Tesla, Alcoa and a telling twist in the lightweighting wars

Nov 08, 2012 | 04:36 PM | Jo Isenberg

Tags  Alcoa, Tesla Motors Inc., Automobile Magazine, Model S, electric vehicle, Automobile of 2013, aluminum-intensive, all-aluminum Mark Vrablec

In case you missed it—a possibility Alcoa Inc. went out of its way to guard against—aluminum chalked up another PR victory in the automotive lightweighting wars recently when Automobile Magazine crowned Tesla Motors Inc.’s Model S aluminum-intensive, electric premium sedan its 2013 Automobile of the Year.

The coverage didn’t spark nearly the firestorm a Wall Street Journal piece detailing Ford Motor Co.’s radical re-design of its best-selling F-150 pickup truck—complete with a largely aluminum body—ignited earlier this year but it did allow the aluminum industry another opportunity to put its best foot forward.

Based on a quick read of the article celebrating the merits of the Tesla Model S, the electric vehicle more than lived up to its billing. "We weren’t expecting much from the Tesla other than some interesting dinner conversation as we considered ‘real’ candidates like the Subaru BRZ and the Porsche Boxster," one of the publication’s editors acknowledged. "In fact, the Tesla blew them, and us, away."....

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