By Jeremy Unger
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk announced to reporters and fans at Tesla’s Manhattan dealership last Monday that the company’s new Model S received the famous Motor Trend Magazine‘s Car of the Year award, the first time the magazine has chosen an all-electric car for the award. The luxury sedan also pulled off another first in the magazine’s history when it received an unanimous vote from Motor Trend‘s panel of judges, the first in the magazine’s history.
Monday’s announcement is more goods news for Tesla and its investors. Last week, Tesla announced better than expected quarterly earnings alongside increases in production and orders of the Model S. And Motor Trend’s recognition is just the latest haul for Tesla’s flagship car; both Automobile Magazine and Yahoo gave their end of the year awards to the Model S as well.
“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 Tesla press release . “Nothing illustrates this more clearly than winning Motor Trend‘s Car of the Year by unanimous decision against a field of exceptional competitors.”
In the last two weeks stocks have increased more than 10 percent to more than $32 a share behind the positive news and reviews. Investors seem encouraged that a new company can succeed in the fledgeling electric vehicle market.
“The problem with hybrids and electric cars is that previously they weren’t great to look at, but it makes you wonder that if the Model S can get great mileage and look attractive, why can’t the Prius and the Leaf and others do that?” said New York resident and car enthusiast Ed Carroll.
Although the Model S is paving ground according to car experts, the question of long distance travel still remains an issue. Musk sought to calm those worries, announcing at Monday’s event that a new second Supercharger network will be built between Boston and Washington, D.C. and opened in stages starting next month in Milford, Connecticut. California is currently the only state with a running Supercharger network. “We expect all of the United States to be covered by the end of next year,” said Musk. “These stations will provide three hours of driving for a half hour of charging and will be free, not for a little, but forever.”
Tesla’s next challenge is getting the Model S to more consumers. More than 13,000 people have reserved their own Model S’s, and Musk said he hopes to increase production to 20,000 Model S’s a year within the coming months. There are currently only a few hundred Model S’s on the road, but if Musk can increase production, the demand seems to be present for the high tech car to emerge as a serious contender in the auto industry.