PALO ALTO (CNET) – The 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year has all the features you’d expect from a vehicle that has earned that honor. It has a light body, advanced design, a roomy cabin, and plenty of load capacity. What the Tesla Model S doesn’t have is an internal combustion engine.
Motor Trend heaps praise on the Model S, saying it drives like a sports car and sashays like a supermodel working a Paris catwalk. I never thought about a car being able to sashay, but it’s certainly an evocative comparison.
This all-electric supermodel starts at $58,570 and has a range of 265 miles. That’s not enough for a cross-country road trip, though a new network of Supercharger fast charging stations could make it more practical for long journeys.
Related Video: CNET’s Brian Cooley Test Drives The Model S
We’ve come a long way since Cadillac took home the honors for the first Motor Trend Car of the Year back in 1949. That behemoth sported a honking V8 engine and enough chrome to blot out the sun.
Here’s a quick look at some key moments in the evolution of Tesla:
July 2003 — Tesla Motors is founded in California by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning.
April 2004 — Billionaire PayPal founder Elon Musk invests in Tesla and joins the board.
August 2006 — Actor George Clooney is among those who put down $100,000 deposits for the first 100 Tesla Roadster electric sports cars. Tesla says the cars will be delivered in mid-2007.
February 2007 — Tesla says it will build a $35 million plant in Albuquerque, N.M., to produce the Model S.
September 2007 — Tesla delays launch of the Roadster, saying it needs more time to test its durability.
November 2007 — Eberhard is ousted. He later sues Tesla, but the suit is eventually dropped.
March 2008 — Tesla begins production of the $109,000 Roadster. It will eventually sell 2,150 Roadsters. The company announces it will sell the Model S by 2010.
June 2008 — Tesla cancels its plans to build a plant in New Mexico after California gives it tax breaks. First Tesla store opens in Los Angeles.
October 2008 — Musk becomes CEO and says Model S will be delayed until the company gets federal loans, citing the global financial crisis.
March 2009 — Tesla starts taking reservations for the Model S and says production will begin in late 2011. More than 500 people reserve the sedans in the first week.
June 2009 — Tesla gets approval for $465 million in low-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Energy to produce the Model S.
August 2009 — Tesla announces it’s moving its headquarters from San Carlos to a larger site in Palo Alto, where it will also build electric drive systems.
January 2010 — Tesla registers for an initial public offering of stock.
May 2010 — Tesla buys a former Toyota and General Motors factory in Fremont for $42 million. The company will eventually employ 1,000 people at the plant making the Model S.
May 2010 — Toyota Motor Corp. and Tesla say they will cooperate on electric vehicle development. Toyota agrees to purchase Tesla shares.
June 2010 — Tesla shares begin trading on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange. They gain 40.5 percent from their IPO price of $17 to close at $23.89. The IPO raises $226.1 million.
January 2011 — Tesla, reporting full-year financial results for the first time, says it lost $154.3 million in 2010.
January 2012 — Tesla shares fall when two key engineers resign on the same day. Tesla ends production of the Roadster to focus on the Model S.
February 2012 — Tesla reveals the Model X small SUV and says it will go on sale in early 2014.
May 2012 — Tesla shares jump when the company announces it will deliver the Model S to its first customers on June 22.
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