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Ah, Tesla Motors…the only automaker selling only mass-produced electric vehicles in Europe or North America. Well, really, make that vehicle – Tesla currently only produces one kind of car: the Roadster (well, if you want to be picky, you could argue they produce two kinds, the Roadster and the Roadster Sport). The base model runs at about $100,000 after the government tax rebate. Not cheap, but this isn’t your granola neighbor’s electric vehicle. It’s sexy, it’s sporty, and it does zero to sixty in under four seconds. All while costing about two cents per mile to run.
Today now you, too, could be an owner of this innovative company. Well, in the form of stock, at least; Tesla just announced that it’s going public and putting $100 million in shares on the public market.
But it’s like a wise frog once said: it ain’t easy being green. Tesla hasn’t seen booming sales despite an increasingly emissions-conscious public. They plan to stop making the current version of the Roadster next year when they change suppliers and won’t restart production until 2012, when they’ll also likely introduce their next model: a sedan tentatively priced at around $50k.
So why aren’t Teslas flying off the lots? Why aren’t they commonplace cars by now? After all, the company’s been around for since mid-2003.
Maybe because the Tesla doesn’t offer much middle ground (not that it should, but as a culture, we seem to be reluctant to change. Those big trucks and SUVs are still permeating the roadways, usually inhabited by one lone driver.) It’s all electric and that might be scary for consumers. Also, Tesla began offering cars to the public in the middle of a deep recession – not exactly the right time to buy new luxury vehicles (unless you’re in charge of a major bank, of course). And Tesla prides itself on no advertising. It certainly works for Lamborghini, but the jury’s still out on Tesla.
Hopefully going public and getting over $450 million from government loans will bolster the seemingly tenuous company. After all, turning the lights off when we leave the room will only go so far. Tesla goes the extra mile. And in a sporty roadster, no less.