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Why the Tesla Model S was the most influential EV (and car) of the decade

The Model S was previewed as a concept in 2009 before entering production in 2012. A minor facelift and hardware upgrade followed in early and late 2016 respectively. (Images via Tesla Motors)

The automotive industry was a very different place ten years ago. Instead of a shift towards EVs, manufacturers were predominantly still being told that diesel was the ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘efficient’ option. Few were bold enough to release hybrids, with the majority being made by Toyota and it’s premium sub-brand Lexus. Fully electric cars were rare, and most that did exist had a reputation for being ugly, small and unable to drive for any significant distance. The Nissan Leaf (which first arrived in 2010) tried to alternate people’s perception of fully electric cars although many would argue it fell short – it still looked quite ‘different’ and it’s range was far from impressive. That said, it has improved significantly since then and Nissan have now sold nearly half a million of them. But I digress…

The real change came from Tesla Motors, a Californian company founded by engineers  Marc Tarpenning and Martin Eberhard in 2003. Their first car, an expensive, all-electric modified Lotus Elise called the Roadster went predominantly unnoticed outside of the West Coast. By the beginning of the 2010, production of the Roadster was finishing up and a majority shareholder by the name of Elon Musk had taken charge at Tesla since becoming their CEO in 2007. He planned to take the company public (which he did at $17 a share in July 10’) and release an all-electric $50,000 sedan that was as desirable as the German execs and full of cutting edge tech. That sedan had first been shown as a concept in 2009, but it wasn’t until 2012 when first deliveries were made. It was worth the wait.

The Model S was incredibly fast, good looking and had a range that was more than compelling for most (up to 265 miles // 426km with the 85kWh battery). On top of all of that, it featured best-in-class safety ratings and OTA updates that ensured it got better and better over time. Whilst most of the competition had barely just got Bluetooth the Model S featured a gigantic 17” touchscreen and a web browser. And that’s all before you mention Autopilot, a truly game changing feature that first arrived as AP1 in 2014.

So, the Model S was pretty awesome then? Yes, no doubt – and it’s not only our most influential EV of the Decade but also our Car of the Decade too. The S is solely responsible for the ‘EVolution’ that followed it’s release  – without some of it’s de-patented battery tech the competition wouldn’t be where they are today. Simply it accelerated the industry as a whole. Without it the Model X and Model 3 wouldn’t have happened too, and Tesla would be far from the $420 a share global business they are today. The Tesla Model S – the most influential EV of the 2010s as well as the overall Car of the Decade too.

 Do you think it deserved the accolade, or would you have picked another car, such as the Model 3, instead? Feel free to let us know in the replies section below! 

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