The 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year is one of the quickest American four-doors ever built. It drives like a sports car, eager and agile and instantly responsive. But it’s also as smoothly effortless as a Rolls-Royce, can carry almost as much stuff as a Chevy Equinox, and is more efficient than a Toyota Prius. Oh, and it’ll sashay up to the valet at a luxury hotel like a supermodel working a Paris catwalk. By any measure, the Tesla Model S is a truly remarkable automobile, perhaps the most accomplished all-new luxury car since the original Lexus LS 400. That’s why it’s our 2013 Car of the Year.
Wait. No mention of the astonishing inflection point the Model S represents — that this is the first COTY winner in the 64-year history of the award not powered by an internal combustion engine? Sure, the Tesla’s electric powertrain delivers the driving characteristics and packaging solutions that make the Model S stand out against many of its internal combustion engine peers. But it’s only a part of the story. At its core, the Tesla Model S is simply a damned good car you happen to plug in to refuel.
What will Tesla do next ?
In terms of where we go from here, I think we’ve got some really products coming down the pike. We’ve got the Model X, which is really trying to apply some major innovation to the SUV and minivan segment. We’ve got our third-generation car, which is a mass-market electric car. That’s actually the one that I’m most keen to bring to the market. We’d like to do an electric supercar. We have this idea for an electric truck that could really be a big improvement in truck technology. I’m really excited about bringing out a whole series of cars that address a wide range of consumer interests and needs. I do think it will be interesting to do self-driving cars, perhaps working in conjunction with Google, who’s quite close to us in Silicon Valley. Larry Page and Sergey Brin are longtime friends of mine, so it would be great to work with them, maybe to do self-driving [cars].
I hope this award encourages people to come and check out the Model S, get a test drive, and consider making it their car.