Electric car maker Tesla's first mass-market sedans, called the Model S, rolled out on Friday, raising speculations on whether their debut will make or break the fledgling company.
The base model of the car, which sells for $49,900 after a federal tax credit, can go 160 miles on one charge.
Tesla Motors Inc. says more than 10,000 people have put down a refundable deposit for the five-seat sedan, and the Palo Alto company expects to sell 5,000 this year.
The first cars driven out of the factory were part of what Tesla Vice President George Blankenship called the carmaker's "personal delivery program."
The first two cars were heading to buyers in Chicago, while the third was going to nearby Palo Alto.
Despite the high spirits during its laucnh ceremony on Friday, the debut of the Model S is a critical moment for the fledgling car company.
Tesla lost nearly $1 billion selling an earlier model, a high-end electric sports car called the Roadster, and the company is hoping the Model S will help it turn the corner to profitability.
With Associated Press