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Tesla Begins Europe Sales Push With Higher-End Model S

NYC Marathon Offers Refunds to Runners After Sandy Cancellation
A worker takes down signs at the finish line of the New York City Marathon after the race was cancelled. Photographer: Mehdi Taamallah /AFP/Getty Images

Tesla Motors Inc., the maker of electric cars led by billionaire Elon Musk, said only higher end versions of its battery-powered Model S sedan will initially be sold in Europe as it races to turn a profit.

For now only 60- and 85-kilowatt-hour battery-pack versions of the Model S will be available to European drivers, Tesla, which is preparing to begin deliveries to the region, said on its website. The base price for a 60-kWh pack Model S in Germany, for example, is 71,400 euros ($94,370), while a top-end Signature Performance version is 109,150 euros. Currently, a 60-kWh Model S is $67,400 in the U.S. and a Signature Performance Model S costs $105,400, before $7,500 tax credits.

Adding European sales of Model S, named 2013 “Car of the Year” by Motor Trend magazine last month, after U.S. deliveries began in June underpin the Palo Alto, California-based company’s goal of turning its first profit as early as next year. Tesla has said it will build at least 20,000 of the cars next year, and add the Model X electric sport-utility vehicle in 2014.

Higher prices in Europe result from inclusion of the region’s value-added tax, or VAT, shipping costs from Tesla’s Fremont, California plant and modifications to meet regional regulations, George Blankenship, the carmaker’s vice president of worldwide sales, said in a statement dated Dec. 19. “Our goal is to make the same level of profit per car no matter where it is ultimately delivered around the world,” he said.

Reservation Reduction

Customers in Europe who’ve already reserved a Model S or do so by Dec. 31, and configure a vehicle for purchase within four weeks of that date, will get a 1,700 euro reduction on the pretax price, Tesla said. The company said last month the U.S. base price of a Model S with a 40-kWh battery pack will rise by $2,500 to $59,900 on Jan. 1, from $57,400 currently.

The company previously sold its first vehicle, the electric Roadster sports car, in Europe from 2009. A “Limited Edition” European Roadster cost 99,000 euros, or about 10,000 euros more than the U.S. version at the time.

The Model S travels solely on electricity between 160 miles (257 kilometers) for a 40-kWh battery car to as far as 300 miles for the 85-kWh battery version.

Tesla fell 0.5 percent to $34.43 at the close in New York. The shares have climbed 21 percent this year.

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