Mitt Romney may think it's a bad investment and probably won't be putting one into his car elevator soon, but the Tesla Model S is blowing a lot of people away. Automobile Magazine just declared it the Car of the Year:
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. Even those numbers -- positively absurd for a large sedan that uses not a lick of gasoline -- fail to communicate how crazy it actually feels. "It's alarming to jam the accelerator of such a big car and have it surge forward so quickly and so quietly," says copy editor Rusty Blackwell. Like most electric cars, the Model S generates its torque almost instantly. Unlike most electric cars, Tesla's torque amounts to a prodigious 443 lb-ft, all of which goes to the rear wheels. The only indicators of your stunning momentum are the rush of scenery around you, a faint whine, and the digital speedometer's difficulty keeping pace.
At Fast Company, Ariel Schwartz explains why this is a big deal.
It’s hard to overstate how important it is that the Model S can match up to and even surpass the performance of its gasoline-powered counterparts. If electric vehicles are to be taken seriously, they need to match up in performance and range to traditional vehicles. No electric car can yet be recharged as fast as a regular car can get a tank full of oil, but Tesla’s fast charger network and big batteries are a start.