Currently reading: Richard Bremner's car of the decade: Tesla Model S
We asked leading Autocar writers to pick a favourite car of the last 10 years. Bremner is seduced by the industry-shifting EV
Richard Bremner Autocar
News
2 mins read
31 December 2019

This is the car that proved it possible for five to travel a long way in an electric car and not run out of juice. It made electric cars desirable in a way that they hadn’t been before, it made them fast – ludicrously so – made them fun. And the not always politic activities of its energetic boss added colour to an entirely new kind of ride.

There have been plenty of bumps in the road for Tesla and some for owners of the Model S, especially the early adopters. But when you consider that the Tesla brand did not exist before 2003, that it is now heading for its millionth sale, that it is known across most of the world and that it has, for the most part, an excellent reputation, its achievement is astonishing. True, the company has yet to show a yearly profit – it recently surprised analysts with a quarterly profit – but it will probably get there, despite the shattering glass of its bizarre new Cybertruck.

The Model S is astonishing too. First for its range, which, when Autocar tested the now-obsolete 85D, was good for 220-250 miles - three times what the contemporary Nissan Leaf could achieve. It could dispatch 60mph in 4.7sec and, still more impressively, bound from 50-70mph in a heartbeat. The Model S has evolved considerably since then to offer more performance, a longer range and greater efficiency. Of course, it’s not a cheap car, being aimed straight at luxury models like the Mercedes S Class, but it’s about more than just range and performance. It can be had with one motor or two, two-wheel drive or four and the super-low location of its battery pack affords it the same centre of gravity as a Lotus Elise. So grip is plentiful, even if fails to serve the nuanced tactility of its European rivals. But its does deliver spa-like calm.

The most calming factor in the Tesla offer is not the quietness of its drivetrain, however, but the fact that the company had the foresight to install an exclusive network of fastchargers to support its car, not merely in its native US but around the world. There are now over 14,000 of them. These, and an above-average range, remove most of the usual EV anxieties.

The Model S isn’t electric perfection. But it transformed the EV market, transformed luxury cars and even transformed the dashboard with its tablet presentation. And it has shown the way for the rest of the industry. Not bad for a start-up.

READ MORE

Andrew Frankel's car of the decade: Alpine A110

Colin Goodwin's car of the decade: Formula E​

Steve Cropley's car of the decade: McLaren MP4-12C

Advertisement
Advertisement

Find an Autocar review

Join the debate

Comments
9

31 December 2019
When you put it like that then yeah it's definitely worthy, but it's model 3 sibling which does it all at a more available price point would be even more worthy, great car though, no doubt.

31 December 2019

Imagine if electric cars were mainstream first.  Then someone came along with the internal combustion engine idea.  "It allows for you to refill it really quickly" but "It chucks out poisonous gases and particles into the air"  "It burns through loads of CO2 when crawling in traffic"  "It's noisy and smelly".  I think the world would have said we'll stick with slightly longer refill times please on our batteries.....

1 January 2020
Deputy wrote:

Imagine if electric cars were mainstream first.  Then someone came along with the internal combustion engine idea.  "It allows for you to refill it really quickly" but "It chucks out poisonous gases and particles into the air"  "It burns through loads of CO2 when crawling in traffic"  "It's noisy and smelly".  I think the world would have said we'll stick with slightly longer refill times please on our batteries.....

Electric cars have been around for over a century, originally very popular with women who didnt want to or couldnt turn a crank start or faff about with other propulsion or starting methods, and then someone invented "electric start" and the rest they say is history. 

Pure EV's are not the future, they are the past. 

31 December 2019

 That's what Ev's lack, the oh! What a great shape, the feel of fine Leather interior, the look that it says expensive, none of these Ev's, well maybe just me, have that, I know they're better for the environment and all that, but, for me a car has look good, to make me want to buy one, that's missing I'm afraid.

31 December 2019

From a history-making point of view, I don't see how anything but the Model S can be COTD.

31 December 2019

 Taking this opportunity to wish all posters a good new year.....

31 December 2019
Finally someone with some sense ;)

31 December 2019

Maybe there should be an Autocar COTD 'showdown' from the shortlist presented by each correspondent to determine the COTD?

1 January 2020

Tesla model S

Gamechanger

Absolutely

Amen

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review