Tesla: Sell Enough Cars by Year's End, or Else

Tesla faces a new challenge: Build 5,000 Model S sedans by Dec. 31 or risk insolvency, CEO and founder Elon Musk said at the National Clean Energy Summit, according to Left Lane News. The California electric-car maker received 10,000 orders for the plug-in, three-row car, but Left Lane News reports it must deliver 5,000 of them by year's end. Deliveries began June 22, a month ahead of schedule. The automaker plans 5,000 sales in 2012, on the way toward 20,000 in 2013.

"The challenge that Tesla faces over the next few months is scaling production enough to achieve a certain gross margin on our product so we can be cash-flow positive," Musk told the Las Vegas crowd. "If we’re unable to do that, we’ll enter the graveyard with all the other car company startups of the last 90 years.

"It will definitely be a very tough road over the next six months,” he continued. “We can’t afford to make a lot of mistakes. If we don’t make too many mistakes, then we’ll get to that period and we’ll be able to bring out larger-volume cars that are more affordable."

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