Tesla Motors (s TSLA) needs to make a profit and is counting on the Model S to get it there. The electric car company began shipping the sedan in late June and the hoopla surrounding the rollout has boosted the Model S reservations to about 12,200 now, compared with roughly 11,500 by the end of June.

“We obviously don’t have a demand problem. One of the biggest reasons people don’t put down a reservation payment for Model S is you have to wait a year, and if you need a car you need a car,” said CEO Elon Musk, during a conference call with analysts to discuss the company’s second-quarter earnings.

Tesla expects to ship a total of 5,000 Model S in 2012, but the big delivery push won’t happen until the fourth quarter. The company plans to ship roughly 500 of the car in the third quarter and the…

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