How many electric cars are on the U.S. market today? I can think of the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt — and, of course — the Tesla Model S. Despite all of these other zero-emission vehicles (that are also a bit more affordable), Tesla always tops this list. Everyone, everywhere, has heard of Tesla. Despite never seeing one in person (though I do admit that the Model S probably isn’t great for Wisconsin driving) — every single person I mention Tesla to knows exactly what I’m talking about. And this is despite a reputation for being too expensive, too inaccessible (lacking a national charging infrastructure — but Tesla is working on that), and did I mention too expensive?
But for those of you looking for your next $62,400+ EV, the Tesla comes with some pretty great stats: The 60 kWh battery option (pricing starts at $62,400 for this battery option) gets an estimated 230 mile range at 55 mph, comes with an eight-year battery warranty, and is available with optional supercharge capabilities. The Model S was also named Motor Trend’s 2012 car of the year. And in 2013, it received Consumer Reports’ top score, scoring 99 out of 100 in the magazine’s battery of tests.
“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,” Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of automotive testing, said in a statement. The magazine tested a Model S that cost $89,650 and was equipped with an 85 kWh lithium-ion battery (larger and pricier than the standard 60 kWh battery).
So while other electric car makers are closing their doors – despite U.S. Department of Energy loans for many – Tesla appears to be doing okay. Aptera closed up shop in 2011, laid off 30 employees, and was unable to market a car that could have gotten the equivalent of 190 miles per gallon and sold for less than $30,000, by company estimates. (The DOE said it had not given Aptera any commitment for a loan).