Despite sinking hundreds of millions of dollars in developing its Model S electric sedan, which only went on sale last year, Californian startup Tesla has reported its first profit in the company’s history during the first quarter of 2013, something predicted by the automaker’s CEO, Elon Musk, as far back as November, 2011.

Tesla earned a respectable $11 million for the quarter, the first time it’s been in the black in its 10-year history.

Those profits were based on revenues of $562 million (up 83 percent on the same quarter a year ago), brought about mostly from sales of the Model S though Tesla also earned some of its revenue from sales of technology licenses to the likes of Daimler and Toyota as well as the sales of California zero emission vehicle credits.

Crucially, efficiencies and lower production costs had raised Tesla’s gross margin in the quarter to 17 percent from just 8 percent in the previous quarter.

At the same time, Tesla was able to open 12 additional stores during the quarter, bringing its total network to 41 locations. The company is planning to open 30 more stores in the remainder of the year.

Tesla doesn’t report how many sales of the Model S it actually makes, but said it “delivered” 4,900 units over the quarter, which was 400 more than forecast.

Tesla does, however, mention in a letter to shareholders that it is expecting demand for its Model S to exceed 30,000 units annually worldwide going forward, with the U.S. representing roughly half of this figure.

Tesla is yet to deliver any Model S sedans outside the U.S., though it plans to start the first deliveries in Europe in the third quarter of the year. With international deliveries starting this year, Tesla is confident it can end the year with 21,000 deliveries of its Model S.


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