Archives for September 7th, 2013
The 2012 loss grew some $141.8 million over the company’s 2011 losses, bringing the red ink to a total of $396.2 million. According to Automotive News, “manufacturing and supply chain inefficiencies” were behind the fourth-quarter loss of almost $90 million, which was up by $8.4 million over the same period in 2011.
Indeed, the automaker says much of its red ink stems directly from ramping up production of the Model S sedan, the company’s sole product at this point in time. The company says it is now churning out 400 units a day, and is allegedly on track to build roughly 20,000 copies by the end of 2013.
The negative numbers don’t seem to have placed a damper on Tesla’s outlook. CEO Elon Musk stated during the company’s earnings call on Wednesday, “We really have a very high confidence that we will have a profitable first quarter, and this is the very first quarter that we have been at our target production rate.” It’s because Tesla has only just gotten up and running with its 400-unit-per-day rate that we don’t have full sales numbers yet; the company is still working through a backlog of orders on the Model S – unsurprising, given how impressed we were when we named the Model S our Automobile of the Year. That said, it still reported sales of 2400 cars in the fourth quarter of 2012 and has grown its international store total to 32. A total of 2650 Model S cars were sold in 2012.
Tesla is aiming to increase its global retail footprint to 52 stores by the end of this year, and also hopes to roll out a leasing program for the Model S and to continue expanding its Supercharger network. Musk stated that the expansion plans will only help to propel the company’s growth, as it currently has “over 15,000″ reservations for the Model S and expect to post a quarterly profit for Q1 of 2013. Ambitious goals, and we’ll have to wait and see how they shake out over the course of 2013.
Sources: Telsa, Automotive News (Subscription required)
Everyone has been chiming in with their thoughts on the Tesla Model S lately, and with the car taking home awards like the prestigious Motor Trend Car of the Year, this probably won’t change anytime soon. Not wanting to be left in the dark, Consumer Reports has managed to get its hands on a Model S to give its own impressions of the luxurious electric hatchback.
Like many other outlets (including our own first drive), CR praised the Model S for its styling (which it compares to an Audi A7) and performance (which it says “can put serious hurt on a Corvette”). With limited time with the car, the video doesn’t touch on the specific range the institute attained, but it appears most of the car’s time was spent on the track anyway.
On the flip side of things, CR dinged the Model S for its retractable door handles which the reviewer refers to as “fussy,” and as much as CR has blasted Ford and its MyFord Touch for being distracting and largely button-less in the past, we were surprised at how much it seemed to adore the lack of buttons on Model S. They even glossed over the fact that drivers can surf the Web on the 17-inch touch screen while driving.
Scroll down to watch the first drive video and then head over to Consumer Reports for the write-up.
Related Gallery2012 Tesla Model S: First Drive
At first glance, the two competitors of this Head 2 Head may appear as though they were picked randomly from a hat, but that’s not the case. Host Jonny Lieberman put the 2013 Tesla Model S and 1956 Citroen DS-19 together because he felt that they share one important commonality: innovation.
Lieberman argues that the Citroen might be the most innovative car in the 20th century for many reasons. For starters, the car’s futuristic body is constructed of fiberglass and aluminum, and its oleo-pneumatic, auto-leveling suspension was unlike anything the public had seen back in the 1950s. And the list of innovations continues: its Citromatic transmission (which Lieberman explains in the video), high-mounted brake lights, and lightweight chassis construction.
Next is the Model S, which was the recipient of our 2013 Car of the Year award. Most of you are probably well versed when it comes to this innovative Tesla, which provides drivers with road-trip-worthy range and supercar-like acceleration, all while producing zero emissions. Both cars are impressive indeed, but only one is declared a winner in this Head 2 Head. Watch the video, and let us know which car you’d rather own in the comments below.
Anyone paying attention to the electric vehicle scene for the last few weeks knows that the stock value of Tesla Motors has been climbing faster than a SpaceX rocket. As of this writing, TSLA is sitting pretty at $92 a share. Three weeks ago, it was at a then-record-high of $53.
In light of all the commotion, Tesla is going to make some money and pay back the government. The company announced yesterday it will sell 2.7 million shares (with a value of $229 million given the closing price of $84.84 yesterday) and $450 million in convertible senior notes. All told, Tesla will sell up to $830 million in shares and debt and use the money to pay back its $465-million Department of Energy loan. The DOE has agreed to let Tesla modify the terms of its loan and repay the money early., but the exact timeline of the repayment was not specified. As Tesla CEO Elon Musk put it to Bloomberg earlier this month, “Of all the car companies that got government funding, we got the least, and we’re going to pay it off first. That’s not bad.” Musk will also buy $100 million worth of shares, $45 million in common stock and $55 million to be be “purchased directly from Tesla in a subsequent private placement.”
The DOE handed out four loans through the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program: along with Tesla, Ford got $5.9 billion, Nissan got $1.6 billion and Fisker got $529 million. Tesla’s press release is available below.
Related Gallery2012 Tesla Model S: First Drive
The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) is questioning why Department of Energy (DOE) loan funds are not paying out as planned. The participation hurdle is high, and there’s about $16.6 billion in green vehicle loan appropriations going unused, the GAO found.
The funds come from DOE’s 2005 Loan Guarantee Program and its Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program from 2007. These programs were a directive from Congress, but now House and Senate lawmakers on the powerful appropriations committee are hearing about the programs stalling out. The GAO report also told legislators that the DOE hasn’t “closed on a loan or loan guarantee or conditionally committed to do so under either program since September 2011.”
The GAO had interviewed applicants for the loan programs to evaluate the DOE’s performance and found that it the “costs of participating outweigh the benefits.” Those costs include a “lengthy and burdensome” application and review process and lots of documents needed to apply. The failure of the solar energy company Solyndra was also mentioned as making participants skittish about working with DOE and the Obama administration. It’s not just green car money that’s sitting unused. There is $34.8 billion left in various renewable energy project loans, but here, at least, there are 13 “active” applications.
The DOE might be finished issuing funds through the programs automotive. While the funds don’t have an expiration date, DOE says it will continue to receive applications and it doesn’t plan to use the remainder of the appropriated funds.
Ford, Nissan, Tesla and Fisker did receive ATVM program funds. Tesla is doing well enough to pay the loan off early but Fisker had its funding cut short and is not in a good position to pay it back any time soon.
By Jon LeSage
You knew this was coming, didn’t you? Even more prisms through which to look at the failed (or is that “failed”?) Tesla Model S drive up the East Coast that The New York Times reported on last weekend. We’re going to assume you know what’s been happening with this, but if not, then you can get caught up by reading this, this and this. All set? Good.
Today, CNN reporter Peter Valdes-Dapena easily completed all of the miles in a Tesla Model S that the Times’ John Broder reported he could not do. The takeaway line: “In the end, I made it – and it wasn’t that hard.” That Valdes-Dapena managed the trip is perhaps not that big of a surprise, but a small group of Model S owners will try to prove again that 200 miles is no problem, even in the winter cold, for an electric car that’s officially rated at 265 miles. The owner convoy is going to set out from the Tesla Service Center in Rockville, Maryland tomorrow morning and then spend the night in Groton, Connecticut, just like Broder did, before turning south again. If you want to follow along tomorrow, stay tuned to TeslaRoadTrip on Twitter. Think it’ll start trending?
Also today, Road & Track chimed in to suggest the whole affair is about way more than range, it’s about trust: “If you can’t fully trust Tesla, then you’ll continue to be a customer for the Times. Think for a moment about Broder’s article in that context: it’s an advertisement for his product at the expense of Tesla’s.” We’re not 100-percent on board with that line of thinking, but it does suggest that there is a lot of meat on the test-drive bones of the original article. Check out the CNN video of its bon voyage below for more.
Related GalleryTesla Model S
Tesla Motors’ range-extending Supercharger recharging stations have officially opened up on the East Coast allowing Boston to Washington, D.C. travel, The New York Times reports.
Placed along the highly-trafficked Northeast Corridor, the new Supercharger stations will allow a Tesla Model S with the 85 kW-h big battery (giving it an EPA-estimated 265 mile range) make the trip from Boston to Washington, D.C. As is the case on the West Coast, Tesla’s new East Coast Supercharger stations aren’t placed in big cities like New York or Baltimore; rather they’re placed along I-95 in Milford, Conn. and Wilmington, Del.
Owners of Model S’ with the mid-range 60 kw-h battery pack and 208-mile EPA-estimated range should have just enough juice to make it from Boston to D.C. utilizing the Supercharger network, though they’ll likely be cutting it rather close.
The new Milford and Wilmington Supercharger stations join Tesla’s five West Coast stations, which are strategically placed to allow all-electric travel between Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Tesla’s Supercharger stations allow Model S owners to add about 150 to 160 miles of range to their EVs in about 30 minutes. Owners of electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf or even the Tesla Roadster excited about making an emission-less trip from Beantown to the Beltway need not apply; the Supercharger stations use a proprietary plug that currently works only with the Model S sedan.
As is the case on the West Coast, Tesla’s Supercharger stations are free for Model S owners to use. Tesla reportedly hopes to expand its Supercharger footprint with a few more stations on the Northeast Corridor in the near future.
Source: The New York Times
In stark contrast to the woes faced by other upstart plugin auto brands Coda and Fisker, Tesla seems to be resolute and resilient in its business strategy. The company is so confident in its success, that it released a statement on the company blog that it intends to re-pay its Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loans five years ahead of schedule. This would put the final payment of the loan in 2017, as opposed to the original deadline of 2022.
In the heated political climate surrounding government-subsidized green energy initiatives, the company was quick to point out the that ATVM loans were initiated and approved under the Bush administration, and were completely separate from the federal bailout of General Motors and Chrysler, as well as being the smallest of the ATVM loans granted, the others being Ford at $5.9 billion, Nissan at $1.4 billion, and Fisker at $529 million. Tesla’s loan was for $465 million.
In the blog post, Tesla’s VP of Business Development, Diarmuid O’Connell, said the company expected to show a modest profit in the first quarter of 2013, excluding non-cash option and warrant-related expenses.
The company’s upcoming models were briefly mentioned in the post, including the Model X crossover, and the third-generation model, described as a high-volume, low-price model, sometimes referred to as the “Blue Star.” During its development, the Model S was coined the “White Star” by many automotive media outlets.
However, being a publicly-traded company, Tesla is under the scrutiny of investors and regulators, and announced that its annual report would be delayed due to errors in its filing, according to Bloomberg. Some unpaid capital expenditures from 2011 and 2012 will be re-classified as operating activities in the revised report.
Source: Bloomberg, Tesla
Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach auction set for next month just got a little more interesting, with George Clooney’s very own Tesla Roadster added to the docket. Finished in Obsidian Black Metallic paint, Clooney’s Tesla is number eight of the original “Signature 100″ built in 2008 and comes with the premium two-tone leather interior.
Clooney isn’t selling the electric roadster to get some extra cash, though. The Academy Award-winning actor is well known for his philanthropic exploits, and the full proceeds from the auction will be given to one of his charities, the Satellite Sentinel Project. Co-founded by Clooney and human rights activist John Prendergast, the non-profit organization aims to prevent a return to civil war between Northern and Southern Sudan.
“We admire and respect Mr. Clooney’s talent and dedication to making a difference in our international community, and hope his fantastic car will attract great support for the Satellite Sentinel Project and recognition of the lives his work saves every day,” said company president David Gooding.
The auction house estimates the value of the Tesla Roadster at $100,000 to $125,000. Scroll down to read the official announcement from Gooding & Company.