Palo Alto, California – Electric car manufacturer Tesla’s shares fell by 19 per cent to US$22.79 after news that two engineers who worked on the upcoming Model S sedan left the company, according to Bloomberg. The stocks went up to $24.56 in after-hours trading.

Vice-president and chief engineer Peter Rawlinson, and vehicle and chassis engineering supervisor Nick Sampson left this month, the company said. Reports are that Sampson had “fully transitioned” off the Model S before leaving, while Rawlinson left to tend to personal matters in the U.K. Both had previously worked at Lotus, and Sampson had also worked at Jaguar.

In a conference call to address the issue, Tesla chairman and CEO Elon Musk expressed confidence in the prospects for the upcoming model, according to the Green Car Congress. Musk said that he was “highly confident” that the car will be released on or before July as planned, that the company will sell at least 20,000 cars next year, and that it will see a gross margin of at least 25 per cent.

Tesla has received about 8,000 reservations for the Model S as of the end of 2011, and the 1000-unit limited-edition Model S Signature is already fully reserved, the company said.

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