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
Massachusetts auto dealers are not taking “no” for an answer when it comes to Tesla Motors. On Tuesday, the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association and other dealer plaintiffs filed an appeal after a court dismissed their lawsuit against Tesla’s factory-owned stores on December 31, 2012.
The lawsuit was initially filed by MSADA in October, and by year’s end, Norfolk County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Fishman ruled that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue. This suit followed a similar lawsuit filed in October where the MSADA requested the court block an opening of a store by Tesla in a suburban Boston mall. Tesla won approval to open the store in Natick, MA, which fueled the second lawsuit.
Dealers are pointing to a 2002 Massachusetts statue that gives dealers and their association the right to sue to prevent manufacturer-owned stores, Robert O’Koniewski, executive vice president of the dealers association, told Automotive News in an email. “Tesla is spending considerable sums of money across the country in an effort to exploit what they see to be gaps in states’ franchise laws,” O’Koniewski wrote. “The law is the law. Follow it.”
Tesla didn’t respond to a request for comment. Tesla previously has said that it’s being very careful about complying with state laws. The stores are there to educate the public, and when it comes time to selling the car, it’s all being done online.
“People will be walking down the mall and they’ll see a car and they’re drawn in by that…,” said George Blankenship, Tesla’s vice president of sales and ownership experience, in an interview with SmartPlanet. “We’re educating, not selling. It’s two different things.” So far, so good for Tesla Motors. But the jury – as it were – could still be out.
By Jon LeSage
When is $20 million not equal to $20 million? When, for some, it’s an interest payment and, for others, it’s all someone else thinks they’re worth. Here’s how that one number means two totally different things to two different green car companies.
Speaking to Bloomberg Television about the early repayment of Tesla Motors’ DOE loan, CEO Elon Musk said today that, “ultimately, the US taxpayer actually made a profit above $20 million on this loan. For this loan at least, people’s tax bill actually went slightly down.”
Musk said that, now that the loan has been paid back, more people might take a look at Tesla. “We were attacked a lot in certain quarters for having some government debt,” he said. “I think that actually matters to some consumers out there, whether or not a company actually does have government debt, and being able to say we fully repaid that debt with interest, I think it is helpful to some number of people out there in thinking about buying a car.” So, for Tesla, which recently raised over a billion dollars, $20 million is an easy price to pay to potentially sell more EVs.
Now, let’s look at Fisker Automotive, which is still fending off bankruptcy. We learned this week that VL Automotive and Wanxiang made an offer to buy the troubled automaker for an undisclosed sum. Word out today is that the amount that the two companies are willing to pay for Fisker is, you guessed it, $20 million. That’s about one percent of Fisker’s $2 billion-plus value back when the Karma plug-in hybrid was launched, according to Reuters. It’s unclear how a potential Fisker buyer will have to deal with the outstanding DOE loan amount of $171 million and other issues, but the $20-million offer a striking contrasts to Musk’s statement on Bloomberg Television, which you can watch in the video below.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced a new service and warranty program today for owners of the Model S EV, which includes a free Model S loaner when their cars are in for service, and an unconditional warranty on the vehicle’s battery pack.
In a bid to provide buyers added convenience, Tesla will provide Model S owners with a free Model S loaner car if their own personal vehicle ever needs to go into the shop for repairs. Those loaner vehicles will be top-trim Model S EVs, while owners interested in taking a Tesla Roadster rather than the Model S will be allowed to do so if one is available.
Making the service experience even less painless is a new valet service, which will pickup and drop off your Model S when it needs servicing.
Finally, a new warranty is being offered for Model S owners. “Except in the cases of a collision, opening of the battery pack by non-Tesla personnel or intentional abuse (lighting the pack on fire with a blowtorch is not covered!), all damage is covered by warranty, including improper maintenance or unintentionally leaving the pack at a low state of charge for years on end,” wrote Elon Musk in a press release.
Tesla will replace the battery pack if it is found to be defective, and replace it with a reconditioned unit with energy storage equal to or greater than what the original battery pack could handle. Also part of the new program, Tesla suggests that each Model S come in for at least one annual service checkup, though it now does not affect the warranty if the customer doesn’t honor that request.
Discuss this story at GasStinks.com
Toyota Motor Sales
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.– The RAV4 EV, a battery-powered crossover jointly developed by Toyota and Tesla, made its California debut this week.
The vehicle, aimed at urban markets here, will be offered for sale this summer for $51,000.
Tesla has a $100 million contract to supply the vehicle’s electric motors, power electronics, proprietary lithium-ion battery packs, single-speed gearboxes and software. The components, the companies said, were similar to those in Tesla’s new Model S sedan.
Indeed, the Model S and RAV4 EV will be priced nearly the same. The RAV4 platform, supplied by Toyota from its gasoline-powered version of the RAV4, offers additional utility and cargo capacity.
The EV can operate on normal and sport power settings. Normal allows 218 pound-feet of torque, while sport produces 273.
The top speed in normal mode is 85 m.p.h.; in sport, speed capability is increased to 100 m.p.h. In sport mode, the EV will make the sprint from a standstill to 60 m.p.h. in seven seconds, Toyota calculated.
“Conservative” range on a single charge is 100 miles, although by using settings, designated as eco-high or eco-low, the range could be extended to as much as 170 miles.
Tesla chief Elon Musk is making a major announcement next week, and here’s guessing it’s not another salvo about what a bad job that reporter from The New York Times did writing up the Tesla Model S.
“Am going to put my money where my mouth is in v major way.” – Elon Musk
“Am going to put my money where my mouth is in v major way,” Musk tweeted Monday, saying there would be an “exciting” announcement on Thursday. Later on Monday, Musk updated the timing of the statement to next Tuesday in order “to ensure no end of quarter distractions.” Tesla shares rose 2.5 percent in Nasdaq trading Monday and were up another 1.2 percent after hours.
Seeking Alpha wonders if Musk may have another stock offering and will use some of the cash to pay off its government loans. Late last month, Musk said he’d cut his company’s slated 10-year timetable to pay back its $465 million US Energy Department loan in half because of better-than expected results, including what Musk said would be Tesla’s first-ever profitable quarter in the first three months of 2013.
Either way, the Tweets are more sanguine than the blasts Musk sent out after a reporter from The New York Times said in a write up last month that the single-charge range in the all-electric Model S is far less than advertised. Some Tesla owners and a few other publications backed Musk’s assertion that the reporter was sloppy in his record keeping and a Times editor allowed that some missteps may have been made in the review.
Related Gallery2012 Tesla Model S: First Drive
By Danny King
The “Odyssey of Pioneers” world tour has the Tesla Roadster visiting some 15 major cities and at least 150 smaller towns during the course of its road trip. The electric sports car is in Europe this week where it will be making a historical pit stop in Budapest, Hungary.
What’s the connection? Well, Budapest was one of the many stomping grounds of Tesla’s namesake — Nikola Tesla. Better yet, it’s said that while living in Budapest, Tesla thought up the original design for the alternating current motor — the same type of motor used in the Roadster — during a feverish hallucination.
“Without his vision and brilliance, our car wouldn’t be possible,” said Tesla CEO Elon Musk. “If he were alive today, I’m sure Nikola Tesla would be a very happy Roadster customer and a passionate advocate of electric vehicles.”
Budapest is the fourth stop on the Tesla’s tour. Luke McClure, the EV’s driver, has used standard electric outlets at hotels along the route, a solar panel array, and even a power feed located inside a Swiss barn to keep the roadster fully “fueled.” The Tesla Roadster accomplishes this feat because it’s equipped with its own charging equipment, so there is no need for specialized outlets or charging stations.
Tesla Motor will be hosting a VIP celebration, along with test drives for prospective customers from April 15-16 at the TAG Heuer Boutique in Budapest. The Roadster will then resume the tour to its next stop — Warsaw, Poland. The entire journey is tentatively scheduled to last eight months, and is expected to end come October, when the Tesla is due in Paris.
And America’s best selling plug-in vehicle for 2013 is…the Tesla Model S? That’s what Inside EVs calculates by way of extrapolating the company’s production capacity of 400 units a week and the fact that the company’s still working down its backlog of orders.
Tesla, of course, is mum on its sales numbers, with spokeswoman Shanna Hendriks saying only that the company will reveal some sales details during its fourth-quarter 2012 earnings call scheduled for later this month.
So, that leaves us with speculation. With as many as 1,600 Model S sedans being delivered a month, Tesla in January may well have led all automakers, as General Motors and Nissan were hamstrung by inventory issues for the Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in and Leaf EV, respectively. Leaf sales in January fell 3.8 percent from a year earlier to 650 units, while the Volt moved 1,140 units, which was twice as high as 2012 figures but down from 2,633 units in December. Meanwhile, the Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid moved 338 units in January, while Toyota sold 874 of its Prius Plug-in Hybrids. So, if Tesla did deliver 1,600 Model S vehicles in January, well, that’d be quite something.
Related Gallery2012 Tesla Model S: First Drive
By Danny King
It is official: the gloves are off in the war of words between Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk and Fisker Automotive chief Henrik Fisker.
Most of the verbal barbs came from Musk, who sat down to gossip with Automobile Magazine about archrival Fisker. The bad blood goes back a few years to when Tesla unsuccessfully sued Henrik Fisker for developing the Karma while under contract for the design of the Model S – basically paying someone to design his own car.
Another, more newsworthy zinger was when Musk called out Fisker as a smart designer but one who does not understand the underlying technology problem. Musk said:
The fundamental problem with Henrik Fisker – he is a designer or stylist… he thinks the reason we don’t have electric cars is for lack of styling. This is not the reason. It’s fundamentally a technology problem. At the same time, you need to make it look good and feel good, because otherwise you’re going to have an impaired product. But just making something look like an electric car does not make it an electric car.
Fisker has been scrambling to deal with fires and recalls connected to its A123 Systems partnership. Musk’s biggest jab was directed at the flagship Karma: “It’s a mediocre product at a high price.”
So what did Henrik Fisker have to say? In a written response to Automobile Magazine, Fisker stayed friendly, but did throw down the competitive gauntlet: range anxiety. “Obviously, Tesla and Fisker are appealing to two different customer bases with two totally different technologies. Tesla has pure EV and Fisker has a range-extended offering with no compromise on range,” he wrote. Zing!
Fisker thanked Musk for giving a nod to the good-looking Karma, which won Automobile’s 2012 Design of the Year. He also made a statement to clear up the legal wrangle: Fisker won in court. A judge threw out the case and awarded costs to Fisker.
Both companies have borrowed existing tech to bring their plug-ins to market. Karma needed Quantum Technologies to provide the plug-in hybrid drivetrain and used a General Motors-sourced 2.0 liter turbo four-cylinder engine. Tesla used the Lotus Elise to develop its first car, the Roadster. That said, the sparring judges would probably send more points to Tesla Motors, which sells its battery system and EV powertrain technology to companies like Toyota.
Related GalleryTesla Model S: Quick Spin