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Tesla Model S Named 'Car of the Year'

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the who-needs-combustion dept.

Transportation 303

SternisheFan writes with news that Automobile Magazine has named the all-electric Tesla Model S its Car of the Year. Quoting: "We weren't expecting much from the Tesla other than some interesting dinner conversation as we considered 'real' candidates like the Subaru BRZ and the Porsche Boxster. In fact, the Tesla blew them, and us, away. Actually, the Model S can blow away almost anything. 'It's the performance that won us over,' admits 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.' Our Model S was of Signature Performance spec, which means its AC induction motor puts out 416 hp and that it blasts to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. ... You'll note that we haven't even discussed Tesla's raison d'etre, which is, in Musk's words, 'To accelerate the advent of electric cars.' That's another credit to the Model S's overall execution and seductive powers. 'The electric motor does not define this car,' says Nelson. But it is, at the end of the day, what makes this very good sport sedan an absolute game changer. The Model S's range, rated by the EPA at 265 miles with the largest battery, finally fits the American conception of driving."

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303 comments

First post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41857369)

Firsties yay I win! :P

Re:First post (-1, Offtopic)

xQuarkDS9x (646166) | about a year and a half ago | (#41857379)

Sloppy seconds for the win?

American concept of pricing? (4, Insightful)

chill (34294) | about a year and a half ago | (#41857395)

The Model S's range, rated by the EPA at 265 miles with the largest battery, finally fits the American conception of driving.

But at $78,500 before a $7,500 tax rebate that doesn't fit the American concept of pricing.

Make no mistake, I'd really love one of these. But $78,500 is pricy.

Oh, and there is that all important question of how they hold up in a hurricane. Fisker's Karmas seem to have issues with getting wet. [jalopnik.com]

Re:American concept of pricing? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41857569)

The Model S's range, rated by the EPA at 265 miles with the largest battery, finally fits the American conception of driving.

But at $78,500 before a $7,500 tax rebate that doesn't fit the American concept of pricing.

Make no mistake, I'd really love one of these. But $78,500 is pricy.

Oh, and there is that all important question of how they hold up in a hurricane. Fisker's Karmas seem to have issues with getting wet. [jalopnik.com]

Excuse me, but you're talking about yuppie Americans here. All this talk about sticker shock and total cost would imply that Americans give a shit about any number past the $399 energy-clean-bill-subsidized lease payment.

They don't.

And chances are that's exactly how it'll get pushed to the masses. Toss in a few more choice words like "tax refund" and they'll turn into a best seller.

Re:American concept of pricing? (3, Informative)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about a year and a half ago | (#41857585)

Well, it is pitched at the people who are looking at a BMW 5 series and think that it isn't advanced enough. As a result, 78K is expensive, but still within budget range.

As for the fate of the Fiskers.... they seem to be badly engineered. From what I saw in reviews, there are all kinds of engineering issues that range from how it drives to how the electrical system holds up even under normal driving. That said, I don't think I would want to submerge any of these fully electric cars. I did put down 5k to be in line for one of these babies, but I will also leave money aside to have a rock-solid gasoline-powered car that will handle the situations that the Tesla shouldn't. No need to pull all eggs in one basket.

Re:American concept of pricing? (5, Insightful)

lorenlal (164133) | about a year and a half ago | (#41857767)

That said, I don't think I would want to submerge any of these fully electric cars. I did put down 5k to be in line for one of these babies, but I will also leave money aside to have a rock-solid gasoline-powered car that will handle the situations that the Tesla shouldn't. No need to pull all eggs in one basket.

Excuse me, but I don't like I would want to submerge *any* car of any type. Especially when you're talking about storm surge (brackish water).

Re:American concept of pricing? (1)

lorenlal (164133) | about a year and a half ago | (#41857771)

s+r/like/think/g

hells bells with the quick trigger...

Re:American concept of pricing? (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year and a half ago | (#41857845)

That said, I don't think I would want to submerge any of these fully electric cars. I did put down 5k to be in line for one of these babies, but I will also leave money aside to have a rock-solid gasoline-powered car that will handle the situations that the Tesla shouldn't. No need to pull all eggs in one basket.

Excuse me, but I don't like I would want to submerge *any* car of any type. Especially when you're talking about storm surge (brackish water).

You've obviously never driven the Lotus Esprit [youtube.com] ....

Re:American concept of pricing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41858581)

Excuse me, but I don't like I would want to submerge *any* car of any type.

But when I submerge my gasoline powered Subaru in seawater, it may be totaled, but at least it doesn't burst into flames!

Exactly. 78k is luxury territory (0, Flamebait)

fyngyrz (762201) | about a year and a half ago | (#41857605)

I agree, except I'd go a little further to say that $78k is ridiculous.

Wake me up when an electric car is $20k new - it's a motor, controller and a chassis, for crying out loud. Built by non-union robots. Said pricing probably isn't going to happen unless we can roll back quite a few government mommy laws, but I can wait them out. If they never make a reasonably priced electric car, I just won't buy one.

Personally, I feel there are far better things to spend money on than expensive cars, considering there are inexpensive ones to be had that are truly serviceable, particularly in the used market.

Musk has said that his intention is to end up manufacturing a truly affordable electric car, and that this stage (the model S) isn't that; I'll take him at his word. Maybe next time! :)

Re:Exactly. 78k is luxury territory (5, Insightful)

Guspaz (556486) | about a year and a half ago | (#41857779)

Hybrid electric cars like the Prius C are $20k new, but that's not exactly what you're asking about, I realize.

The battery is a big factor in the Model S' cost. 85 kilowatts of lithium ion batteries ain't cheap.

Re:Exactly. 78k is luxury territory (3, Informative)

tgd (2822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41857843)

Hybrid electric cars like the Prius C are $20k new, but that's not exactly what you're asking about, I realize.

The battery is a big factor in the Model S' cost. 85 kilowatts of lithium ion batteries ain't cheap.

The Prius isn't really electric in any sense. Its an Atkinson Cycle car, with a battery and electric motor to make it usable in the real world. There's a reason it can't go highway speeds on electric. That's true of all the hybrids. The Volt is the only non-pure-EV that is really still an EV.

20k electrics (2)

fyngyrz (762201) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858053)

The battery is a big factor in the Model S' cost. 85 kilowatts of lithium ion batteries ain't cheap.

I think I'd be perfectly happy to pay $20k for a Model S with a 5kw battery. You think they'd go for it? :)

Re:Exactly. 78k is luxury territory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41858461)

I have a c. Accelerating fast is something it doesn't do. The 1st gen was faster.
It does pull in 70mpg+ at speeds under 60mph though.

Re:Exactly. 78k is luxury territory (1)

Krojack (575051) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858535)

Plus the Prius is uglier than my ass. And my ass is hairy and ugly.

Exactly Re:Exactly. 78k is luxury territory (2)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about a year and a half ago | (#41857783)

If price of the electric car > Price of cheap gas fueled car + 200,000 miles of gasoline then don't buy

Re:Exactly Re:Exactly. 78k is luxury territory (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41857929)

If price of the electric car > Price of cheap gas fueled car + 200,000 miles of gasoline then don't buy

You missed the point of this. They weren't comparing this electric car to a Geo or something. They compared it to a Porsche and a BMW, and it kicked their A$$...

The real point is that a gasoline powered sports car has trouble competing with this electric car. So let me know when Porsche comes up with something that can compete with this on performance...

Re:Exactly Re:Exactly. 78k is luxury territory (4, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41857931)

If price of the electric car > Price of cheap gas fueled car + 200,000 miles of gasoline then don't buy

If economics are how you judge a vehicle, spending anything more than a couple grand on a used car is a bad decision for you.

Re:Exactly Re:Exactly. 78k is luxury territory (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41858047)

Well, based on THAT theory, then the price is getting close. My Lexus hybrid CT200h gets a consistent 39 miles/gallon. At the current $4.17/gall, that works out to $21,834 for gas, plus approx $35,000 for the car = $56,384. Not quite 78k, but that would mean a non-hybrid like the Audi A3 I had that got a very consistent 24 mpg comes to $34,750 for gas and $33,000 for the car = $67,750. Let's see - a Camry is not much cheaper in purchase price, and is similar to the Audi in consumption.

So, $78k is still on the high side, but getting very much closer to making sense... and that doesn't take into account maintenance (is it going to be cheaper to maintain without an internal combustion engine?), depreciation, etc.

Ben

Re:Exactly Re:Exactly. 78k is luxury territory (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858347)

It's a luxury car.

Cheap gas fueled car is not going to be an option anyone buying this considered. A BMW 5 is not cheap.

Re:Exactly. 78k is luxury territory (5, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about a year and a half ago | (#41857871)

Maybe next time!

Not maybe, that's exactly the plan. Notice the trajectory here:
1) Tesla Roadster: Take a standard chassis, turn it into an electric car, sell as a high-performance roadster to people with ludicrous money lying around. The goal: to have a car prove the key technology: the battery and the engine.
2) Model S/X: Take the proven technology of the Roadster, put it into a sexy car that causes rich people to open their wallets, and sell it at a nice markup in the luxury segment. The goal: to work out the kinks in their manufacturing equipment and their supply chain.
3) Take their proven technology and manufacturing capability to create an electric for everybody.

In essence, Musk is doing a slow ramp-up that allows him to have customers subsidize the development of their final car. The 5k downpayment for a Model S is just as brilliant: it's free money for Tesla to build out their manufacturing capability. I love the Model S as a car, but it's the business model and the man at the top that makes think that Tesla is going to be the game changer for electric cars. The comparisons to Steve Jobs are not unwarranted.

Re:Exactly. 78k is luxury territory (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858491)

Given that- and the time it has been since the Roadster came out- then for my 65th birthday I'll be able to afford a 2nd hand Tesla.

I turn 42 in two weeks.

Re:Exactly. 78k is luxury territory (5, Insightful)

lurk and pounce (2663595) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858177)

You're an idiot. The high cost has almost nothing to do with cost of construction labor, government mommy laws, or union vs. non-union labor. Quite simply the cost is high because the R&D hasn't been amortized yet over several decades of production. Additionally, the Tesla would almost certainly not exists were it not for grants and subsidies from the same "government" you allude/whine about. Shut up and consider yourself lucky to pay taxes to a government that offers you an almost historically unprecedented quality of life. Government and private industry both largely employ the same type of people, except the private industry ones expect to get paid 50-1000% percent more. Talk about waste of money... Why is it when people talk about private industry as a "unit" to praise its efficiency, etc. they don't somehow include how most business fail, and the time and money wasted as a result. /rant

Re:Exactly. 78k is luxury territory (1)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858211)

Wake me up when an electric car is $20k new

http://i.mitsubishicars.com/ [mitsubishicars.com]

$21.625 after the tax credit. So... wake up.

it's a motor, controller and a chassis, for crying out loud.

And a very expensive battery. The Nissan Leaf's battery costs http://green.autoblog.com/2010/05/15/nissan-leaf-profitable-by-year-three-battery-cost-closer-to-18/ [slashdot.org] ">$18,000 to produce. This is why you don't see really good electric cars at that low of a price point. Fortunately, we have people making electric sports cars and they will help drive the advances in battery technology, eventually leading to cheaper, better batteries and cheaper electric cars.

Re:Exactly. 78k is luxury territory (2)

Teancum (67324) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858473)

While $20k for a new automobile may be your price point for purchasing one of these vehicles, why do you think this is a ridiculous price? Dismissing the cost here as if Tesla was somehow gouging the customers and that they have maybe $5k worth of parts and engineering in this vehicle is sort of absurd on your part.

There are some incredibly cheap electric automobiles including Zap Jonway [zapworld.com] , who sells an incredibly cheap electric vehicle. They don't have the performance of Tesla vehicles though. You could also get a golf cart if you don't want to worry about any sort of performance.

As for used vehicles, thanks for the "cash for clunker" program of Obama there are considerably fewer of those vehicles around to buy and their price is currently quite a bit higher... if you can even find them. Yes, there are "used" or "pre-owned" vehicles, but you can't find any $100 or $200 vehicles any more that you can take apart just for parts or spend a summer trying to rebuild.

The market that Telsa is going for right now are those who in America would normally be buying a BMW or Lexus, where $78k is typical.... perhaps a bit high but not too much. With the performance and the kind of interior work that you get with the Model S, I think it is priced about right and perhaps even a bargain for an electric automobile. If it doesn't fit your budget, don't be complaining.

Re:American concept of pricing? (5, Informative)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year and a half ago | (#41857635)

Yet it is a luxury sports sedan that has performance and amenities similar to other luxury sports sedans in its price range.

This isn't supposed to compete in price against a honda civic or aerostar minivan because it is for an entirely different market.

Re:American concept of pricing? (3, Informative)

Turboglh (816701) | about a year and a half ago | (#41857637)

I think this fits in fine with the American concept of pricing for vehicles in its class

Make no mistake, this is no chevy volt. It's a performance luxury sedan that happens to be electric

On the topic of the Karamas, they've had a series of fire issues. Including one recall that may or may not have solved all of the issues.

http://green.autoblog.com/2011/12/29/fisker-officially-recalls-karma-over-battery-safety-issue/ [autoblog.com]
http://www.autoblog.com/2012/08/12/fisker-flambe-second-karma-spontaneously-combusts-w-video/ [autoblog.com]
http://www.insideline.com/fisker/karma/uncertainty-surrounds-fisker-karma-fire-automaker-contends.html [insideline.com]

Short out any large battery and watch the result (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year and a half ago | (#41857645)

And the fisker has a VERY large battery. You'd hope for some short protection but obviously they didn't design for it being submerged. I'd be interested to know what happens if a Prius is submerged.

Re:American concept of pricing? (2, Funny)

Ichijo (607641) | about a year and a half ago | (#41857749)

There's also a model that's $49,900 after the federal rebate, and you can still drive it over 265 miles before it needs a gas station.

Re:American concept of pricing? (3, Informative)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a year and a half ago | (#41857985)

There's a 40 kWh model that starts at $49,900 before the rebate, but it only gets 160 miles, and there's a 60 kWh model that starts at $59,900 before the rebate, but it only gets 230 miles. I can't figure out which model you may be thinking of. Not to mention the fact that none of them actually need a gas station at all since they're electric. ;)

Re:American concept of pricing? (4, Funny)

Ichijo (607641) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858567)

Exactly. They can ALL go at least 265 miles before they need a gas station!

Re:American concept of pricing? (1)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | about a year and a half ago | (#41857809)

The Karma will be the Pinto of the 21st century.

The Model S - You won't be incinerated while driving! Smooth ride!

Re:American concept of pricing? (1)

AaronW (33736) | about a year and a half ago | (#41857815)

The Tesla battery design is much safer than the Fisker battery IMO. Each individual cell is protected against excessive current (shorts), under and overvoltage and that circuit is sealed inside each of the 9000 battery cells. In addition, the battery pack is designed such that if catastrophic failure occurs that the hot gases are directed away from the vehicle and occupants.

The Fisker looks really cool but it has a lot of technical issues that are still being resolved. My father owns one. The inside is really cramped despite it being such a huge car. The Tesla model S by comparison is quite roomy, though the headroom in the back seat is lacking.

Re:American concept of pricing? (2)

tgd (2822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41857873)

The Model S's range, rated by the EPA at 265 miles with the largest battery, finally fits the American conception of driving.

But at $78,500 before a $7,500 tax rebate that doesn't fit the American concept of pricing.

There are plenty of cars in that price range sold in the US every year -- thousands of them. And that's for the high end one. When you look in the $50k range, the number is huge in the US, especially with minivans cresting at $40k these days.

I really wanted one, but couldn't wait that long. :( Stupid waiting lists ...

Re:American concept of pricing? (1)

0123456 (636235) | about a year and a half ago | (#41857923)

There are plenty of cars in that price range sold in the US every year -- thousands of them.

But they don't have to stop every two or three hours to spend an hour or two recharging at one of the few charging stations available.

It's a niche toy, not a car to compete with any other $80k luxury vehicle.

Re:American concept of pricing? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858383)

If you can afford an $80k vehicle you don't need to drive more than 3 hours. You can take a plane and sit in first class.

Re:American concept of pricing? (2)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858387)

But they don't have to stop every two or three hours to spend an hour or two recharging at one of the few charging stations available.

You act like the typical driver spends more than two hours driving every day. For an overwhelming majority of people, the total time driving for an average day is well within the 2 to 3 hour mark.

Want to go on a long road trip? Well this may not be the car for you (just yet).

Re:American concept of pricing? (5, Insightful)

robot256 (1635039) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858029)

Wake me up when you're ready to compare apples to apples. There are plenty of luxury sedans and sports cars at that price range, and the Model S has more than enough features, style, and performance to match--or beat, as this award shows--every one of them. If you insist on comparing the Model S to a Toyota Camry, then I'm sorry but you're an idiot.

Musk has clearly articulated his strategy toward the electric vehicle market: Start at the high end, where the presently-high cost of batteries and the early-adopter tax can be easily absorbed. Make a car so sweet that it will fly off the lot at any price. Then once production is rolling, the technology is maturing, and costs are coming down, start removing trim features to bring the price down even further. But as long as the batteries and drive train remain expensive, it's better to sell a $60,000 luxury sedan than a $40,000 economy hatchback. Besides, he's essentially the only player in the luxury electric market. You don't expect 1-percenters to roll around in a lowly Nissan LEAF, do you?

But setting that aside, the Volt and the LEAF are not truly economy vehicles either. Both come with in-dash navigation, Bluetooth, and other advanced features as standard, and have great torque and handling, so can easily be compared to other cars in the $30-40k range. Electric cars are competitively priced if you are actually in their target market. Don't complain that you can't make your 150 mile commute on one charge, just don't buy one. The other 90% of Americans with commutes of less than 40 miles don't want you spoiling their fun.

Re:American concept of pricing? (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858105)

Fisker's Karmas seem to have issues with getting wet. [jalopnik.com]

If your definition of "getting wet" is getting fully immersed in salt water, then yes, most non-amphibian cars would have major "issues" with that.

Granted, the cars caught fire after the Hurricane ocean tide retracted, and after they had a chance to dry a little, and that was not good design, but you have to take into consideration that this line was a limited run of prototypes (and that this bad experience has most likely informed the entire industry).

Performance concept of pricing? (1)

kwerle (39371) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858189)

The Model S's range, rated by the EPA at 265 miles with the largest battery, finally fits the American conception of driving.

But at $78,500 before a $7,500 tax rebate that doesn't fit the American concept of pricing.

Make no mistake, I'd really love one of these. But $78,500 is pricy...

I'm not going to do the research.

How much do cars that go from 0 to 60 in 4.3 seconds generally cost? I dunno - that sounds very quick to me. This isn't just a sedan.

Nice car for some fraction of the market (3, Informative)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858223)

The Model S's range, rated by the EPA at 265 miles with the largest battery, finally fits the American conception of driving.

But at $78,500 before a $7,500 tax rebate that doesn't fit the American concept of pricing.

It doesn't have to fit every American's price range. It just has to fit the price range of its target audience, which is people who would be buying Mercedes and BMW sedans.

(Also, that $78,500 price quoted was for a model near the top of the line-- the base model is $49,990. http://www.rsportscars.com/tesla/2013-tesla-model-s/ [rsportscars.com] Still a big chunk of cash, but not significantly more than other cars of its class.)

Re:American concept of pricing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41858319)

I find it more hilarious that its still a car you couldn't take a long road trip in because anything over the mileage and you would have to stop and recharge. Which is why even if it cost the same as my 30k car I would still get the gas powered car.

Re:American concept of pricing? (2)

ncc74656 (45571) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858361)

But at $78,500 before a $7,500 tax rebate that doesn't fit the American concept of pricing.

...not to mention that 265 miles per charge doesn't fit the American concept of usable range. I live in Las Vegas. Nothing is within 265 miles of here: not Los Angeles, not San Diego, not Phoenix, not Salt Lake City, not Reno. You might get to Kingman, Laughlin, or St. George (or even Nothing [wikipedia.org] , for that matter :-) ) and back on a charge, but that's about it. I'd imagine the story's not much different anywhere else you might live.

Re:American concept of pricing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41858401)

I know, there's plenty of cars with that or more horsepower I could have for much less than that. Even some luxury cars like a Lexus ISF.

Re:American concept of pricing? (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858417)

Oh, and there is that all important question of how they hold up in a hurricane.

That's not really all that important. What's more important is whether or not I have to ship the thing to California for maintenance or repairs.

Re:American concept of pricing? (1)

Dahamma (304068) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858459)

The Model S's range, rated by the EPA at 265 miles with the largest battery, finally fits the American conception of driving.

But at $78,500 before a $7,500 tax rebate that doesn't fit the American concept of pricing.

Make no mistake, I'd really love one of these. But $78,500 is pricy.

Actually, it's worse than that. The article was wrong, the Signature Performance model they tested (with the 4.4s 0-60 time) is $97,900 according to Tesla's site [teslamotors.com] (and well over $100k with options like premium sound, extra row of seats, sunroof, etc). Even the non-signature performance model is $85k, and closer to $95k with options and charging cables. Those are right up there with a Panamera 4S.

Must be nice for those guys at Automobile magazine to get to drive cars without even having a clue how much they cost...

Not *American* pricing, *early adopter* pricing. (2)

hey! (33014) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858481)

Well, when the Ford Model T was introduced in 1908 at $850 ($ in current dollars), the next cheapest automobile you could buy cost over $3000, which is roughly $74K in 2012 dollars. Take the cheapest car you can buy today, say a Nissan Verso at $11,000 list. Cheap as it is, that car probably cost millions to develop, and if it were sold in the quantities that pre-Model T cars were sold it might well cost north of $50,000, just to amortize the engineering costs.

By 1908 standards, the Verso would be a marvel of engineering, yet it's $11K price tag when adjusted to 1908 dollars is only $446. That's far cheaper than the $850 price tag of the Model T. Two things make this amazingly low price: a century of experience in how to design and manufacture internal combustion engine vehicles, and huge sales volumes.

An early adopter for any technological innovation pays a steep premium. It's not range that has held back the electric car -- not in a society where four-car families is common. It's the early adopter premium you pay for new technology. That comes from having to figure out how to do so many new things (or get around limitations of current technology), and the small number of people who are willing to take the plunge with an immature technology.

It's not a case of the management at Tesla sitting down and saying to themselves, "What would be a good price for this car? How about $78,500?" $78,500 is no doubt the profit maximizing price. When the technology matures, they can *also* obtain economies of scale they can't get now. Economies of scale offered by lower prices would be overwhelmed by lack of technological know-how. This is why Tesla is focusing on the exotic car segment. Exotic cars are expected to be expensive and not entirely practical. They've produced a car which is expensive and lacks the full range of practicality of current ICE (i.e., no cross-country road trips). That's a canny way to bootstrap the development of a future model that will be the Model T of electric cars.

Re:American concept of pricing? (1)

skine (1524819) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858553)

It is up against cars in the same price category.

The $61k Porche Boxster isn't exactly something that your average American will buy either.

I just have to wonder... (2)

ModernGeek (601932) | about a year and a half ago | (#41857399)

is this the first car to make "Car of the Year" in a major publication that isn't even being mass produced?

Re:I just have to wonder... (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year and a half ago | (#41857413)

I imagine the first fusion-powered car will make it as well.

Re:I just have to wonder... (1)

mfh (56) | about a year and a half ago | (#41857583)

I imagine the first fusion-powered car will make it as well.

Fusion powered cars give me the weirdest boner. Like a car that could operate for a hundred years without any fuel... is just plain sexy!!! I could program my car to drive nonstop and I would never have to pay for rent as long as I stayed off toll-roads.

Re:I just have to wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41858077)

nope, the decay products will poison your fuel cycle. Sorry.

Re:I just have to wonder... (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858169)

I imagine the first fusion-powered car will make it as well.

Fusion powered cars give me the weirdest boner. Like a car that could operate for a hundred years without any fuel... is just plain sexy!!! I could program my car to drive nonstop and I would never have to pay for rent as long as I stayed off toll-roads.

What, don't tell me the fusion-powered car won't be flying. It has to be, they promised it.

Re:I just have to wonder... (2)

ModernGeek (601932) | about a year and a half ago | (#41857417)

2010 called, it wants my knee-jerk reaction back. Looks like it is mass produced..

Re:I just have to wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41857895)

It is hand crafted, inch by inch. Not mass produced.

Re:I just have to wonder... (1)

Abreu (173023) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858365)

It is hand crafted, inch by inch. Not mass produced.

Like a Rolls-Royce?

Re:I just have to wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41858287)

It absolutely is not mass produced, by any automotive industry standards. These are one off low volume cars.

"Model S" (3, Interesting)

mfh (56) | about a year and a half ago | (#41857467)

Did anyone else get the "Model T" reference? Like Tesla is taking a step back from the harmful environmentally dangerous combustion vehicles and redoing the whole thing. I have to admit this impresses me.

I bet we'll look back in few hundred years from within the confines of our brain jars and enjoy some very fine dream-inspired brandies and smoke about the wonders of the physical world and how foolish we were to think that was a good place to dwell for all eternity.

But until then let's enjoy these new environmentally friendly cars! To go from nowhere to nowhere for no reason other than your boss wants you to, and doing it all in style, without a bad environmental footprint apart from the scrap metal each of these will become one day.

Re:"Model S" (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41857667)

42% of electricity is generated from coal. You've still got a bad environmental footprint. You're just not polluting your immediate area.

Re:"Model S" (1, Insightful)

mrjatsun (543322) | about a year and a half ago | (#41857947)

You must work for an oil company :-) The important thing here is energy diversity. With an
all electric drive train, you can be powered from Nuclear, hydro, wind, solar, gas/diesel/biodesel,
coal, alcohol, etc. You also have the long term ability to provide your own power (e.g. solar)
instead of relying large multinational companies to do it for you with many layers of companies
taking a piece of the pie (including stock market shenanigans).

The idea car for me would be a car with an all electric drive-train, batteries for short
trips, and a multifuel small generator in the car. I'm not holding my breath. It would
disrupt too many very rich companies.

Re:"Model S" (4, Informative)

rhakka (224319) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858115)

if you're in maine, half of your power is renewables and hydro and the other half is mostly natural gas. so... kind of depends where you live.

Re:"Model S" (1)

_UnderTow_ (86073) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858563)

From what I understand, most of the energy generated by an internal combustion engine is waste heat. Power plants (even ones that burn coal) are much more efficient. With an electric car, more of the energy released from burning fuel is used to actually move the car.

Re:"Model S" (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a year and a half ago | (#41857759)

You know I overlooked that. That is very appropriate, since the Model T is what killed off the electric car about 100 years ago. I know they are trying to imply that they are at the same point in the development of the electric car that the Model T was in the development of the ICE car, but it just took 100 years longer.

Just showing up is 90 per cent (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41857471)

1) Tesla is leading the electric-car market mindshare for the simple reason that they've actually shipped a product, unlike perpetual bullshit machines BYD and Coda, who ship nothing but vaporware (wait, no - I think BYD eventually managed to get a few dozen out the door a few months ago, or something like that).

2) Think and Smart are/were doomed because they shipped crap that no-one was interested in. WTF is a "neighborhood electric vehicle"? I want a fucking ELECTRIC CAR, not a low-speed electric shitbox.

3) Series hybrids have a niche (garbage trucks and buses, mostly), and passenger cars are not that niche. This is why the Volt and Karma are failures.

4) Where are the lithium-air batteries?

5) The E 300 Bluetec HYBRID is cool.

Re:Just showing up is 90 per cent (4, Insightful)

AaronW (33736) | about a year and a half ago | (#41857865)

I was looking into Tesla's patents out of curiosity a few weeks ago and saw that they have a lot of patents regarding lithium-air batteries. It looks like they have looked long and hard at them and come up with ways to address their strengths and weaknesses, even though LABs are probably years away from production.

ROT-13 [Re:Just showing up is 90 per cent] (2)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858309)

This post is encrypted twice with ROT-13. Documenting or attempting to crack this encryption is illegal.

My ROT-26 decryptor technology can defeat your use of dual ROT-13 encryption in under 100 milliseconds! (*way* under 100 milliseconds).

--and I'm upgrading to ROT-52!

Re:Just showing up is 90 per cent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41858217)

3) Series hybrids have a niche (garbage trucks and buses, mostly), and passenger cars are not that niche. This is why the Volt and Karma are failures.

What? Can you expand on that? Why is the Volt's setup unsuitable for a passenger car, exactly?

Re:Just showing up is 90 per cent (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41858515)

Electric vehicles have been around for 115 years. Tesla is just a hype machine sucking money from wealthy people. Take another company's car, slap in a load of laptop batteries, triple the price, and hope suckers come to your door.

If they were interested in energy efficient new vehicle design, they're scrap the battery, use the proven electric motor tech, and use a simple petrol engine to generate the power. My uni made one from a Ford Escort as a design project, nothing special. Only needed a 650cc engine to outperform and be more fuel efficient that the designers from Ford. It also massively reduced the complexity of the design by throwing away the standard drive train, hugely reducing servicing costs. Now if a bunch of spotty dweebs can do this, why can't the professionals in the industry? A: Money. It's not about making efficient transport, it's marketing and built-in failures to make yet more money.

And thus... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41857483)

Automobile magazine announces its own irrelevance.

I wonder... (1)

mschaffer (97223) | about a year and a half ago | (#41857597)

I wonder if the Tesla cars have the same "hydrophobia" as the Fisker Karma ones that went up in flames in the flooding from Hurricane Sandy?

Pfff (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41857609)

Greenwash.

Dip them in salt water... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41857687)

... and hopefully they will burn to the ground in a hilarious mess. That's totally worth car of the year!

Does it have the same battery as Fisker? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41857729)

I read yesterday that a hundred Fiskers were flooded W/salt water by Sandy and they all caught fire afterwards

Canadians are out of luck! (2)

bogaboga (793279) | about a year and a half ago | (#41857819)

Can anyone convince me that this car can do well in the Canadian winter?

I imagine a dude freezing inside when he employs the heater. The [luxury] car then becomes a frozen coffin!

Yikes!

Re:Canadians are out of luck! (3, Informative)

0123456 (636235) | about a year and a half ago | (#41857937)

Can anyone convince me that this car can do well in the Canadian winter?

I'm sure it will run great at forty below. For about ten kilometers.

Re:Canadians are out of luck! (1)

robot256 (1635039) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858173)

Sorry, but you are outside the target market of electric vehicles at this time. Current battery technology does not perform well at extreme temperatures, either hot or cold. Maybe the huge battery pack would make up for that, but it will still be spending a significant amount of energy heating the battery itself, never mind the occupants. You'd only get about 50-75% of the advertised range depending on just how cold it got.

Re:Canadians are out of luck! (1)

SandwhichMaster (1044184) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858247)

Yeah, I'm a Minnesotan, so I'm all too familiar with the cold weather problems. But I can still appreciate innovation, even if the solution doesn't work for everyone (yet?).

Right out of the Movie "Trading Places" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41857835)

Look at that S-car go!

You can buy an EV today at affordable price (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41857855)

I have a Nissan Leaf. Range is under 100 miles but that meets my around town driving needs. We have my wife;s Prius for trips. Lease prices in October for 2012s were $200/month, $0 down, 24 months. Top speed is >90mph, seats 4 comfortably, 5 if a couple are kids. Decent trunk room. Good acceleration. Overnight charging in the garage with 120V (included) charger keeps me running, and my employer has 6 free charging stations on site, our town has 4, hospital has 2, etc.

Since there is no ICE, there is no oil to change, no transmission, no fluids to change, only 2 (windshield washer, inverter coolant) to top off. Only maintenance is changing wiper blades and rotating tires.

All in all a very drivable car, great end of year pricing, and very low cost to drive. EVs are here, available and practical. I love mine.

Re:You can buy an EV today at affordable price (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41858541)

lol, what do you haul things with, or do you rent a truck from Home Depot every time you want to pull your boat, trailer, etc?

Toys...

Charge time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41857903)

The Model S's range, rated by the EPA at 265 miles with the largest battery, finally fits the American conception of driving

Aside from the "supercharging station" in New York taking an hour, there is no other mention how long it takes to charge up this battery from "non-supercharging stations."

This American's conception of driving is the "all-American Road Trip" which I've find myself doing a couple times a year and I've gone to either coast and across either border. I can blink and do 1000 miles (1600km) in 16 hours comfortably with a petrol-powered engine and my 5 minute fill-ups, and dining at the best roadside diners available.

With this, I'd barely be able to get across a number of states, then need to stop for around 15 hours whilst I look for an outlet and do some pencil rubbings of a cathedral floor.

Pass.

Re:Charge time? (1)

robot256 (1635039) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858239)

The home charging stations Tesla sells are 70kW, 10 times faster than most public 240-volt charging stations. At that rate, you can charge the full 265 mile battery pack in about 2 hours. But you'd have to find fellow Tesla owners across the country to charge from, since there are very few public Tesla stations. A normal 7kW charging station will take >12 hours. Tesla is working on a solar-powered Supercharger network, though, that is intended to let Model S drivers go across the country and up and down both coasts with strategically-placed 20-minute charges. Presently the network is operational on the California seaboard only.

And here I thought it was going to be Lamborghini (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41857953)

Good to know what my next vehicle purchase should be!

Fully-electric cars are toys of the rich. They don't make sense for anyone else.

(I'm not a fan of hybrids, either, but at least they're affordable. They're still toys.)

they make sense as commuter cars (4, Insightful)

Chirs (87576) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858271)

If you're a single person driving tens of miles to work then tens of miles back, it totally makes sense to have a tiny electric car. Charge it at home, charge it at work, you're good to go.

Re:And here I thought it was going to be Lamborghi (1)

robot256 (1635039) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858367)

This is simply false. Anyone who drives less than 30 miles to work every day (which is the majority of Americans) is a potential EV owner. When you compare EVs to similarly-tricked-out gas cars, the prices are close, and when you include fuel and maintenance savings the EV wins outright. I don't know about you, but my personal driving habits don't include spontaneous trips of more than 100 miles without at least stopping to trade cars with a relative for the weekend. The marginally-reduced flexibility is totally worth the savings, moral satisfaction, and pedal-flooring fun of driving a clean electric vehicle.

It's not the range... (1)

Iniamyen (2440798) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858039)

I could get by on 50 miles range, if the damn thing didn't take 6 hours to recharge.

Top Gear had figured this out years ago when they talked about the Hydrogen powered Honda FCX Clarity - It will work better because it fits our paradigm of driving and filling up and driving some more, not necessarily because it gets good mileage.

Re:It's not the range... (1)

mfwitten (1906728) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858297)

I could get by on 50 miles range, if the damn thing didn't take 6 hours to recharge.

This comment of yours is entirely irrational; if you could get by with a 50 mile range, then there is plenty of time for you to charge your vehicle whilst you are not driving it, namely when you are sleeping.

Furthermore, according to Tesla's FAQ [teslamotors.com] :

How long does it take to recharge Model S?

Charging times are based on battery size and the combined voltage and amperage of the power source. A high-amperage 230 volt outlet can charge Model S from empty to full overnight. Model S is capable of recharging in 45 minutes using a fast charging station.

Re:It's not the range... (1)

robot256 (1635039) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858549)

Let's compare hydrogen and electric vehicles:

Hydrogen: Available at a handful of gas stations around the country. Still not the same range as gas cars, still need to drive to a fueling station to fill up. Still has a battery in addition to the ridiculously expensive hydrogen fuel cells.

Electric: Available at thousands of public charging stations around the country, and millions of standard AC outlets, but you almost never need them because you plug in at home every night without ever having to detour to find fuel.

They both have electric motors and performance to match. They both have the potential to support renewable energy diversity. But both have problems with long range--even if you go 240 miles, is there a hydrogen station when you get there? Even if the hydrogen infrastructure gets built up, electric power is already there. I predict that fuel cell vehicles will find a niche of their own, and continue to improve, but they will never replace battery-electric vehicles.

Renault Le Car (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41858123)

I stopped following the "car of the year" buzz when every major car magazine gave it to the AMC/Renault Alliance. This car was so bad that you could destroy it simply by slamming the door too hard. Set new standards for a rust bucket--it would develop rust spots while on a test ride.

Car of the year my ass.... (1)

NinjaTekNeeks (817385) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858131)

First and foremost, its ugly. Seriously Ugly, check it out here : http://www.teslamotors.com/models [teslamotors.com]
Second off, it does not compare to Porsche in any real way, speed, agility, handling, comfort, all go to Porsche.
Next, its too expensive. 80 Grand for a car that looks like an ugly Buick? No thank you, I'll but a GTR or GT500 instead. Don't forget that you will need a 240W outlet (most homes have only one for your dryer), so you'll need that, or the high performance charging unit. Count on a nice addition to your electric bill every month.

Finally, average Joe won't get one. 5,000 units in 2012, that means you can't go to the dealer and snag one, not to mention you have to customize it 3 months beforehand to make sure you get what you want. Plunk down 5k, wait months and months and end up with a battery powered Buick Le Sabre. To hell with that. These auto mags really are useless dreck these days...

Re:Car of the year my ass.... (1)

hendridm (302246) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858315)

I don't think that it's ugly, but I would never buy one for the price. Ever.

The wrong car won. (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858145)

I think the car that SHOULD have won is the Ford C-Max Hybrid--especially with the Energi plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) coming out nationally in spring 2013. Unlike the Tesla Model S with its totally silly price tag, you can get a C-Max Hybrid for 1/3 the cost and still get over 40 mpg easily reasonable daily driving.

Re:The wrong car won. (1)

Sez Zero (586611) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858399)

I think the car that SHOULD have won is the Ford C-Max Hybrid

This was automobile of the year, not econobox of the year. The Tesla was in the top three with the BRZ and Boxster, which are all of a much higher level of performance than the Ford Crap-Max box.

Car mag writes aren't going to pick a total performance dog for Car of the Year. The C-Max Hybrid only has electric top speed of 62mph!

Re:The wrong car won. (1)

jkflying (2190798) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858435)

If you're looking at the Ford C-Max, you should probably check out a VW Golf TDI. It gets over 50MPG. It has for the last 8 years. And you're complaining that the Tesla is expensive? Compare it to a BMW 5-series, which is what it provides similar performance to. It's not a bad deal at all then, and looks way cooler.

The sticker vs the savings (1)

lilfields (961485) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858339)

The sticker price of the car would never pay for the gas money you'd save by switching to it. I actually like the Tesla cars, you can go into their stores in some cities and it's pretty neat to see...but it's also expensive as hell. If you want to save on gas just buy a motorcycle.

American concept of driving (0)

istartedi (132515) | about a year and a half ago | (#41858405)

I think it was put best by a former room-mate, back in my college days who said, more or less:

My first car was a gas-guzzling beater of a sedan that I bought from the neighbor's parents when they got a new car. I worked on it myself and it wasn't much to look at, but it was all I could afford with the few hundred dollars I made that Summer. I was young, and just knowing that I could hop in it and go anywhere in the country gave me an incredible sense of freedom and adventure.

$78,000 green-mobiles that force you to spend the night in a motel half-way across one state don't fit the bill.

great products (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41858569)

I am keeping my fingers crossed that my next car will be their Model X. Of course I'll wait for the second year, since I don't feel like being a beta tester for any car, no matter the energy source.

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