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Tesla Motors sparks up first profit in 10-year history

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Media captionTesla is a maker of sporty battery operated vehicles

The electric car maker, Tesla, has made the first profit in its 10-year history.

The company said it made $15m (£9.65m) in the first three months of the year, thanks to sales of its Model S electric sedan. Total revenues hit $562m, a huge rise on the $30m reported a year ago.

Tesla said it was receiving worldwide orders for the Model S in excess of 20,000 vehicles per year.

Shares in the company jumped more than 16% in after-hours trading.

Adjusted earnings per share came in at 12 cents, three times what Wall Street analysts were expecting.

Shorting shares

Tesla shares have skidded across the markets in recent times.

Over the past few weeks, Tesla's chief executive, Elon Musk, has made a number of comments about making electric cars more affordable, which has been pushing the shares higher.

They are up 67% so far this year, but many dealers remain unconvinced and have been shorting the stock - betting on the share price dropping - in anticipation of a fall.

The company has 72.6 million shares in its "float" - the number of shares circulating among the general public. Of those more then 42% are being borrowed by traders to sell short.

Mr Musk feels such votes of little or no confidence by the market are misplaced and foolhardy.

On his personal Twitter page, he tweeted last month that there "seems to be some stormy weather over in Shortville these days".

Rocky road

Nonetheless, the spark seems to have gone out of the electric car market in the US recently and it has been a troubling time for some of the green technology start-up companies involved in the sector.

Last week, Coda Holdings filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after selling just 100 all-electric sedans. The cars had a range of around 88 miles (142km), the best in its class, but considerably lower than the Tesla Roadster and the Tesla Model S.

Fisker Automotive, the makers of a high performance electric hybrid called the Karma, has hired bankruptcy advisers and is seeking a buyer.

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