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Tesla S Electric Is "Motor Trend’s" Car of the Year

Tesla Motors(NEW YORK) -- Motor Trend magazine named Tesla Model S its 2013 Car of the Year, the first time a non-gasoline powered vehicle received the honor.

A panel of 11 judges voted unanimously for the Tesla Model S after driving 25 contenders in a closed-course environment, testing such factors as acceleration, brakes, and suspension tuning.

The Model S beat finalists including luxury and family cars, like the Ford C-Max Hybrid, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, BMW 3 Series, Lexus GS, Porche 911, Porche Boxster, and Subaru BRZ, according to the magazine.

Edward Loh, editor-in-chief of Motor Trend, said the car was “truly a game changer” and the fastest American sedan tested.

Tesla plans to make 20,000 of the Model S cars next year.

The firm, based in Palo Alto, Calif., and founded in 2003, made headlines when it created the first all-electric sports car, the Tesla Roadster. 

The car company became “incredibly controversial” during the election season.  During one of the presidential debates, Gov. Mitt Romney famously called Tesla and Solyndra “losers” that had received support from the federal government.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio