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Tesla speeds to $1m profit

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While the rest of the US auto industry is dissolving during the ongoing Meltdown, Tesla Motors - the manufacturer of high-end all-electric speedsters - is making money.

The San Carlos, California company announced on Friday that it had squeezed $1m of profit out of $20m in sales during during July. The company sold a record 109 cars last month and "enjoyed a surge in new Roadster purchases," according to a statement.

The company has been basking a a series of good-news events recently. In June it wrangled $465m from the US government's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program (ATVM). It plans to use $100m of that low-interest loan to develop a high-performance drive train manufacturing center, and the rest to build a production facility for its upcoming Model S sedan, which the company says will "have a base price of $49,900, roughly half the price of the Roadster." The Model S is scheduled for release in the US in 2010.

Then, in mid-July Tesla announced that it had secured a financing deal with Bank of America. That deal, according to CEO Elon Musk, "will help advance EV adoption by allowing more Americans to experience the joy and convenience of owning a Tesla. And like our current customers," Musk said with more than a modicum of smugness, "our new customers will never need to visit a gas station again."

Tesla also announced Friday that it would open two more European dealerships this summer, in Munich and Monaco. It opened its first European showroom, in London, in late June.

At its UK opening, Tesla also introduced its £100,000 Roadster Sport, which can leap from zero to 60mph in 3.7 seconds. The standard Roadster, the company's flagship model, is a relative slowpoke, with a 3.9-second zero-to-60 performance. ®

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