The Tesla Model S is so much more than a car. For Tesla, it was a successful bet which proved that the company has what it takes to make an exquisite car from the ground up. For its owners, it is a vehicle that changes the perception of what a car can be. And for TIME, the Model S is also one of the best gadgets of the 2010s.
TIME recently came up with its list of 10 best gadgets that were released over the past nine years. The list was dominated by Apple, whose iPad, Apple Watch, and AirPods were hailed as devices that created a market for themselves. This is a pretty accurate sentiment, considering that the iPad single-handedly created the consumer tablet segment, the Apple Watch made wearable tech mainstream, and the questionably-designed AirPods became the gold standard for wireless earbuds that “just work.”
It is quite surprising to see a large sedan as part of the publication’s best tech list. Yet immediately following the iPad, TIME listed the Tesla Model S as a mover and shaker of tech in the 2010s. The reason for this was simple: it is a car that feels and functions like it’s from the future: full stop. From its quiet, stealthy operation to its unapologetically electric construction, the Model S practically forced the hand of legacy automakers to come up and create competitive electric cars. What’s pretty cool is that this transition was part of Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s Master Plan all along.
“Think cars can’t be gadgets? Then you haven’t driven a Tesla Model S — or watched one drive up to you. The electric sedan has slowly reshaped the trajectory of the automotive industry, forcing competitors to embrace a battery-powered future instead of the gas-guzzling present, and challenging the belief that electric cars can’t be cool. Features like downloadable software updates, a huge touchscreen display, and advanced autopilot capabilities make it feel like a vehicle from 2022 instead of 2012. Think of the Tesla Model S as the iPod of cars — if your iPod could do zero to 60 in 2.3 seconds,” TIME wrote.
The rest of the list included devices such as the Amazon Echo, the Google Chromecast, the DJI Phantom, the Nintendo Switch, and the Raspberry Pi. Xbox’s Adaptive Controller, which was created specifically for gamers with limited mobility, was also listed by the publication.
One thing that remains quite remarkable with the Tesla Model S is the sheer timelessness of the vehicle. Tesla has continuously rolled out improvements for the Model S since its initial release more than seven years ago, yet the exterior and interior of the vehicle has remained relatively the same. Despite this, the Model S remains the gold standard for premium all-electric sedans when it comes to features, range, and performance.
Veteran automakers have since tried to topple the Model S away from its place at the top of the EV hill. Yet, even the best that the competition has to offer, namely the stunningly designed and performance-oriented Porsche Taycan, falls short when compared to the Model S’ range. Tesla’s flagship sedan now tops out at 373 miles of range per charge, far completely outclassing the 201 miles of range in the Taycan, despite the two vehicles having a battery pack that is relatively similar in size.