Electric-car maker Tesla Motors (TSLA 7.86%) is off to a fast start this year. The California-based company kick-started 2013 by increasing production on its Model S sedan, unveiling a new finance product, and celebrating its first profitable quarter as a public company. Not bad for a little EV start-up that few had heard of until recently. Still, many analysts worry that demand for Tesla's Model S may begin to stall as the year unfolds.
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Once again, the critics appear to be wildly shortsighted. Not only is Tesla cranking out Model S deliveries, counting more than 4,750 cars in the first quarter, but the company is also beefing up its backlog of orders. Last month, Tesla secured its largest U.S. Model S reservation in the company's history.
Downtown Project and Project 100 have committed to buy 100 zero-emission Model S cars from Tesla, in an effort to revitalize downtown Las Vegas. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh is heading up the Project 100 initiative, and Vegas residents who become members will have on-demand access to cars, bikes, shuttle buses, and other modes of transportation.
So why Tesla? The Project 100 team liked the high-tech nature of the Tesla Model S platform, particularly because it gives them more control over the member experience while also letting Project 100 collect valuable data about how members are using the vehicles.
This is Tesla's largest single customer order to date, and I suspect that Model S demand will continue to surge in the quarters to come.