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Tesla ups the ante, makes electric cars more mainstream (w/video)

Will Tesla Motors become the auto industry’s next powerhouse innovation or suffer the fate of Tucker? • Tesla is the fast-rising California-based maker of the all-electric Model S luxury sedan, and the company is now focusing its marketing message on Central Florida. I had the chance to test drive a Tesla this past week. (More on that later.) Tucker is the company that in 1948 debuted its advanced automobile before collapsing under negative publicity that, even today, some blame on a conspiracy of the entrenched Big Three auto companies of that era. • This time around, things are different.

The Big Three of GM, Ford and Chrysler are today more like the Diminished Three. And Tesla, started by Paypal and SpaceX co-founder and Forbes 400 billionaire Elon Musk, already is a formidable, publicly traded corporation. Tesla shares that traded under $30 in the past year now hover closer to $180. Tesla’s market value is a whopping $21.6 billion.

This is a company with clout, not some startup running up charges on a founder’s credit cards to keep the lights on. Tesla comes armed with a remarkable, if very high-end, vehicle that already has won major kudos from the likes of Consumer Reports and top marks from national crash safety experts.
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