With the end of the year is quickly approaching, that can only mean one thing; various media outlets handing out accolades for the best car, truck, or SUV of the year. Sister publication Motor Trend has already announced that the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class took the title for SUV of the year and now another sister publication, Automobile Magazine has picked its 2013 Automobile of the Year: the Tesla Model S.
An electric sedan? Automobile of the year? If you’re ready to take out your torches and pitchforks, hold on a minute. In some circles, just uttering Tesla’s name is met with disdain and skepticism. However, as Automobile explains, the EV startup understands building a car isn’t easy, never mind trying to grow a brand at the same time. Tesla CEO Elon Musk–who built up his wealth through PayPal and later converted 2,350 Lotus Elises to run on battery power as the Tesla Roadster–is still relatively new to the automotive industry, but that didn’t stop him from making some lofty promises. Musk promised that the Model S would include the most advanced electric powertrain the world has ever seen and he delivered. The Tesla Model S rockets from 0-60 mph in 4.3 seconds courtesy of an electric motor that lays down 416 horsepower.
Even with those impressive numbers, there are still cries that Tesla did this with government money-or by extension your money, the tax payer. Tesla was granted a $465 million loan from the Department of Energy and Musk said it was for the greater good.
“Since we are not appropriately pricing the CO2 capacity of the oceans and atmosphere, then the only way I could think to address that was with innovation,” Musk told Automobile.
The Tesla Model S had a lot of hoops to jump through at Automobile magazine’s Automobile of the Year competition as it was one of the strongest in recent years. Vehicles like the Cadillac ATS, Ford Fusion, Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S, and the Porsche Boxster all gave the Model S a run for its money but in the end, it was the last one standing.
“It’s the performance that won us over,” said Editor-in-chief Jean Jennings. “The crazy speed builds silently and then pulls back the edges of your face. It had all of us endangering our licenses.”
Now the Tesla Model S starts in on a year-long stay with our cohorts in Ann Arbor, and it will be exposed to all types of weather conditions and other various tasks. Automobile admits that not even they can predict Tesla’s future as the automotive industry can be an unforgiving one even to heavyweights like General Motors and Chrysler. Time will tell how the Tesla Model S can hold up but one thing is certain; the future looks bright for Space X and Co.