Representing a first for the International Engine of the Year Awards, the Electric Powertrain category is a grouping specifically for 100% battery electric vehicles, showcasing the advances in technology for this type of powertrain as it grows in popularity across the world. And the first-ever winner of this all-important new category is, of course, Tesla, with its highly flexible powertrain that currently drives the Model S and X and will soon be in the 3.
It comes as no surprise that the now four-time Green Engine champion has taken first place in the Electric Powertrain group, but perhaps the biggest shock is how easily Tesla charged ahead of its BEV rivals. BMW’s acclaimed i3 finished a huge 113 points off the pace, while GM’s much fancied Chevrolet Bolt e-powertrain, which led early on, ended up with a 156-point shortfall.
“Tesla is still in a class of one where EVs are concerned,” enthused Motor Trend’s Jason Cammisa, who awarded the powertrain top marks. “These products represent the only real-world alternative to internal combustion. And one is the quickest car ever produced – quite a bonus.”
Indeed as Cammisa notes, last year Elon Musk and co stunned the industry when the range-topping Model S P100D with Ludicrous mode was launched, in the process becoming (at the time) the fastest accelerating production car ever built, with a 0-100km/h sprint time of just 2.5 seconds.
That ‘blink-and-you’ll-miss-it’ performance is combined with a new 100kWh lithium-ion battery –Tesla’s biggest unit yet – that has increased the Model S’s already unbeatable range by 105km, from 508km in its previous P90D guise to 613km on the NEDC.
Such a winning combination of power and range meant there was only ever going to be one winner of the first Electric Powertrain gong at the International Engine of the Year Awards, as Irish juror Padraic Deane nicely sums up: “Every now and again some bright new thinking comes along, and Tesla has made a full electric car exceptionally desirable.”