Every year, Motor Trend holds a Car of the Year competition around the beginning of November. I had seen what the 2013 Car of the Year was, but I didn’t think it would make an interesting post. Well, my cousin Adin thought otherwise. He texted me with the idea of it. I thought that it was a good idea, so I told him that I would publish a post dedicated to his brilliant idea.” Well, this one’s for you, Adin…
I think that Motor Trend is on some sort of trend with electric cars. Last year, Chevy’s ridiculously overpriced Volt won, this year it’s the fabulous Tesla Model S. It’s proving to be popular for a $58,000 electric car (that’s just the base model!), with close to 3,000 units sold within the first month and 20,000 orders for ones that have not yet been produced at the former NUMMI factory in Fremont, CA. Elon Musk certainly has some good ideas…
The Tesla Model S is a car that will carry almost as much camping gear as a Chevy Equinox, look better, get you there faster in much more comfort, and have just a tad less range. Not bad, considering that the Model S is an electric car. It’s faster than a BMW M6 to 60 mph, almost as effortless as a new Rolls-Royce, and makes the Toyota Prius Plug-In look like a gas-guzzler. Plus, it’s center of gravity rivals that of a Ford GT supercar! Elon Musk’s idea for the Tesla Model is that the Tesla Model S is the best car in the world that just so happens to be electric. He might be right. I agree. The Tesla Model is the first-ever Motor Trend Car of the Year that doesn’t have an internal combustion engine (the Volt does). According to Tesla Motors, they have almost 250 patents on the Model S, and more pending.
The powerful, effortless electric motor is in between the rear wheels, and it is a definite contributor to the 47/53% weight distribution for the Model. The electric motor is an AC motor that was first demonstrated back in the 1880’s by Nicola Tesla himself, and this powerful motor doesn’t require us to mine for any more rare metals. Tesla offers three battery packs that come with the three different models of the Model S: The first battery pack will take you up to 140 miles, the second battery pack will take you 200 miles, and the third will take you 265 miles. These are EPA ratings, and the high-end battery pack will actually take you 285 miles on a single charge (the equivalent of driving from Los Angeles to Vegas). The base model’s electric motor offers a powerful 362 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. That’s more than enough for most. The performance trim (the high-end model) has 416 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque. That’s comparable to a Chevy Corvette! Tesla assembles the battery packs in the Fremont, CA factory. The battery packs are made out of Panasonic battery cells with nickel-cobalt-aluminum cathodes. The battery packs weigh about 800 pounds and they lie directly underneath the floor (don’t worry, it’s MUCH safer than a Ford Pinto!). This helps lower the center of gravity to that of a Ford GT supercar, at 17.5 inches.
The brilliant designer of the Model S, Franz von Holzhausen restrained himself, and made the car look “somewhat safe and conservative”, according to former GM design honcho Wayne Cherry. The graceful lines of the Model S enhance the tidy dimensions of the Model S, and the perfect stance for a day of pounding at the track. Since electric powertrains are typically smaller than others, Tesla took advantage of this and made the interior spacious and very quiet. There is no engine up front, so the “hood” can hold up to 18 cubic feet of luggage. Plus, the rear hatchback can hold a massive 63.4 cubic feet, which rivals the 63.7 of the Chevy Equinox. Plus, the Model S is the world’s first hatchback to offer three rows! All of the Motor Trend judges were very impressed with the comfortable interior of the Model S. The gigantic 17-inch display has a retina display that has been compared to that of an Alienware laptop monitor.
The Tesla Model S is very efficient in it’s consumption of battery juice. The best Motor Trend got was the equivalent of 118 MPG on a 212-mile run to Las Vegas! Quite impressive, considering the fact that the car tips the scales at a HUGE 4766 pounds! Plus, the top-end Model S Signature Performance model will hit 60 in 4.0 seconds! Plus, it will take you all the way to 133 mph (governed).
If you are thinking that a car this fast isn’t very safe, stop reading RIGHT NOW! The Model S is one of the safest cars that you can buy! All of the car’s mass is down close to the ground, so the car is stable. Plus, the instant torque from the electric motor is there for passing some rubberneck in traffic or on a country road. The stability control and ABS are tuned towards the car’s regenerative braking system. If and when you get into a crash, truly fear not: You’ll be able to buy a new Model S with all the insurance money, and you won’t look like you just came out of The Walking Dead. The Tesla Model S has almost as many safety devices as a Volvo S60, plus it has 10 airbags. Yep, 10. Also, the strong roof structure can hold almost 3,500 pounds for over an hour. The double octagon extrusions that are on the front and rear of the car will help in the event of a head-on crash or a rear-ender. Tesla also claims that the Model S was tested at 50 mph for impact testing by NHTSA. The car outperforms federal crash standards by a factor of two or three. Plus, it exceeds the roof crush requirements by a factor of two! This car will make those old Volvo station wagons from the ’80’s look like a tin can!
Before you get a federal tax credit of $7,500, a base Model S will run you a whopping $58,570! That puts it on par with a base-model Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5 Series, and Audi A6. A loaded Signature Performance series Model S will take you up to an astronomical $106,900 before the federal tax credit of $7,500. Of course, buyers of the Model S don’t need to take out a loan to buy one – they already have the money! But, under normal driving conditions, a Tesla Model S will get the equivalent of 74.5 mpg! That’s about 6 cents per mile! See, the savings abound!
The Tesla Model S puts the last nail in the coffin of the formula that was first established by the BMW 5 Series in the late 1980s. It’s fast, VERY fun to drive, it won’t look out of place at the country club, and it’s a great alternative for somebody who lives in Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York City, or Chicago (or just about anywhere). Motor Trend has covered almost 1,400 miles in the Signature Performance series, and they can confirm that a Model S will take you over 200 miles a day in the crowded streets of Los Angeles. Also, the fact that the Model S is here is due to the thoughts of Elon Musk, and great minds. The fact that the 11 Car of the Year judges unanimously voted the Model S the 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year without hesitation shows just how far a tiny Silicon Valley startup can go. America can make great things. Amazing things.
Even though the Model S has an EPA-certified range of 265 miles, that’s still about 100 miles short of getting to San Francisco. Elon Musk has a solution. Tesla recently unveiled five “Supercharger stations” along major routes from: Los Angeles to San Francisco, L.A. to Vegas, and San Francisco to Reno. These stations are permanently free of charge to Model S owners, and Tesla plans to have over 100 stations worldwide by 2015.
Wanna know something interesting and funny? Of course you do! The Model S broke the machine that is used to crush roofs by the feds. So that’s where our tax dollars are going…
Good job Tesla, this is a prize very well deserved. Enjoy it well. Next up on the Tesla course? A luxury EV SUV that will be more luxurious than a Cadillac Escalade, yet get as much or more range than a Chevy Volt. Phew.