Several thousand Tesla employees, their families and local politicians gathered to watch the first vehicles emerge from the company’s Fremont, Calif., manufacturing plant, the Associated Press reported. The Model S can travel up to 160 miles on a charge.
Tesla, headed by billionaire Elon Musk, founder of eBay‘s (NASDAQ:EBAY) PayPal, hopes to sell 5,000 vehicles this year at a cost of $49,900 each, after a federal rebate is applied.
Auto industry analysts say the price tag will restrict the number of cars Tesla can sell. At half the Model S’s price, Nissan‘s (PINK:NSANY) electric Leaf car has sold less than 30,000 vehicles since 2010.
Company officials hope the Model S can generate enough sales to boost Tesla to profitability. In four years, it has managed to sell just 2,150 of its flashy sports car, the Roadster, losing close to $1 billion in the process.
On hand to witness the debut of the Model S was California Governor Jerry Brown, who called it “another example of California on the move.”