For the first time in the 64 year history of the iconic Motor Trend Car of the Year Award, a non internal combustion car has nabbed the honor as Tesla’s Model S has scored a big win and another entre to the larger automobile audience. Motor Trend uses six criteria to determine the winner:
1. Performance and Intended Function
2. Engineering Excellence
6. Advancement in Design
And while it’s always a highly subjective process, it’s telling that the leading automotive magazine evaluated the car based upon five non-efficiency standards that all really relate back to engineering and ultimately design. At the recent GigaOM Roadmap Conference, Tesla’s head of retail George Blankenship compared Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk to Steve Jobs (Blankenship’s former boss), in that both were obsessed with great design that could create the desire in customers’ to actually own and use the product.
In testing, Motor Trend was sure to address range anxiety. It reports that the Model S gets 74 mpg-e and was able to do the 280 mile drive from Vegas to LA on one charge. Citing its low drag coefficient, a function of its low and wide design, CEO Edward Loh noted “It’s not some ecomobile with tiny wheels and dorky proportions.” Rather it’s a very well designed car that happens to be electric. Which is the way Tesla always hoped it would be seen.
For a 5 year forecast of the EV market, see, “Forecast: electric vehicle technology markets, 2012-2017” and for a detailed analysis of Tesla’s Model S, see “Flash Analysis: how the Model S will change Tesla and the electric-car market.”