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Sneak peek of the upcoming four-door Tesla Model S

Tesla's new Roadster Sport should offer powerful performance for an electric vehicle at a lofty cost.  (Source: Tesla Motors)
After a tough year, with many cuts, Tesla believes it is finally competitive

It’s been a grueling year for Tesla Motors.  The company angered many of its employees last  year when it laid off nearly its entire Michigan staff, which first found out they were losing their jobs not from Tesla itself, but by a posting on a financial blog.  Later in the year, Tesla seemed poised to make a comeback, announcing its sporty new Tesla Roadster Sport electric vehicle, available for those who preordered the Roadster.  However, it then proceeded to anger customers who preordered by raising the price on the base Roadster model.

However, despite its trials and tribulations, the fledgling company says it will be sold out of Roadsters until around November and that by the middle of the year it should finally be posting profits.  Founder and Chief Executive Elon Musk, who became a billionaire by founding PayPal, also announced that Tesla will be receiving a $350M USD federal loan from the U.S. Department of Energy to help finance the development of its upcoming electric 4-door sedan, to be released in 2011.

Mr. Musk praised the Obama administration for its helping hand, stating, "The Obama administration has thankfully made it a top priority to move quickly on the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program."

Tesla has experienced some preorder customers cancelling their orders "due to buyers experiencing personal financial difficulties".  However, there seems to be plenty who have the money and still want to get the hot new car.  It expects all of its 2009 production of the $109,000 vehicles to sell out.

In 2008, Tesla cut 24 percent of its staff, but it managed to produce 200 Roadsters, and is still sitting on 1,000 reported preorders.  Customers pay $12,000 up front to reserve the right to own one of the hot new vehicles.  Battery packs for the vehicle are reported to last 7 years or 100,000 miles and cost around a staggering $36,000 to replace.

The prototype of the upcoming Model S 4-door sedan will be unveiled on March 26, according to Mr. Musk.  He says that he will be offering a discount of $10,000 to those who preordered the Roadster and want to switch to the sedan as a "gesture of gratitude for their early support."

Tesla also recently announced a partnership with Germany's Daimler AG to create a plug-in version of Daimler's Smart minicar.  Mr. Musk announced that he is currently in the pursuit of two more major deals with other companies.  He also announced that Tesla is set to open stores in Chicago and London and is close to reaching agreements for stores in Miami, New York, Seattle and Munich.

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By Trikat on 2/12/2009 12:00:11 PM , Rating: 1
"Founder and Chief Executive Elon Musk, who became a billionaire by founding PayPal..."

So Mr. Musk founded PayPal, which manages to piss off a TON of people with unethical practices.
Then he goes on to Tesla which decides to piss off even more people, mainly that fiasco with posting a blog that lays off employees.
I kind of hate this guy...

RE: PayPal...
By ebakke on 2/12/2009 12:10:24 PM , Rating: 2
So Mr. Musk founded PayPal, which manages to piss off a TON of people with unethical practices.
But wasn't that primarily after eBay bought PayPal?

RE: PayPal...
By Trikat on 2/13/2009 12:03:58 AM , Rating: 2
I used PayPal before eBay swooped in and at that time scams were fairly easy to do.
I'm sure many heard about the swap the shipment with rocks fiasco(s)... And no body can forget when PayPal holds somebody's money indefinitely. It still happens these days.
After eBay, security tightened up (very slowly) and they had some "fairer" terms put in place.
Even to this day the PayPal claims department has been quite a joke. My main beef is with their lack of taking care of sellers. Who pays the fees? Sellers/recipients do...

RE: PayPal...
By randomly on 2/12/2009 2:05:35 PM , Rating: 2
Paypal only pissed people off after it was aquired by Ebay, not when it was under Elon Musk.

And yet again another gross error by Jason Mick.

Musk is only worth about $300 million, he only owned 11.7% of the Paypal stock when it sold. But Billionaire just rolls of the tongue easier doesn't it Jason? But we shouldn't insist on accuracy or truth from news articles, as long as they are entertaining, right?

RE: PayPal...
By TomZ on 2/12/2009 3:38:33 PM , Rating: 2
Paypal has always pissed me off, before and after it was acquired. Many of their policies are annoying and seem to impose very arbitrary limitations in their services. Not to mention the fees, of course. I avoid Paypal as much as a I can.

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