By Robert Varga
Motor Trend unveiled their 2013 Car of the Year on Nov. 12, and for the first time ever the winner was an all-electric car ” the Tesla Model S.
Tesla has been hard at work perfecting the Model S, in an effort to bring to market a no compromise, all-electric luxury sedan.
By winning the coveted Car of the Year award, among numerous other awards, Tesla has shown they want to be taken seriously in the automotive industry.
The Model S combines attractive styling, performance and comfort into a highly efficient package, which is capable of up to 300 miles of driving range when equipped with the 85 kWh lithium-ion battery.
Most all-electric vehicles currently available have a range of less than 100 miles, which significantly limits their usefulness on longer trips.
The Model S is the first production electric car with the ability to get from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on a single charge.
For those who still have range anxiety and want to take longer trips, such as from San Francisco to Los Angeles, Tesla has come up with a solution. They have set up ‘Superchargers’ along major routes in California, which can add about 150 miles of range in 30 minutes.
The Tesla Model S works by using an AC induction motor powered by a lithium-ion battery pack, which powers the rear wheels.
Acceleration times vary based on the trim level, but the 0-60 time is between 4.4 and 5.6 seconds ” impressive for a large sedan.
The interior is also cutting edge, utilizing a 17-inch capacitive touch screen to control many of the vehicle’s functions such as climate control, media and communications.
Safety is good as well, as the Model S has exceeded all federal crash test standards with its eight standard air bags.
Motor Trend Editor-at-Large Angus MacKenzie said the Model S is “perhaps the most accomplished all-new luxury car since the original Lexus LS400,” a car which showed the Germans that Japan knew how to build a competitive luxury sedan.
The Model S was able to beat out cars such as the new BMW 3-Series, Cadillac ATS and the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ twins in testing by numerous auto magazines. And although GM, Toyota and virtually every other automaker does not need to worry about Tesla stealing their customers just yet, they should be keeping a close eye on them.
Tesla’s Model S is competitive for the price when compared to other luxury sedans such as the BMW 5-Series, but there is a limited market for luxury cars. With prices that range from $49,900 to $97,900, the Model S is still out of reach for most car buyers.
As production increases and the technology matures, prices will come down and Tesla could possibly venture into producing less expensive electric cars. It would be great to see a Toyota Camry competitor, as midsize sedans are the most popular car segment in the U.S.
Other automakers are taking notice of the electric trend, and are coming out with EV versions of some of their popular models.
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