It’s been a banner week for Tesla. With the past three days, they posted their first-ever quarterly profit, they announced they’re in talks with Google to develop a driverless car, and now, perhaps the crowning glory, their high-end electric Model S has been named Motor Trend’s 2013 “Car of the Year.”
The Model S received the highest rating from Consumer Reports in an evaluation of the luxury sedan that led first-quarter North American plug-in car sales.
The Model S from Palo Alto, California-based Tesla scored 99 out of 100 points, the non-profit magazine said. The $89,650 car bought by Consumer Reports “performed better, or just as well overall” as any vehicle it has ever tested, the Yonkers, the New York-based magazine said.
“It accelerates, handles and brakes like a sports car, it has the ride and quietness of a luxury car and is far more energy efficient than the best hybrid cars,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of automotive testing. “It does just about everything really, really well.”
Consumer Reports also loved the toys inside, including a giant 17-inch touch screen n the centre of the dashboard, controlling everything from high-res Google Earth maps to opening the sunroof, setting the responsiveness of the regenerative brakes, and adjusting the suspension ride height.
Still, the magazine said it isn’t recommending the car yet as there isn’t enough reliability data so far to do so.
A favorable evaluation from the influential publication comes after Tesla yesterday reported its first-ever profit in the quarter that ended March 31. Tesla, led by billionaire Elon Musk, 41, beat estimates for the quarter by delivering 4,900 units of the Model S, which has a $69,900 base price, in 2013’s first three months.
No rechargeable car has won a score as high as the Model S. The magazine last gave a vehicle 99 points in 2007, when Toyota Motor Corp. (7203)’s Lexus LS460L ranked that high, said Douglas Love, a spokesman for Consumer Reports.
Among competing luxury cars, Consumer Reports said Porsche AG’s Panamera received 84 points and Fisker Automotive Inc.’s Karma plug-in hybrid got 57 points. Fisker Automotive stopped making cars in 2012 and fired most employees in April.
The Model S shortcomings include limited range (although at 322 kms, it’s far more than most electric cars) , long charge times and a limited service network, the magazine said.
A review of the car appears in the July issue of Consumer Reports.
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