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Will Tesla Ever Make Money?

Tesla purchased its Fremont, California, factory from Toyota for $42 million in 2010. The company is gearing up for the mass market by increasing automation.

Tesla purchased its Fremont, California, factory from Toyota for $42 million in 2010. The company is gearing up for the mass market by increasing automation.

Misha Gravenor/Bloomberg Markets
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Chris Ziegler presses the pedal of his Tesla Model S. It surges forward silently and instantly -- unlike gas-powered cars that roar and gulp for air before accelerating. Driving in the hills north of Los Angeles, he whips through hairpin turns without worrying about flipping over. Thirteen hundred pounds of batteries under the floorboard make that nearly impossible.

Ziegler loves everything about his all-electric, $107,000 Tesla, including that he recharges its batteries using solar panels in the trees above his house. That lessens his contribution to climate change and his dependence on oil from the Persian Gulf -- which Ziegler patrolled as a Navy gunnery operator in 1983.