Tesla future rides on Model S

(June 22, 2012) Tesla makes the first deliveries today of its highly anticipated Model S electric luxury sedan. Edmunds.com Green Car Analyst John O'Dell says that the base-level models start at a luxury-market level $57,400 (before incentives), but the first deliveries are special, high-end models with pre-incentive price tags of $105,400.

Tesla projects that it will sell 5,000 of its 300-mile range Model S electric vehicles this year and 20,000 more in each of the next several years.

"Make no mistake: the Model S is a make-or-break product for Tesla," says O'Dell. "If it delivers on its promises — not only in sales volume, but also in quality and reliability — the S will propel Tesla into the black and provide working capital to develop of the next line of Tesla vehicles, which the company promises will be priced at more consumer-friendly levels.

"And while the company is still quite a way from being a mass-market automaker, the Model S should give the electric-drive industry a lot of very visible EVs on the road, with many influential opinion leaders behind the wheels."

O'Dell adds that Wall Street certainly thinks Tesla is poised to do well. A $1,000 investment in Tesla when the company went public two years ago would be worth about $2,000 today, while $1,000 invested in Ford Motor Co. on the day of Tesla's IPO — June 28, 2010 — would be worth $994 today.