Silicon Valley electric car manufacturer Tesla is to begin selling its stock in the US today, despite the fact it won’t be selling a new flagship vehicle until 2012 and has lost US$290.2m since it started in 2003.
With fuel prices rising and growing environmental awareness, however, Tesla is banking its future success on the launch of the Model S four-door electric sedan.
So far, Tesla has sold 1,000 of its two-door Roadster, which is priced at US$100,000.
Tesla expects its flotation to raise US$211.2m, which it will use to fund the Model S. The company expects to sell 12.3m shares, priced at US$14 and US$16.
The company’s goal is to build 20,000 Model S sedans a year at more than US$50,000 a pop.
Tesla’s high-profile backers include CEO Elon Musk, co-founder of PayPal, Toyota, which has sold Tesla a manufacturing plant in California, and the US Energy Department, which has loaned Tesla US$465m.