When Elon Musk set out to build an electric car company, he wanted it to be better than conventional cars in almost every single way. More than that, he wanted to build an American car using as many American parts as possible, and despite using Japanese-built battery cells, the Model S is still more “American made” than rivals from GM, Ford, and other major automakers.
The annual Kogod Made in America Index was just released, and the Tesla Model S scored an impressive 75 out of 100, meaning approximately 75% of its components were built in the USA. The top-rated vehicle this year was the GMC Acadia with a score of 88.5, beating out perennial winner the Ford F-150, which was rated at 87.5.
Among green cars, the Model S is closely matched in American-made content, with the Ford Focus being the closest with a score of 72.5, followed by the Cadillac ELR/Chevy Volt at 65.5 Unsurprisingly, when we move to non-American brands like Toyota and Nissan, American-made content falls pretty far, with the Nissan LEAF, Toyota Camry Hybrid, Avalon Hybrid, and Highlander Hybrid all coming it with a mediocre score of 40.
The gap will only widen once the Tesla Gigafactory opens up, as that’s the only major component of the Model S drivetrain that isn’t made in America. Yes, there are various electronics and trim pieces from outside the country, but once the battery comes with a “Made in America” sticker, the Model S could be the most American car in the country, bar none.