Tesla's electric Model S hits the road in Arizona

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Motor Trend's "2013 Car of the Year" is starting to cruise Arizona's highways.

The Tesla Model S is totally electric, made in California, and according to new owners Steve and Trudy Zautke of Scottsdale, drives like a sports car.

"I really think all auto makers will be paying attention to this," Steve Zautke told 3TV on a recent drive. "It's exceeded our expectations."

His family ordered their car a year ago, and it arrived to their specifications in late November.

In the place of an engine under the hood is another storage compartment. The batteries which power the S are sealed underneath the car.

"It's spectacular. There's no sound," Trudy Zautke said of the Tesla's acceleration from 0 to 60mph in 4.4 seconds.

The family paid more than $100,000 for their car, but the Model S base price is around $60,000. The company has said it hopes to reduce that to $30,000 in a few years to make it more available to the masses.

Tesla said the average car costs $1,600 in gasoline per year, while the electricity to charge a Model S will cost about $300.  

Chargers can be installed at home, and Tesla is setting up charging stations across the country.  An overnight charge should last a driver 250 - 300 miles.

Tesla is hoping to produce 20,000 cars in 2013.