Archives for August 19th, 2013
Electric carmaker Tesla delivered a bittersweet announcement today. First the good news – the upcoming Tesla Model S will go on sale next month, ahead of schedule. Bad news? The automaker posted a loss of $89.9 million during the first quarter of this year, which is significantly more than the $48.9 million it lost during the first quarter of 2011.
Despite that, Automotive News reports that Tesla is expecting its total revenue for 2012 to be at least $560 million. It originally predicted $550 million in revenue, but boosted the forecast due to the early launch of the Model S. Looking even further ahead, CEO Elon Musk is optimistic that his company will be profitable in 2013, predicting a 25 percent gross margin.
The arrival of the Model S can’t come soon enough for the automaker. Production of the Tesla Roadster ended last year and according to The Detroit News, only a couple hundred Tesla Roadsters remain in Asian and European showrooms. Additionally, Tesla expects it will soon exhaust the $465 million loan it received from the Department of Energy.
Despite the lack of vehicles available for test drives, Tesla says that there has been much interest in the Model S. According to The Detroit News¸ there are at least 10,000 pre-order requests for the upcoming EV, which will be built at Tesla’s assembly plant in Northern California.
Compared to the Tesla Roadster, which carried a price tag that neared six figures, the Model S will be relatively affordable with a base price of $49,000 following tax credits. It will be offered with three battery options that offer ranges between 160 to 300 miles per charge. Additionally, the Model S will have the ability to recharge its battery to 80 percent capacity when plugged into a fast charger. Among its long list of notable features is its rear-facing, third-row seats (boosting passenger capacity to seven) and its 17-inch, touchscreen infotainment display.
Tesla hopes to sell 5000 units by the end of 2012 and plans to produce 20,000 units annually once its plant is running at full speed. The automaker will start selling the Model S after it clears the required crash tests.
“I do not know where we are in the [NHTSA testing] queue, Musk told the Automotive News. “We are very confident that it will be a five-star safety rating, the safest car on the road. We have certain architectural advantages, like a much longer crumple zone in the front because we don’t have to make room for an engine.”
Source: Automotive News (subscription required), The Detroit News
Electric vehicle automaker Tesla Motors announced that it has paid off the entire loan awarded by the Department of Energy (DOE) in 2010. By wiring the final $451.8 million yesterday, Tesla has repaid its whole debt, including interest, nine years early.
The payment was possible after the company raised more than one million dollars in last week’s stock sale. Following Tesla’s first ever profit in first quarter 2013, the California-based EV manufacturer’s stock climbed as high as $92.
“I would like to thank the Department of Energy and the members of Congress and their staffs that worked hard to create the ATVM program, and particularly the American taxpayer from whom these funds originate,” said Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive officer. “I hope we did you proud.”
Tesla claims that it has become the only American car company to have fully repaid the government.
"When you're talking about cutting-edge clean energy technologies, not every investment will succeed – but today's repayment is the latest indication that the Energy Department's portfolio of more than 30 loans is delivering big results for the American economy while costing far less than anticipated,” said US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz in a press statement.
It’s been almost a full week since the official launch of Tesla’s Model S. So, is less than a week enough time for people to form an opinion? Yes, and first signs are extremely good and promising, if we are to judge things by the reaction of the people who have driven or taken a ride in the car.
It seems that the its main qualities are its very pokey yet extremely smooth motor (4.4 seconds to 100 km/h or 62 mph in the performance version), the very good handling (which is aided by the car’s very low center of gravity and very good weight distribution, as there is no big ‘lump’ weighing the front of the car down), the comfort, the exterior looks and interior design – in other words, they like the whole package.
They also like the philosophy and the story behind the Tesla brand, as well as the fact that apart from trying to make money, the California-based manufacturer also wants to make good (electric) cars – a rarity in our profit and oil-driven society.
We are genuinely pleased that the Model S turned out right, and we hope it brings Tesla in line with other, much larger manufacturers, so that they can build more of their excellent EVs, and hopefully, some cheaper ones too (which they are doing, according if CEO Elon Musk will have his way in the next few years).