Written by William Ward

Tesla Motors Inc.
is an electric car company based out of Palo Alto, CA that just had its initial public offering (IPO) raising $226 million dollars. The company is backed by many large investors and in line for numerous government contracts to continue its work on cars such as the Model S and Roadster.

Tesla is doing now what the big players of the automobile manufacturing industry had only hoped to do ten years from today. The small, upstart, Silicon-valley based company is busting onto the scene with the production and sale of fully electric vehicles. Taking its name from Nikola Tesla, the father of commercial electricity and famed electrical engineer, Tesla Motors is currently the only automaker selling electric vehicles with highway-capability in North America and Europe. 

Innovation and sustainability are the clear goals for Tesla, as can be seen through the capabilities of the company’s first vehicle, the Tesla Roadster. This sports car is the first automobile to feature lithium-ion battery cells and the first electric vehicle to have a charge life of over 200 miles. An even more unbelievable achievement is the car’s ability to go from 0-60 mph in just 3.9 seconds, an abnormally fast speed for an electronic automobile, placing it among the fastest cars ever put on the market. The Roadster sells for $101,500 after a US $7,500 tax credit. The company's more feasible choice is the Tesla Model S family sedan, which will begin delivering to customers in 2012 and will cost roughly $49,900 after the federal tax rebate. If the lower price of electricity vs. gasoline is considered, Tesla claims the Model S is similar to internal engine combustion vehicles with a sticker price of $35,000. Customers also have the option of three different battery packs with the Model S, allowing them to select from 160 mi, 230 mi, and 300 mi per charge packs. The clear environmental advantage of Tesla automobiles earned the company the Globe Sustainability Innovation Award in Stockholm, Sweden in 2009. Tesla's approach of manufacturing more mainstream future models should help to spur the phasing-in of fully electric vehicles onto the road.

Tesla has been lauded not only for its contributions to the environment, but also for the company's model of getting its technology on the road by aiming for the high end of the market. The company's stock has shown to be extremely promising in its first few days after going public. The initial public offering of $17 skyrocketed to $23.86 on the Nasdaq after just the second day of trading. This 40% increase gives hope that the American automobile market will soon change to become more environmentally friendly. Tesla Motors' innovation could very well pave the way for GM and Ford to introduce their own lines of fully electric vehicles, further helping to spur the American automobile industry and contributing to an environmentally safer future.


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