This article was originally published on CleanTechnica by Zachary Shahan

Tesla Motors has one car model on the market (or two if you count the fact that you can preorder the Model X). This next model isn’t projected to be delivered to its first customers until the end of 2014. Yet, the Silicon Valley car company was the highest trending car company on Google in 2013. Why?

 tesla model x back

 

With nearly 200 articles published on CleanTechnica this year that mention Tesla, I hope I can provide a little bit of insight on why this one- or two-car company is so popular. In reverse order, here are seven reasons that come to mind:

7. Tesla decided to pay its DOE loan off in 2013… 9 years early.

Defying conservative attacks on DOE loan programs for cleantech, Tesla decided to shock Fox News (and others) by paying its DOE loan off 9 years early. That was certainly one of the stories that helped to stimulate #2 on this list and helped to propel Tesla high up the Google Trends ranking.

6. Tesla earned its first quarterly profit in 2013.

Another story that got Tesla on more people’s eyes and helped to stimulate #2 below was the company achieving its first quarterly profit in Q1 2013… and then again in Q2 and Q3, btw.

5. Tesla Model E announcements keep coming.

Tesla is best known for the Tesla Model S. However, the Tesla Model E may bring even much more attention and value to the Tesla brand. This vehicle will reportedly be half the price of the Tesla Model S, will have a range of at least 200 miles, will have excellent performance, and will be released by 2017. While Tesla hasn’t officially labeled this car the Model E yet, it has trademarked that name, and there’s speculation that the E could stand for economical, efficient, or everyone. The car is a big one on many people’s minds, a key landmark in the explosion of the electric vehicle market. It comes up repeatedly on press calls with Tesla, and Elon consistently says that it will be released by 2017 and will indeed meet those key stats.

4. The New York Times story that crashed Tesla’s stock (temporarily).

New York Times reporter John Brody ran the Model S battery down to 0 on long a test drive in January, making what seemed to be some rather sketchy decisions along the way. That resulted in massive media attention, order cancellations, as well as a loss of about $100 million if you include the effect on the stock price.

Elon Musk On Tesla’s Role In History, SolarCity, And Our Cleantech Future (VIDEO)

3. Elon Musk

Elon Musk, the CEO and Chief Product Architect of Tesla Motors, is a business/science/technology icon. Many consider him to be something like a Thomas Edison (or Nikola Tesla) of our time. Aside from running Tesla, he’s also CEO & CTO of SpaceX and SolarCity’s Chairman. The man tweets, makes big public statements, responds at length to big stories about the company (like the New York Times one noted above), and is often in the headlines for one big announcement or another. TIME Magazine named Elon one of the world’s 100 most influential people this year. Elon has put a face on Tesla, and quite a noteworthy one, which does wonders for the Tesla brand.

2. Tesla (TSLA) was one of the top stock stories of the year.

Tesla’s stock started out the year rather low ($35.36), and heavily shorted. On the back of several big announcements, the stock rose and rose and rose, hitting some pretty amazing heights. Tesla’s total value on the stock market actually reached as high 25% of GM’s in May. That’s when the stock was price was up to $104. It eventually rose to $194.50 (at the end of September) before falling back down a bit. Even Elon Musk seemed to admit in a video interview back in August (when Tesla was worth about 42% of GM) that Tesla stock was overvalued.

1. The Tesla Model S is widely considered the best car on the market.

Creating a car that’s one league above the rest is sure to get you some attention.

The Model S got Consumer Reports‘ best rating ever (99/100), won the 2013 Automobile Magazine Car of the Year award, won the 2012 Motor Trend Car of the Year award, won the 2013 Green Car of the Year award, and won a bunch of other awards. It’s a clean, efficient, comfortable car with super high performance.

Image Credit: Tesla

There were many more Tesla stories this year that got people’s attention, and other reasons why so many people are search for news on Tesla, but I think those are the top reasons Tesla ranks at the top of car company searches.

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