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Model S 'leccycar selling better than expected, says Tesla

Even devastatingly negative publicity is good publicity

Tesla Motors has sold a few more electric cars than anticipated, prompting the Elon Musk-run biz to cautiously expect a profit in the first quarter of 2013.

Today the manufacturer told shareholders and US financial watchdog the Securities and and Exchange Commission that it has sold 4,750 Model S cars - 250 more than the 4,500 originally predicted at this point.

That's the same motor that Musk and New York Times hack John Broder locked horns over: the biz kingpin exploded with rage when the reporter said the battery-powered ride ran out of charge on the highway.

This new-year start is in stark contrast to the final quarter of 2012, in which Tesla lost $45m.

Tesla's CEO and co-founder Musk gushed:

“I am incredibly proud of the Tesla team for their outstanding work. There have been many car startups over the past several decades, but profitability is what makes a company real."

The 'leccy motor maker's full financial figures for the year-gone are due to be revealed in the coming days. Its stock price shot up by just over 15 per cent to $45 a share on the extra sales announcement.

Tesla will also discontinue the production of small 40-kWh battery packs, as just 4 per cent of customers chose this option, and instead concentrate on bigger batteries.

The journey so far has not been entirely smooth for Tesla: although it raised $226.1m when it debuted on the stock market in June 2010, it had only enjoyed a single profitable quarter before that date. The public offering was described as a referendum on the future of the electric car by pundits.

So far, the e-motor maker has delivered almost 10,000 electric vehicles to customers in 31 countries, we're told. ®

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