. That is the warrantee specified by Tesla for the smallest battery (40 kWh battery has a 8 year or 100,000 mile, whichever comes first). The cost and frequency of replacement has not been determined by Econintersect. Whatever that cost is could move the Model S above the $50,000 equivalence point.
- 2013 Yahoo! Autos Car of the Year: Tesla Model S (Yahoo website)
- Who Killed the Electric Car? (Wikipedia)