Tesla’s Model S was included in TIME magazine’s 10 Best Gadgets of the 2010s list as the decade closes this coming 2020. In many ways, the company’s Whitestar project marked the rise of Tesla as an auto industry disruptor since it is the first in the automaker’s S, 3, X, Y fleet.
“The [Tesla Model S] 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,” wrote TIME magazine in its article, which named the all-electric luxury sedan one of the best gadgets of the decade.
The veteran magazine described the Model S as a vehicle from the year 2022 rather than the year 2012, thanks to its features like Tesla’s OTA software updates, the vehicle’s huge 17-inch touchscreen, and—of course—Autopilot capabilities. Tesla’s all-electric luxury sedan was the only car on the list of inspiring gadgets and it didn’t seem out of place.
The other gadgets on the list included Apple’s 2012 iPad which reintroduced the idea of tablet computers into the tech industry. According to TIME, the iPad “set the tone for the next decade of portable devices.” The Apple AirPods and Apple Watch were featured on the list, too. The Airpods changed the way people looked at wireless headsets, and the Apple Watch created a unique wearable in the tech industry.
Much like Apple’s gadgets on the list, the Tesla Model S marked a change in the auto industry. Its predecessor, the Tesla Roadster, made a statement that said, “electric cars can look cool,” but the Model S said, “I am the car of the future.”
Tesla’s goal to accelerate the growth of sustainable transport in the auto industry could have already been achieved if the Model S didn’t have the features TIME mentioned in its description about the vehicle, like Autopilot and OTA updates. However, the next-gen automaker went beyond just an all-electric vehicle, it delivered a car that catered to the needs of the modern age.
With the Models S, X, and 3, Tesla’s reach has reached farther than the auto industry. For example, the all-electric car maker has influenced the power tools industry to be innovative and adopt sustainable products. Because of Tesla’s growing influence, Fortune included it in its list of Top 50 Companies that Change the World back in 2016.
The Tesla Model S marked the beginning of the company’s rise in influence because it dared to be more than just a vehicle. Tesla’s Whitestar was a gadget as well, one that has set the pace for the automaker’s future.