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This Tesla Sell-Off Is an Opportunity

By Tim Beyers - Feb 11, 2013 at 11:46AM

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Disruptive ideas are chaotic by nature.

So much for the Tesla Motors (TSLA 7.33%) 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 (F 3.89%) 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.

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Tesla, Inc. Stock Quote
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$759.63 (7.33%) $51.90
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Ford Motor Company
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