Electric-car maker Tesla expands European outlets

March 5 Wed Mar 5, 2014 9:41am EST

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March 5 (Reuters) - Tesla Motors Inc will open more than 30 sales outlets and service centers this year in Europe and will expand its network of battery-charging stations there, the U.S. luxury electric-car maker said Tuesday.

The moves support Tesla's aggressive plan to boost overseas sales in 2014. By the end of the year, Tesla said it expects combined sales of the Model S sedan in Europe and Asia will be nearly twice the number of sales in North America.

Last year, Tesla sold 22,477 cars, most of them in the United States. It has begun selling the Model S in some European countries, including Germany and Switzerland, and will introduce a right-hand-drive version this spring in the United Kingdom.

Tesla also aims to launch the car later this year in China.

The young company last month announced plans to build the world's largest battery plant, a $5-billion "gigafactory" in the U.S. Southwest, by 2017 with Panasonic and other partners

The company's shares were up slightly at $255.20 in early trading.

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