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This Tesla Sell-Off Is an Opportunity

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So much for the Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA  ) rally, eh? Shares of the electric car pioneer are off more than 3% in morning trading after John Broder of The New York Times wrote about how his test drive of a new Model S ended with him stalled in suburban Connecticut.

Broder's account paints a picture of a comfortable and highly advanced vehicle that isn't yet prepared for the rigors of daily driving in rough climates. Notably, the East Coast cold drained the Model S' battery far faster than expected.

The results suggest Tesla still has work to do in order to create mass market demand for its electrics. Adding more Supercharger stations for long-distance driving should help. So should updating the car's software to make it easier to "condition" the Model S battery and restore charge lost to the cold. (A new mobile app has already been designed to help with this, Broder notes.)

In the meantime, Tesla and founder Elon Musk have done admirable spade work to convince a skeptical public that electrics can be trusted. Hybrid sales soared 61% last year, with growth continuing into 2013. Ford Motor (NYSE: F  ) told Bloomberg that January hybrid sales were on track to increase fivefold.

The message? Americans want to believe in electrics. But they're also willing to wait for the early adopters to work out the sorts of kinks Broder found in his test.

Disruptive innovation is messy. Sometimes incumbents suffer from the ensuing chaos. Other times, disruptors get dumped -- just as Tesla is experiencing right now. So be it. Real disruptions  birth Rule Breakers, and in the process, billion-dollar markets. Tesla is leading an uprising, and it won't be held back for long.

Will the company be able to fend off its big-name competitors over the long haul? The Motley Fool answers this question and more in our most in-depth Tesla research available for smart investors like you. Thousands have already claimed their own premium ticker coverage, and you can gain instant access to your own by clicking here now.

Read/Post Comments (4) | Recommend This Article (2)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On February 11, 2013, at 12:21 PM, ToddRLockwood wrote:

    John Broder made some mistakes that a seasoned Tesla owner would not have made. Apparently, he was not familiar with Range Charging Mode, which adds additional power to the battery pack and is recommended for longer trips. As he also learned, projected range should be underestimated when driving an EV in the wintertime with the electric heater on. Had he simply charged for a little longer at the Tesla charging stations, he would have reached his destination.

  • Report this Comment On February 11, 2013, at 2:42 PM, zvex wrote:

    Two recent tweets from Elon Musk, President of Tesla Motors: "NYTimes article about Tesla range in cold is fake. Vehicle logs tell true story that he didn't actually charge to max & took a long detour."

    "Tesla blog coming soon detailing what actually happened on Broder's NYTimes "range test". Also lining up other journalists to do same drive."

    I'm a Tesla Roadster Sport owner in Minnesota and I can tell you from personal experience that the cold does not affect range much at all. You just have to pay attention to charging the car, just like you have to pay attention to how much gas you put in your gasoline car.

  • Report this Comment On February 12, 2013, at 12:55 AM, gene132 wrote:

    Sorry, but all-electric cars are not a viable technology yet. A hybrid, with a small gas turbine is the best solution

  • Report this Comment On February 12, 2013, at 6:31 PM, TulipSpeculator1 wrote:

    Glad someone at the Fool is here to point out this sale. Just a few points I would like to add:

    1. Nearly all other reviews are extremely positive on the Model S

    2. The type of people paying $50k plus for a car have a second car or fly.

    3. Gas savings would more than pay for that rental car if you really need to drive and don't have a second car.

    4. Tesla buyers would take the time to learn basic EV techniques, such as plugging it in overnight and engaging range mode.

    We will see what Tesla has to say about this report in the next few days. In the mean time, there are some cheap Tesla shares to be had.

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