• Apr 1st 2013 at 9:54AM
  • 3
Based on of the Model S, electric car company Tesla pro... Based on of the Model S, electric car company Tesla projected a profitable first quarter today. (Photo courtesy Tesla).
It apparently is not an April Fool's gag. Tesla Motors, the start-up, electric-car company is finally profitable.

Telsa announced today sales of its new Model S, which won MotorTrend Car of the Year, are exceeding sales targets, prompting the company to project a profitable first quarter. It would be the first profitable quarter since the company went public in June 2010.

"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. Tesla is here to stay and keep fighting for the electric car revolution," said Elon Musk, Tesla Motors co-founder and CEO. "I would also like to thank our customers for their passionate support of the company and the car. Without them, we would not be here."

Profitability is somewhat surprising, because the U.S. buying public is still lukewarm toward electric cars. The lack of charging stations and high prices of vehicles have dampened interest, along with gas prices that remain below $4 per gallon in most parts of the country.

Tesla continues escalating production of the Model S, which costs between $94,900 and $105,400 for versions that will go 208 miles per charge or 265 miles per charge, respectively. The company said it is suspending production of a lower-priced model with a shorter range that cost $57,000 and only went about 100 miles on a charge. Only 4 percent of buyers have reportedly been purchasing that version.

That product mix would indicate that early purchasers are very wealthy, and probably buying the Model S as a third, fourth or even fifth car.

Investors have been betting against Tesla with investors holding nearly 30 million Tesla shares short. Shares of the company responded to the news by climbing 13.5 percent in early trading after the announcement. Tesla was trading at $43 a share, well above its 52-week low of $25.52.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm an engineer, far from rich and I just bought a Model S. This is absolutely the coolest car on the planet. Is the car expensive? Absolutely. This was not a small expenditure for me. Up till now, I have been driving mainly Toyotas. But, I have gotten to the point of being able to afford a nice car. The car is just so compelling in so many ways... looks, incredible performance (0 to 60 in about 5 sec) and handling... a beautiful and well designed computer interface.. an amazing amount of cargo space. No kidding, it's over 55 cubic feet! I could on and on. When you think about how Tesla has replaced a huge, inefficient, polluting, noisy engine with a motor smaller than a beer keg and battery pack on the bottom, isn't it a huge Duh, this is way better?! When I watch car commercials now and they talk about their "leading edge technology" it makes me laugh.
      Michael Kostukov
      • 2 Years Ago
      Can you please be a responsible journalist and correct an error in your article? The pricing actually starts at $71,070 - for 60KWh battery version before the minimum available EV incentive of $7,500. If you factor that in- pricing starts at $63,570. As opposed to that ridiculous number you posted ($94,900). You were almost $30,000 over the actual price!
      Ron Wizard
      • 2 Years Ago
      I ran a Sea Turtle business years ago. And projected a profit within 2 years of opening my store front doors, selling Sea Turtles. It was a total flop! The only people I could get to buy them were liberal government employees, who jobs depended on purchasing them, since the governmnet loaned me over $9 figures to make it a success. I've since closed shop, but there are still some die-hards out there trying to put in orders for Sea Turtles. Fortunately, I have an unwritten contract with the Post Office in my neighborhood, and most of these orders conveniently get lost in route to what use to be my store. I wasn't able to project non-deliveries but unfortunate things do happen. And I not one who will deny anyone ownership of one or these beautiful and fascinating creatures. So I will apply for another government loan, this time, I will succeed!