Compared to some of the EVs manufactured by the mass-market brands, the Tesla looks like a car. It looks like a sedan. It looks normal…but has some panache. Some other EVs (note: these are EVs—not HEVs) have taken their green slogans of “the next generation of transportation” to another level — populating lots with some uber-innovative looking cars. For example, take the Nissan Leaf — was this built for the Cat in the Hat? — and the Smart Car Fortwo Electric Drive that resembles a wedge of cake and would have zero chance against a truck in an accident. The Prius shape has been copied far and wide (e.g., 2014 Cadillac ELR Plug in and the 2010 Honda Insight). Long story short, a lot of designers see the word “hybrid” or “electric” in front of the word “car” and think, “Okay, Captain Jean-Luc Picard needs to blend in driving this in Star Trek.” Wrong. If you want to woo buyers from the bread and butter of transportation — the gas-powered car — you need to start with some baby steps.
Instead of creating an EV from the style future, Tesla created an EV that at least looks like it belongs in a present-day garage — but with some cool that would even receive a nod of approval from Danny Zuko. The Model S has stylistic details similar to some of the “velvety” luxury brands: Jaguar and Aston Martin. That front grille? Very Aston Martin DBS and Jaguar XJ. That rear? Looks Jaggy XF to me! The new and popular Ford Fusion hybrid also has some of these style details… classy sells — and who doesn’t want luxury? Tesla is selling “green luxury” and has a classy design to prove it. Congratulations on your win, Tesla, and be sure to thank your mother and Elon Musk when they interview you.