Tesla predicts 20,000 sales for 2013

Tesla is expecting strong demand for its new Model S electric sedan.

Following the discontinuation of its only model last year, the Roadster, Tesla's sales and financials both predictably took a plunge.

However, the startup EV automaker is expecting its fortunes to improve following the launch of Model S sedan, which will officially begin shipping out to customers on June 22. Tesla CEO Elon Musk stated today that he is "highly confident" that the company will achieve sales of 20,000 vehicles in 2013.

While the Model S, which will start at $57,400 (before a $7,500 federal tax credit), will initially be offered in the United States, Tesla will expand availability to Europe and Japan in six months. Chinese sales are expected to begin in 2013, with production of right-hand-drive models set for mid-2013, Automotive News reports.

Recognizing that many luxury car buyers are looking to lease, Tesla will offer leases starting next year.

"We may see an even greater proportion of our cars leased. The best way to see the cost advantage is through leasing. That way you can see the total monthly cost to operate a [Tesla] car versus a gasoline car," Musk said.

While 20,000 sales would make 2013 a banner year for Tesla, the company is also ambitiously predicting it will increase its volume by a further 75 percent to 35,000 units in 2014 with the introduction of the Model X all-electric crossover.

After reporting a first-quarter net loss of $89.9 million, Tesla is forecasting net revenue of $600 million for 2012.