Tesla Motors's battery-powered Model S sedan was named 2013 "Car of the Year" by Motor Trend magazine, a first for the maker of electric vehicles led by Elon Musk that's working to accelerate production.
Tesla's 2013 Model S, with a $US57,400 ($55,000) base price, beat competitors including BMW's new 3-Series sedan, Ford's Fusion sedan, Honda's revamped Accord and Toyota's 2013 Lexus GS, Motor Trend said today in a statement. The magazine said it's the first time the award went to an electric vehicle.
"It is a testament not only to the luxury sedan and electric car segment, but to American engineering overall," Edward Loh, editor-in-chief of Motor Trend, said in the statement. "To be the first car in the 64-year history of the award to be powered by something other than gasoline must mean it is very special."
The Palo Alto, California-based carmaker, named for inventor Nikola Tesla, is racing to expand Model S production at its plant in Fremont, California, after saying in September that 2012 deliveries wouldn't reach an initial 5,000-unit goal.
Tesla has said that next year it will build at least 20,000 of the cars and add the Model X electric sport-utility vehicle in 2014.
Tesla shares have increased 8.8 per cent this year.