Motor Trend, the influential automotive industry magazine, named the Tesla Model S its car of the year Tuesday, the first time a non-gasoline powered vehicle has won the prestigious award.
The Model S, which is manufactured in California and costs between 50,000 dollars and 100,000 dollars depending on battery options and upgrades, beat out a pool of finalists that included the Ford C-Max Hybrid, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, BMW 3 Series, Lexus GS, Porsche 911, Porsche Boxster, and Subaru BRZ, according to the magazine.
"It is a testament not only to the luxury sedan and electric car segment, but to American engineering overall," Edward Loh, editor-in-chief of Motor Trend, said 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."
Tesla was founded in 2003 by Elon Musk, the founder of PayPal and SpaceX, with the goal of bringing electric-powered cars into the mainstream. The Model S is only its second model, after the Tesla Roadster, a small two-seater sports car introduced in 2008 and favoured by celebrities such as George Clooney.
"Our aspiration with the Model S was to show that an electric car truly can be better than any gasoline car, which is a critical step towards the widespread adoption of sustainable transport," said Musk in a statement. "Nothing illustrates this more clearly than winning Motor Trend's Car of the Year by unanimous decision against a field of exceptional competitors."
The award could give a boost to the electric car market in the U.S. which has not lived up to expectations despite high fuel prices. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, only 50,000 electric cars have been sold across the US since last year. By contrast Toyota sells 70,000 Prius hybrids every month.
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