Some EV fans say the Tesla Model S sedan and all-new BMW i3 hatchback are the first two mass-market cars to capture the imagination of those whose interest in electric cars isn’t purely environmental. Others say they’re the two best plug-in cars made to date. Now the two luxury plug-in cars get to duke it out for the coveted European Car of the Year award.
Announced this morning, the shortlist for the 2014 European Car of the Year contains just seven potential winners from a total list of more than 30 nominees. While five of the cars — the Citroën C4 Picasso, the Mazda 3, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Peugeot 308 and Skoda Octavia — rely on gasoline or diesel to provide their motive power, the BMW i3 and Tesla Model S fly the flag for the new wave of luxury plug-in cars.
From this point on until the 2014 Geneva Motor Show — when the winner will be announced — the European team of judges will spend an extensive amount of time with each car, putting them through a series of tests and tasks to determine which of the seven contenders deserve to be crowned winner. While the Model S and BMW i3 have some tough competition from the other finalists, the competition itself is known for its love of electric cars.
Back in 2011, the Nissan LEAF became the first ever electric car to be crowned European Car of the Year, followed in 2012 by the Chevrolet Volt/Vauxhall Ampera. While the 2013 award went to the Volkswagen Golf — a car which will soon offer an electric variant but doesn’t yet — we think the judges will likely place the BMW i3 or Tesla Model S in the top three.
With its fresh styling and use of innovative lightweight materials, the BMW i3 is certainly unlike any electric car offered on the market before. Playing on BMW’s reputation for high-performance luxury vehicles, the BMW i3 has carved its own niche in the market. Thanks to an optional on-board range extending engine too, it offers versatility for European buyers who want to use its 100-mile expected all-electric range on a day to day basis but need something with longer legs at the weekend.
Meanwhile, the U.S. made Tesla Model S has for the past two years, redefined what an electric car could — or should — be. Blowing away the competition both in terms of performance and range, the Model S offers European buyers their own slice of Silicon Valley — including a buying and ownership experience which owes more to a consumer electronics device than a car — that has never before been seen. And with its free-to-use network of ultra-fast supercharger refuelling points already rolling out across Europe, we think it’s likely Tesla will soon be adding European Car of the Year to its already impressive list of awards.
But what do you think, and why? Which car do you think deserves to win 2014 European Car of the Year? And does the presence of two plug-in models on this year’s shortlist prove that electric cars are finally becoming mainstream?
Leave your thoughts in the Comments Below.
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