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USA: Why Tesla Motors Is Betting On The Model S

Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors isn’t just an electric car company–it’s perhaps the greatest test of Silicon Valley’s innovation model. And now is do-or-die time, when everything is riding on a new $50,000 sedan.

When Tesla Motors moved into its new Palo Alto headquarters in 2010, CEO Elon Musk raised a flute of Champagne and toasted his cheering staff. In a light, elegant accent–a remnant of 17 years growing up in South Africa–Musk said to the crowd: “Here’s to creating the greatest car company of the 21st century, and to making a real difference in the world, and to moving us off fucking oil as fast as possible.” You can actually watch Musk doing this if you’re curious, about 80 minutes into the documentary Revenge of the Electric Car. But, in fact, this is the kind of thing that Musk says all the time, in television interviews and at technology conferences, and he’s been saying it about his firm even before people began paying much attention. Back in 2006, for instance, two years before Tesla started deliveries of the sporty $109,000 Tesla Roadster, its first (and so far only) model, Musk happened to write on his blog that the master plan for his company was fairly simple:

1. Build sports car
2. Use that money to build an affordable car
3. Use that money to build an even more affordable car
4. While doing above, also provide zero-emission electric-power generation options
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