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Electric Carmaker Speeds Into First Profitable Sales Quarter

Good news for carmaker Tesla Motors  The maverick electric car company zoomed out of the red and into the black for the first time ever in the first quarter of this year.  Sales of the all-electric Model S, which surpassed expected numbers, are responsible for the Silicon Valley company’s first profitable quarter since its inception in 2003. Shares of the company rose a whopping 15.94% in one day as a result of the announcement that they’d turned a corner into profitability.  

The automaker’s financial picture looked gloomier at the end of 2012, when it posted a loss of $75 million.  Financial experts predicted they would have trouble turning a profit any time in the near future because of their limited ability to manufacture enough cars to sustain the company.

The Tesla electric Model S sedan is the first luxury all-electric sedan and is built in Fremont, California. It’s marketed to high-end consumers and has a slick body design and deluxe features comparable to a Mercedes, BMW, Audi or Lexus. The price tag for the vehicle ranges from $52,400 to 72,400, depending on battery size.  Three battery options include 40, 60, and 85 kWh.  Tesla sold 4,750 of the vehicles, which amounts to roughly 250 more than their target for the first quarter. The vehicle only became available to the public in 2012, but was unveiled in 2009.  

The Tesla Model S has garnered high praise from the automotive press.  It received ‘Car of the Year’ awards from Automobile and Motor Trend magazines.

In bestowing the coveted award, Motor Trend said, “By any measure, the Tesla Model S is a truly remarkable automobile, perhaps the most accomplished all-new luxury car since the original Lexus LS 400.”  They noted that Tesla has 250 patents covering the innovatively designed vehicle, with additional patents pending.

Tesla chief executive and co-founder Elon Musk said, “I am incredibly proud of the Tesla team for their outstanding work. There have been many car startups over the past several decades, but profitability is what makes a company real.”  He added that the company will keep fighting for the electric car revolution.

Tesla markets its vehicles in 31 countries.  Sales have totaled roughly 10,000 vehicles.

On a less happy note, Fisker Automotive, Tesla’s main counterpart in the luxury electric car market, is still treading stormy financial waters.  According to the Wall Street Journal, the struggling automaker has hired a prominent legal firm to investigate the possibility of declaring bankruptcy in order to stave off creditors while it attempts to attract new investors. The company, which produces the Karma electric hybrid, which comes with a $100,000 price tag, has faced a series of major financial setbacks. They face a deadline on April 22 for a payment on a 2009 loan they were awarded from the Department of Energy. They’re seeking financial backing to produce their second hybrid vehicle, the Atlantic.   Their founder, Henrik Fisker, resigned from the company in March.

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