Telsa Model S Arrives With Big Hopes Riding On It

It’s been nearly four years in the making but it’s finally arrived.

And now Tesla Motors, which has staked its future on its Model S sedan, must  be hoping that the car buying public believes, like them, that good things are worth waiting for.

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image via Telsa

The lucky few who had signed up well in advance to be one of the first owners of the Model S certainly thought so as they took delivery this week of the all-electric, high performance sedan, which comes at a cost of $50,000 (that’s the price after the federal tax credit for electric vehicles of $7,500 has been taken off, and for the model with the smallest battery capacity).

But the California-based automaker is going to have to ship a whole lot more of its new car if it wants to recoup its losses, which according to some reports have been estimated to be in the neighborhood of $1 billion and include a $465 million government loan.

Those losses have been blamed in part on the Model S’s predecessor and the company’s only other car, the $109,000 two-seat Tesla Roadster.

A fast and furious all-electric sports car, the Roadster was snapped up by eco-conscious Hollywood stars like George Clooney, who helped propel the Telsa brand into orbit but not profitability.

Now the company is staking everything on the Model S, hoping the lower price tag helps it reach a much wider market.

There’s no doubt the long wait has produced something altogether beautiful. Aside from the car’s immense aesthetic appeal, there’s also some impressive engineering to rhapsodize over.

Paul Willis has been journalist for a decade. Starting out in Northern England, from where he hails, he worked as a reporter on regional papers before graduating to the cut-throat world of London print media. On the way he spent a year as a correspondent in East Africa, writing about election fraud, drought and an Ethiopian version of American Idol. Since moving to America three years ago he has worked as a freelancer, working for CNN.com and major newspapers in Britain, Australia and North America. He writes on subjects as diverse as travel, media ethics and human evolution. He lives in New York where, in spite of the car fumes and the sometimes eccentric driving habits of the yellow cabs, he rides his bike everywhere.