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Tesla's shares soar on results, bright outlook

Tesla Motors Inc. shares soared in extended trading after the electric carmaker delivered a strong fourth-quarter performance and said that it expects sales of its vehicles to increase sharply this year.

The Palo Alto, California, company said Wednesday that it expects to deliver more than 35,000 of its Model S sedans in 2014, up 55 percent from last year.

That compares with a forecast from an industry analyst at Barclays that the company would produce 29,800 in 2014.

Tesla investors focus heavily on the carmaker's forecasts as demand has outstripped its supply in the past. The company said battery cell supply will continue to constrain its production but expects that should improve in the second half of the year.

It had previously said that its sales in the October-December period were the highest in its history, with almost 6,900 Model S delivered. That was well ahead of the just over 5,500 it sold in the July-September period.

The Model S, which starts at US$70,000 and can go up to 300 miles on a battery charge, is Tesla's only vehicle on the market right now.

To meet the rising demand, the company plans improvements at its lone factory, a former Toyota-General Motors plant in Fremont, California.

CEO Elon Musk told analysts on a conference call Wednesday that Tesla is building a new final assembly line that will allow it to increase production to more than 1,000 cars per week from the current pace of 600 a week.

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A Tesla car is parked near the Washington state capitol in Olympia, Washington on Monday, Feb. 17. (AP)

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