Tesla Model S is Motor Trend Car of the Year

November 13th, 2012
in econ_news, syndication

Econintersect:  At the beginning of November GEI News carried the story that Yahoo! Autos had selected the all-electric Tesla Model S as its Car of the Year.  That award was no off-the-wall call.  The granddaddy of awards, the Motor Trend Car of the year has gone to the same car.


Follow up:

There may have been some raised eyebrows when Yahoo! announced their award.  But those eyebrows settled right back down today (13 November) with the Motor Trend announcement.  And to put an exclamation point on the Motor Trend award to match that of Yahoo!, for the first time in history the judges were unanimous.  All eleven judges ranked the Model S first.

From GEI News, here are some of the reasons Yahoo! gave for their selection:

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.

After explaining why the other finalists did not take the top spot, Motor Trend had this to say about the winner:

That left the Tesla Model S to take the crown, and it did so by knocking every one of the publication's Car of the Year criteria out of the park. When it came to engineering and excellence, the panel pointed to the 250-plus patents covering the Model S, as well as the innovative battery pack and chassis solutions. Advancement in design fell easily enough as well, thanks in part to a clever cabin that includes two seats in the hatch area. The judges also appreciated that Tesla kept the exterior attractive without drawing attention to the fact that this is an electric vehicle.

Speaking of the drivetrain, Motor Trend saw an impressive 118 mpg-equivalent from the Model S with an average of 74.5 mpg-e. Those figures easily aced the efficiency category of the test, and when it came to safety, Tesla was plenty prepared as well. The Model S outperforms federal crash standards thanks to intensive testing.

Value is an obvious sticking point, but at $58,570 before a $7,500 federal tax credit, the Model S finds itself in the same price bracket as hardware such as the BMW 5-Series. Suddenly this EV doesn't seem so pricey. Likewise, the hatchback aced the performance of intended function category by besting German luxury performance sedans at their own games.

All hail the new eclectic electric king.

The six criteria that Motor Trend uses in making the selection are:

Quality execution of exterior and interior styling; innovation in vehicle packaging; good selection and use of materials.

Integrity of total vehicle concept and execution, clever solutions to packaging, manufacturing and dynamics issues; use of cost-effective technologies that benefit the consumer.

Low energy consumption and carbon footprint, relative to the vehicle's competitive set.

Primary safety -- the vehicle's ability to help the driver avoid a crash -- as well as secondary safety measures that protect its occupants from harm during a crash.

Price and equipment levels measured against those of vehicles in the same market segment.

How well the vehicle does the job its designers and product planners intended.

John Lounsbury


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1 comment

  1. Nyal Williams says :

    This is not a cross-country car. I'm fed up with the airlines and I occasionally drive 500-600 miles in a day -- perhaps two or three days in a row. It makes no sense to have two cars and it makes no sense to me to own this one and then rent another for long trips.

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