The Tesla Model 3 is the only U.S. vehicle in contention to win the 2018 North American Car of the Year Award.
For the first time in the award’s history, Detroit automakers won’t have a car in the running. Last year, the Chevy Bolt won the award.
The Model 3 will face stiff competition in a list dominated by Japanese and German vehicles, ranging from the Honda Accord to the BMW 5-series.
The winner is announced each January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and 55 “jurors,” who are journalists that cover the auto industry, go through a voting process to determine the short list and the eventual winner.
According to the North American Car of the Year website, Jurors are given a total of 25 points to assign out to the vehicles on the shortlist, while no car is allowed to be rated higher than 10 points.
Generally, the vehicles that make the list are new or “substantially changed” compared to last year’s model. With the Chevy Bolt winning, Tesla fans everywhere will most likely be wondering if the jurors will select another EV as the car of the year.
The announcement comes after Tesla said that it successfully manufactured the first Model 3 production car late last week. With a production goal set for 500,000 in 2018, the North American Car of the Year jurors may take into account the $35,000 sticker price for the vehicle as an affordable and realistic EV option.
As Elon Musk’s affordable, sustainable answer to the automotive world, the vehicle serves as an industry innovation, and that could prove valuable to jurors.
Were the car to win the award, it would be another achievement for an EV that is looking to change the automotive industry. With recent additions to Tesla service amenities and repair vans, an award for North American Car of the Year would certainly solidify Tesla’s system as a practical way to produce an affordable, high volume EV.
At the very least, a win could mean an impact on the company’s recently turbulent stock price.