Tesla Motors which plans to build the world's largest battery factory, said it will open more than 30 new service centers and stores in Europe as it anticipates a jump in sales in that region and Asia.

Tesla expects combined sales this year in Europe and Asia of almost twice those in North America, according to a statement Tuesday from the Geneva auto show. The electric-car maker said it will introduce right-hand-drive versions of its Model S sedan in the U.K. and offer leasing and financing programs in Europe.

"Growing international sales is a crucial part of the plan for the Tesla, but it won't be easy," said Ed Kim, vice president of industry analysis for consultant AutoPacific in Tustin. "Both in China and Europe, many potential customers may not have access to charging infrastructure that's as good as here in North America."

The Palo Alto automaker has forecast a more than 55 percent jump in global sales this year and announced plans to spend as much as $5 billion to build a so-called gigafactory in the U.S. The facility would let Tesla create cheaper versions of its cars, potentially doubling its worldwide market share to about 1 percent, said Adam Jonas, a Last year, Tesla delivered almost 22,500 battery-powered vehicles. The Model S has a U.S. starting price of $71,000.

Tesla's cars are available in European nations such as Belgium, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, according to the carmaker's website. Elon Musk, the company's CEO, co-founder and biggest shareholder, had previously discussed plans to enter China. He said in a January interview that he would travel there in late March to promote the brand.


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Tesla rose 1.7 percent to $254.84 at the close in New York. The shares have surged more than sevenfold in the past 12 months.