Will award return investors to Tesla?
The company's Model S sedan is the first non-gasoline powered vehicle to be named Motor Trend's car of the year.
But Motor Trend just gave the company a much-needed shot in the arm Tuesday by naming the Model S its 2013 car of the year. It's a pretty huge award in the industry. The Model S beat out 10 other finalists, including the Porsche 911 and Boxster, the BMW 3 Series and Ford's (F) C-Max Hybrid and Fusion.
Investors began taking another look at Tesla Tuesday, sending shares up 2% to $31.71. The stock has had a bumpy year, falling to $23 in January and soaring to $38 in the spring.
The award marks the first time Motor Trend has given its top honor to a non-gasoline powered car. "It drives like a sports car, eager and agile and instantly responsive," Motor Trend said in its writeup of the award. "But it's also as smoothly effortless as a Rolls-Royce, can carry almost as much stuff as a Chevy Equinox, and is more efficient than a Toyota Prius."
Motor Trend said the sedan is "proof positive" that America can still make great things. Tesla makes the Model S at its plant in Fremont, Calif.
In an interview with CNBC, Tesla CEO Elon Musk described the award as a turning point in history. "The 'Car of the Year' award has a great deal of credibility in the industry and with consumers, and that additional validation, I think, is probably what a lot of people were looking for to buy the car."
The Model S costs roughly between $50,000 and $98,000, and can be upgraded with luxuries such as a glass panoramic roof, heated leather seats and turn-by-turn navigation.
Tesla isn't building the Model S as quickly as it had expected, which is the main reason why the company cut its full-year revenue forecast to between $400 million and $440 million, down from the previous $560 million to $600 million.
It only expected to deliver as many as 225 Model S customers in the third quarter, but deliveries should increase to between 2,500 and 3,000 in the fourth quarter.
Tesla has received criticism this year, most notably when Romney said that President Obama gave $90 billion in tax breaks to green energy companies.
"You put $90 billion -- like 50 years' worth of breaks -- into solar and wind, to Solyndra and Fisker and Tesla and Ener1," Romney said in the Oct. 3 presidential debate. "I mean, I had a friend who said, you don't just pick the winners and losers; you pick the losers."
Musk, who describes himself as an independent voter, said on CNBC that he's tired of getting pummeled politically. But he said that Democrats have been right about environmental issues.
"At some point we'll run out of oil," he said. "So we know that's going to happen. What we don't know is what the effect of putting all of that (carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere is going to be. But since we're going to run out of it anyway, why don't we transition to a sustainable mode of transport and energy generation sooner rather than later and not run that experiment?"
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It better be a good car for 50 to 100 grand.
Even if the precious minerals to make the batteries are mined in China and disposal of one creates its own toxic waste site.
I say keep building them! Although most will not be able to afford one...
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