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Tesla recharges the battery-car market | The Economist

It has not been a good year for the electric-car industry, considering the bankruptcy of little Coda and the all-but-certain collapse of the once-promising Fisker Automotive. Even well-established carmakers such as General Motors and Nissan have been struggling to entice buyers (though Nissan’s Leaf battery car has begun to develop a little bit of momentum after missing its sales target for the second year in a row).
So it is perhaps no surprise that 42% of the shares in Tesla Motors, a maker of electric cars based in Silicon Valley, are now held by short-sellers. They got a rude awakening, however, when the ever-optimistic Elon Musk, Tesla’s boss and the man behind the Space X commercial launch and other entrepreneurial feats, gave word that after ten years in the red, his start-up had turned a profit of $11.2m in the first quarter on unexpectedly strong demand for its new Model S sedan (pictured above). The results were well above the forecasts of even the most optimistic analysts; Tesla made a profit despite repaying $13m of the $465m it has borrowed from America’s Department of Energy.


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