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2012 Tesla Model S Named Motor Trend Car of the Year

2012 Tesla Model S Named Motor Trend Car of the Year

By Jeff Youngs, November 14, 2012
When Motor Trend magazine named the electric 2012 Tesla Model S its "Car of the Year" this week, it was the first time that a vehicle without a traditional combustion engine has won the award in the 64 years since the publication began handing out awards for automotive excellence, and it was the first time that all judges in the competition unanimously agreed on a single model.

"Our aspiration with the Model S was to show that an electric car truly can be better than any gasoline car, which is a critical step towards the widespread adoption of sustainable transport," said Elon Musk, Tesla Motors co-founder and CEO. "Nothing illustrates this more clearly than winning Motor Trend's Car of the Year by unanimous decision against a field of exceptional competitors."

The Tesla Model S is an electric 5-door hatchback that carries up to 7 passengers or, with the second- and third-row seats stowed, as much as 58.1 cubic feet of cargo. A rechargeable, liquid-cooled 40-kWh Lithium-ion battery and a 3-phase, 4-pole AC induction electric motor drive the rear wheels through a single-speed fixed gear with a 9.73:1 reduction ratio. The standard Tesla Model S accelerates to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds. The Model S Performance model, equipped with an 85-kWh battery, gets to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds.

Motor Trend says the Tesla's performance isn't what makes it the Car of the Year. "When compared against our award [program's] six key criteria, the Model S stood out in each and every category," said Edward Loh, editor-in-chief of Motor Trend.

The Tesla's range is 265 miles, and it takes less than 5 hours to recharge the car using a 240-volt power outlet. Tesla is building a network of Supercharger stations that will provide a 50% charge in just 30 minutes. "As far as range anxiety goes, we've not only validated the EPA's 265-mile range rating, we've exceeded it," said Loh. "I personally drove a Tesla Model S 285 miles from Las Vegas back to Los Angeles on a single charge."

Tesla began delivering the Model S to customers in June of this year. The company has received more than 13,000 reservations worldwide for the Model S.

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