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A now profitable Tesla motors hopes that a $49,900 Model S sedan will send its profit soaring to even greater heights.

The company is also launching the Roadster Sport model in 2011.  (Source: Tesla Motors)
After years of losses, the company's persistence is finally paying off

Luxury electric car maker Tesla Motors appears to be firing on all cylinders.  Despite a painful couple of years that saw the company cutting back to survive the recession, the company emerged stronger than ever.  Thanks to a new partnership with Daimler, additional engineering, distribution, and marketing resources were gained.  And most importantly, Tesla finally began to deliver vehicles.

Now the company can celebrate an important milestone -- its first profit.  After many months in the red, July saw the company in the black, making $1M USD in profit on $20M USD in revenue.  The profits came thanks to a record 109 cars shipped in the month.  Manufacturing cost cuts also helped to enable the profit.

Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk comments, "There is strong demand for a car that is unique in offering high performance with a clean conscience.  Customers know that in buying the Roadster they are helping fund development of our mass market electric cars."

Tesla, like many R&D driven greentech firms, offered a target date for profitability.  However, it appears that Tesla is one of the few to actually deliver on such a date -- having projected a profit in "mid-2009".

The Tesla Roadster undeniably features the most attractive production electric vehicle body design to date.  They also offer fittingly sporty performance and a utilitarian 244-mile range.  In other words, while expensive, the Roadsters do deliver a strong experience.  Currently, the Roadsters retail for a base price of $109,000.

Tesla has borrowed $465M USD from the U.S. Department of Energy, to produce a luxury sedan reachable by more customers at a price point of $49,900.  This new model will be called the Model S.

The company is also working with Daimler to create electric versions of the popular Smart car.  Late this year, the company will deploy a fleet of the 1,000 of the electrified ultra-compact vehicles.  Tesla is also set to deploy a higher-performance version of the Roadster -- the Roadster Sport -- in 2011.

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RE: Affordable?
By drmo on 8/10/2009 5:01:02 PM , Rating: 2
Good, that is what I am talking about.

Now, why can a Tesla, with only 56 kWh, go 200+ miles, but 3 gallons of ethanol (66 kWh) won't get near that far. I believe it is because most of the energy in ethanol combustion is wasted. Also, I think there are huge energy losses in production of ethanol (at least from corn).

RE: Affordable?
By Keeir on 8/10/2009 5:29:46 PM , Rating: 2
Well... I would also point out that sort of number if cherry picking for Battery Technology since the thermal efficieny of engine + powertrain is roughly 20%-25% and for electric drive can be more than 75%.

3 gallons of ethanol cost roughly 6 dollars

56 kWh (more like 60 kWh with the charging inefficiencies) also cost 6 dollars.

But the Battery to store that 56 kWh cost ~35,000, while the Gas Tank used to store that Ethanol cost ~1,000. That 56 kWh likely took 8-10 hours+ to put into the battery, and 3 gallons of ethanol? 10 minutes including a normal drive to a gas station.

You don't need to convince me. One gallon of Diesel Fuel burned in a Combined Cycle plant put out nearly 20 kWh of electricity. This 20 kWh of electricity, even with grid losses and charging losses, is likely to push a car further down the road than even the most efficient Diesels currently made.

RE: Affordable?
By Penti on 8/10/2009 9:45:45 PM , Rating: 2
3 gallons of ethanol will only get you like 113 km though. 56kWh in the battery will get you like 250 - 300km. Just put in a small engine to extend the range and you should do fine. Too bad the batteries cost as much as a car though. But the Chinese can solve that.

"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook

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