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Tesla Model S wins Motor Trend’s Car of the Year

The super-stylish, super-sporty, and super-green Tesla Model S sedan is this year’s Motor Trend Car of the Year, the automotive magazine announced this week.

The selection of an all-electric vehicle as Car of the Year is a first for Motor Trend and Tesla’s Model S beat out other finalists such as the Porsche Boxster, BMW 3-series, Lexus GS, and Subaru BRZ, Tesla Motors said.

Motor Trend said Tesla faced tough competition in the selection process but in the end, only the Model S was a unanimous selection for the honor by all participating judges.

The award could prove the capper on a stunning year for Tesla and especially for its high-profile chairman and CEO, Elon Musk. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based automaker began delivering Model S vehicles to customers in June, with the new luxury sedan quickly building on the excitement generated by the company’s first available all-electric, plug-in automobile, the original Tesla Roadster.

Musk, meanwhile, is also co-founder and CEO of SpaceX, the aerospace venture that this year became the first private company to successfully orchestrate a supply run to the International Space Station using its own rocket and capsule. SpaceX has been contracted by NASA to make a dozen supply runs to the ISS in the next few years.

The Model S is a four-door, full-size luxury sedan with rear-wheel drive and a rear-positioned three-phase AC induction motor. The base model, currently being manufactured in Fremont, Calif., sports a 40 kW-h battery pack, can travel up to 160 miles on a single charge, and starts at $58,570. Tesla also released about 1,000 limited-edition Signature and Signature Performance Model S sedans with an 85 kWh battery pack good for between 265 and 300 miles on one charge, priced at $95,400 and $105,400, respectively.

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