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Tesla Roadster, version 2.5  (Source: Tesla Motors)

Tesla Model S Prototype  (Source: Tesla Motors)
Losses are significant, even considering the downward-trending market

It's been a wild ride for Tesla Motor company enthusiasts.  After months of eager anticipation, the company became the first automotive public offering since Ford in 1956, and dumped 15.3 million shares onto the market aggressively priced at $17 (2 million of these shares were sold late, via an over-allotment option).  

That high price turned out to be an early victory for investors, who saw share prices spike up to a peak of 30.42 last Wednesday -- a gain of 78.8 percent.  However, those gains have since been erased as TSLA has taken a sharp plunge on the stock market.  The stock now sits at 15.50 (at press time), well below its IPO price.

The stock market as a whole has been struggling over the last week, with the DOW Jones Industrial Average dropping last week into the 9000s after poor job reports.  For an unproven company like Tesla that particularly spelled trouble.  

Josef Schuster, the Chicago-based founder of IPOX Capital Management LLC and manager of the Direxion Long/Short Global IPO Fund comments, "The company is a great concept with relatively weak fundamentals.  Markets are weak and in a weak market right now this is hurting the company even more."

Despite having one of the first true electric vehicles on the U.S. market -- the Tesla Roadster, recently update to "Version 2.5" -- and several upcoming vehicles, investors are finally falling out of love with the company and taking a hard look at its financials.  Tesla lost $29.5M USD in Q1 2010 -- almost double what it lost in that quarter last year, and over half of what it lost 
overall last year ($55.7M USD).

Electric vehicles have received a firm monetary and public commitment from U.S. President Barack Obama.  Tesla faces tough competition in the near future, from entry-level competitors like GM's 2011 Chevy Volt and Nissan's 2011 Leaf EV.

However, it'd be premature to write off Tesla entirely.  Its Model S entry-level luxury EV looks promising, if it can keep costs contained.  It also has a key new contract with Toyota to help the Japanese automaker develop electric vehicles.





"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov






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