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First Tesla electric sedans hit the road

• http://phys.org, by HAVEN DALEY

Ten of the sedans, called the S, rolled out the door at the company's Fremont factory during a ceremony that had the feel of a pep rally.

A crowd estimated to be in the thousands, including employees, their relatives, and a host of local politicians, cheered for the lineup of speakers that included California Gov. Jerry Brown. They roared when the first cars left the building.
 
 Tesla Motors Inc. says more than 10,000 people have put down a refundable deposit for the five-seat sedan, and the Palo Alto company expects to sell 5,000 this year.

"This is another example of California on the move," Brown told the crowd. "This is a great . You're a bunch of great workers."

The first cars driven out of the factory were part of what Tesla Vice President George Blankenship called the carmaker's "personal delivery program."

The first two cars were heading to buyers in Chicago, while the third was going to nearby Palo Alto.
 
"Arguably, it may be the most beautiful sedan in the marketplace," Blankenship said.

The base model, which sells for $49,900 after a federal tax credit, can go 160 miles on one charge.

Despite the high spirits during Friday's ceremony, the debut of the Model S is a critical moment for the fledgling car company.

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