Tesla's Model S Just Won A Major Car Award — Here's Why It's A Big Deal

elon musk tesla s motor trend car year

Photo: Alex Davies

At an event in New York City last night, Tesla Motors’ Model S was named Car of the Year by Motor Trend magazine.It is the first time in the 63-year history of the prestigious award a vehicle with a non-combustion engine has been awarded the prize.

It was also the first time the Motor Trend jury chose a winner by unanimous decision.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk described winning the award as a “pivotal turn in history” after Tesla’s “long and difficult journey.”

He noted the electric car company’s need to ramp up production of its vehicles, but argued that the Motor Trend accolade is proof that electric cars have become the best product on the market.

Tesla has built “the best car of any kind,” he said, capable of besting not just other electric vehicles, but gas-powered cars as well.

The Model S, which costs between $58,570 and $107,350, was named Car of the Year by Automobile Magazine and by Yahoo! Autos earlier this month.

The electric car beat out a strong pool of contenders, including the Porsche 911, Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, and Ford C-Max, Motor Trend Editor-in-Chief Ed Loh said. Especially impressive is the fact that the Model S hit the market only last year, and that is it just the second vehicle Tesla has developed.

Motor Trend noted the Model S’ superb acceleration, “open and air cabin,” 250-mile range, and handling, calling the car “as smoothly effortless as a Rolls-Royce.”

The Motor Trend decision process begins with a pool of 45 cars, all of which are tested over a 10-day period. The jury, made up of Motor Trend writers and auto industry veterans, then selects a group of finalists.

This year, 11 cars made it to the final round, an unusually high number that indicated how strong this year’s pool was, Loh said. In voting for first place, the Model S won unanimously.

Accepting the award, Musk referenced Mitt Romney’s description of the government investment in Tesla as a “loser,” saying Romney “was right about the object of that statement, but not the subject.”

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