13 11, 2012

Aluminum-built Tesla Model S Wins Car of The Year

2017-01-26T23:37:30+00:00November 13th, 2012|

Back in July, we told you about Tesla’s Model S – the electric-powered, aluminum-built car that the company considered to be its flagship model following its June release. It impressed critics then, but as we’re closing out the 2012 calendar year, it’s done more than just impress critics — it’s won awards. Big awards, too – like Automobile Magazine’s 2013 Automobile Of The Year. Yeah, that’s pretty significant.

“We can’t say for certain whether Tesla will be able to make that happen. The auto industry is tough enough for a giant like General Motors. What we can say with this award is that Tesla deserves to succeed. It has managed to blend the innovation of a Silicon Valley start-up, the execution of a world-class automaker, and, yes, the chutzpah of its visionary leader. The result is the Model S. It’s not vaporware. It’s our Automobile of the Year.”

Now, to be fair, Automobile Magazine doesn’t mention the word “aluminum” once in its Automobile Of The Year article. Instead, it talks about things like performance, handling, speed, and features. But perhaps that omission is one of the biggest compliments the aluminum materials can receive. After all, if a car’s aluminum chassis can merely be part of the manufacturing process rather than a design revolution, that means that it just might be ready for mainstream acceptance.

With many car manufacturers already looking at aluminum as part of their body manufacturing process, this is more validation that the industry’s on the right path – and with aluminum’s combination of strength and lightweight appeal, safety awards and better MPG aren’t far behind.

3 07, 2012

Tesla Goes All-In With Aluminum

2015-06-18T15:33:38+00:00July 3rd, 2012|

Last week, we told you about how the automotive industry is ramping up its use of aluminum for a new wave of chassis and doors. Tesla Motors, manufacturer of high-end electric cars, has leapt beyond the curve, shipping out the new aluminum-bodied electric 2012 Model S on June 22.

Tesla Motors has always stepped to its own beat when it comes to consumer cars (the company also says electric powertrain components within the industry), as its electric Roadster is far more powerful than other electric vehicles on the market. So it wasn’t that surprising when Tesla decided to swap out composite materials for aluminum in their new Sedan.

Why the change? Strength and safety were the key drivers, as they should be in any vehicle. After that, Tesla’s Franz von Holzausen cited manufacturing costs and efficiency, along with weight. The result is an electric vehicle that looks and performs like a Tesla, except it’s got an aluminum body beneath the bells and whistles. (And if you’re curious, the Model S’s design goal including the aluminum body is a 2012 five-star NHTSA safety rating.) As the car enthusiasts at Winding Road put it, “When we headed out onto the road, the sense of solidity in the body structure was impressive. The car feels as if it was carved from solid billet aluminum rather than assembled from pieces bolted or bonded together.”

Does the talk of a high-performance aluminum-body car get your motor revving? Check out the specs of the 2012 Model S at Tesla’s official site.

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