For the first time ever, Motor Trend Magazine has named a non-gasoline-powered automobile – the Tesla Motors Model S sedan – as its 2013 “Car of the Year.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in response that the company will be accelerating production in its Fremont plant anticipation of increased demand. Production began in June, but by September officials were saying deliveries wouldn’t reach an initial year-end goal of 5,000-units.
“It is a testament not only to the luxury sedan and electric car segment, but to American engineering overall,” said Motor Trend editor-in-chief Edward Loh in the statement. “To be the first car in the 64-year history of the award to be powered by something other than gasoline must mean it is very special.”
Now, however, the company says at least 20,000 of the cars will be produced in 2013 and Tesla will add a Model X electric sport-utility vehicle in 2014.
The Model S is a full-sized sedan equipped with a 85 kWh lithium-ion battery pack with a 265-mile range, better than every other electric car on the market including the Tesla Roadster. It has a combined fuel economy of 89 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent.
The first 1,000 Tesla model S sedans were Signature and Signature performance series limited editions with a base price of $95,000 and $105,000, respectively. The standard Sedan price depends on battery pack size with the largest being available today for $57,400. Base and mid-range models of the Tesla S sedan were both scheduled for production in the fourth quarter of 2012.
To win the Motor Trend award, the Tesla S beat competitors including the BMW 3-Series sedan, Ford Motors Fusion sedan, Honda Motor’s revamped Accord and Toyota Motor’s 2013 Lexus GS.