A new list of the best electric vehicles one can buy for 2022 is very interesting in so many ways. First of all, there are now outstanding choices in each category. Second of all, if you are an EV tester and you scan this list, it is hard to see which category a Tesla model would win.
The list was created by CNET. You can jump to the story from CNET right here. This is not a list of what’s to come, but vehicles being delivered now. So, you can skip the Tesla Cybertruck and New Roadster hype. Torque News has tested more than a few of the vehicles on this list, and we drove two of the segment winners back to back with similarly-sized and priced Tesla Models. We would not have chosen the Tesla in either case as the better vehicle. Partly because of the value proposition, but in the case of the Kia Niro BEV, we just liked it better than the Tesla Model 3 SR+ we drove back to back with it. Nor would we have chosen the Tesla Model Y we drove over the Ford Mustang Mach-E. In that case, the price was a big factor, but ride quality, interior appointments, and infotainment were all better in the Ford. So, which segments should Tesla have won?
Scan the segments that CNET uses and it is easy to see why Tesla lost most of them. For example, Tesla has no pickup truck. Tesla has no small car. Tesla has no affordable anything. And by affordable, we mean less than the cost of the typical car in the size and shape of the vehicle being considered. Sure, your six-figure Tesla Model X Plaid was “affordable” to you. But to the rest of America, not so much.
We feel that any list of this type should lean very very heavily on vehicles the publication itself has tested. And by testing, we don’t mean saw in person for a few moments or drove around the block. We mean tested for multiple days in many different driving situations. Over hundreds of real-world miles. In the case of high-performance cars, perhaps also tested at a track on some other closed course. It is hard to see Tesla making many lists of this type since Tesla opts out of media vehicle testing. Tesla normally does not provide media fleet vehicles, nor does Tesla attend media test days where automakers bring all of their vehicles together at one time. Tesla doesn't even do auto shows. Making it hard to compare your car to others is not a fast path to earning recognition from folks who drive everything else.
Sure, we know the now-familiar mantras; "Tesla doesn't bribe the media. The media is beholden to legacy automakers." But look over the list of CNET's winners. Rivian won a category. Polestar won. Lucid won. Rimac won. None are legacy automakers. If they are bribing the media, our's hasn't arrived yet. We checked around. Nope. No bribes from these new EV companies we could uncover. If you know differently, please feel free to name names.
We find it both amusing and also realistic that Tesla didn’t win any of the categories CNET chose to break today’s long list of great electric vehicles down into. Amusing, because if you exclude Tesla models in any EV discussion, deservedly or not, the fans go crazy. They post comments. Some create whole Youtube videos to tell you why they think a Tesla is better than another model that they themselves have never tested. Perhaps never even seen in person. By excluding Tesla, the Tesla fans drive up pageviews of the story. And a story without pageviews is a doorstop. Realistic because Tesla seems to go out of its way to make testing the company's products difficult.
Feel free to peruse the CNET story. As you run down the list, try to ask yourself which Tesla model should have won the category. Then step back and look over your test notes of the winning vehicle. Oh, you didn't test the winner? See where we are going with this? Please add your comments in the section below. We enjoy a spirited dialogue on any subject, but Tesla is one of our very favorites.
Image of Hyundai Ioniq 5 by John Goreham.
John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. John's interest in EVs goes back to 1990 when he designed the thermal control system for an EV battery as part of an academic team. After earning his mechanical engineering degree, John completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers, in the semiconductor industry, and in biotech. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American news outlets and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on TikTok @ToknCars, on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin
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