I paid off the Swedish tank the other day. Well, a couple of months ago actually, but in one last expensive F-U, the radiator decided to pack it in just after I'd made the last lease payment. But, that crippling, unexpected hit to the wallet aside, I suddenly found myself with a lazy grand a month to spare. Good times.

But as much as I'm loving not having car lease payments taking a bite out of my arse, I think I might have just found my next motor. For the first time ever Motor Trend magazine in the US has voted unanimously for a winner of Car of the Year. Even more significantly, the winner has no internal combustion engine. It's Elon Musk's electric vehicle, the Tesla.

Whoa there my bogan friends! Put down that tire lever and stop snarling. This is the Wheels magazine of America we're talkin' about. Do you remember, America? They used to build the biggest, baddest most ridiculously overpowered cars in the world. (Still do, but nowadays they're largely just ridiculous). Your Ford versus Holden jihad? That's an American holy war in its genesis.

Before we look at this amazeballz project let's look at the guy who's driving it. (See what I did there?) Elon Musk is no lentil eating wank badger. Dude builds rockets. Actual. Goddamn. Rockets. And he shoots them into space. If the human race is ever to get off this worthless mudball and start ruthlessly colonizing the rest of the solar system, and then the galaxy, the way we're supposed to, it'll be because somebody like Elon Musk – or more likely, you know, Elon Musk himself – decided to build a giant freaking rocket and get out there taking the awesome that is planet Earth to the stars.

NASA, the ESA, China? Pfft. Do me a favour. They're gonna be begging this guy to launch their payloads.

Musk, who made his first fortune with PayPal, will probably make and lose and make a few more before he reaches his stated goal of bringing life to Mars. As Wired magazine said of him: "When a man tells you about the time he planned to put a vegetable garden on Mars, you worry about his mental state. But if that same man has since launched multiple rockets that are actually capable of reaching Mars — sending them into orbit, Bond-style, from a tiny island in the Pacific — you need to find another diagnosis."

The Space X rocket is rewriting the economics of spaceflight and, with it, incidentally, the politics. But long before we break orbit, Musk is looking to put a dent in the earth, right here and now. The Tesla might do it.

Mocked by Mitt Romney as a loser during the election campaign, the car now looks… Hell, the car now IS a winner. It didn't take out Car of the Year because it's an electric vehicle. As the judges made clear, the fact that you can drive it across the continent without ever opening your wallet was just a bonus.

No electric vehicle has ever come close to winning before because none of them have been good enough. Embarrassing, glorified golf carts they were. But the judges were adamant about the Tesla's engineering excellence, its aesthetic delights, and the grunt it delivers when you put down the pedal.

I've been waiting like something for this for years. And I know I'll have to wait a few more. We probably won't see the Tesla in Australia before its second or third iteration. (UPDATE. Bzzzt! Wrong! They will totally be released here. Coupla people in the comment thread have already ordered theirs. My envy is toxic and near infinite).

In the meantime, however, this win should spur on the other car manufacturers to lift their game. Most of us don't drive huge distances everyday, and we rarely get the chance to let the warp engines sing. Most of us putter along from one suburb to another and back, or across the city at best.

In southeast Queensland, where the bumbling malfeasance of the state government has led, against its own wishes, to a massive increase in the installed base of solar panels, there now exists a large market which should find the idea of plugging their car into a wall socket more attractive than before.

Scoff all you like, petrol guzzlers. JB is excited! My new solar panels went up the other day. I'm now thinking I might stick a few more up there just for my shiny new car.


JB's personal blog, powered by his growing array of solar panels, can be enjoyed at Cheeseburgergothic.com.