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The price tag on the Model S is also expected to limit sales, said Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with IHS Automotive.

Nissan has sold just under 30,000 all-electric Nissan Leaf hatchbacks since they went on sale at the end of 2010, but the Leaf is little more than half the price of a Model S.

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Marshall reported from San Francisco. AP Auto Writer Dee-Ann Durbin in Detroit contributed to this report.