Though the gap between first and second place this year was smaller than in 2016, BMW’s impressive 1.5-litre three-cylinder electric-gasoline hybrid failed to stop Tesla’s totally electric powertrain from claiming a fourth consecutive victory in this increasingly competitive category.
In fact, such is the California tech company’s dominance here – no other engine has taken the Green crown so many times since the classification was introduced in 2008 – that not even General Motors’ new full-electric effort, which powers the innovative Chevrolet Bolt subcompact car, could sway the judges’ minds.
“It’s still the powertrain that offers the best marriage of high, convenient power output, zero local emissions and extremely low CO2 equivalent emissions,” said Alvaro Sauras Alonso, technical editor of Spanish publication Autofácil – Car&Tecno, while Motor Trend’s senior features editor, Jason Cammisa, praised its ability to offer both world-beating performance and efficiency: “The quickest-accelerating vehicle of all time is also one of the most efficient. Think about it: this is a no-brainer way forward, and Tesla is still, year after year, in a class of one.”
Indeed, following the introduction of the range-topping Model S P100D with Ludicrous mode last August, the Silicon Valley-developed all-wheel-drive sedan is now officially the third fastest accelerating production car ever built, with a 0-100km/h sprint time of just 2.5 seconds. Meanwhile, a new 100kWh lithium-ion battery –Tesla’s biggest battery yet – has increased the Model S’s already unbeatable range by 105km, from 508km in its previous P90D guise to 613km on the NEDC cycle.
And it’s not just the Model S that’s benefitted from Tesla’s powertrain upgrade. The Model X P100D in Ludicrous mode accelerates to 100km/h in 2.9 seconds, further cementing its status as the world’s fastest SUV, while a single charge enables emission-free travel for 542km on the NEDC cycle.