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
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
What do Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Toyota boss Akio Toyoda have in common? The same thing Bill Gates and the Pope do: they’ve been named to the Forbes magazine list of the world’s 71 most powerful people.
With 7.1 billion people now living on the planet, Forbes says its list is of the 71 who matter, averaging one person for every 100 million.
Of the political, religious and business leaders, just two (Musk and Toyoda) are the head of car companies, though both automakers vary greatly.
Ranked at number 66 on the list is Musk, the man who founded PayPal and used his fortune to fund Tesla Motors, which after selling its electric Roadster sportscar in limited numbers for years, went more mainstream in 2012, launching its Model S electric sedan, which has earned accolades from the automotive press, including being named Motor Trend‘s Car of the Year.
However, Musks’s position on the list has less to do with Tesla and more to do with another of his companies, SpaceX. Launching a rocket to the space station this year and delivering supplies, Forbes calls him “the most powerful man in space” and says that he, “stands to make out like a 19th-century railway tycoon.”
Ranking above Musk is the CEO of the world’s largest automaker and great-grandson of its founder (with the name to prove it), Akio Toyoda. With the Japanese auto-giant about to solidify its third year as the world’s top selling automaker, it has sold over 200 million vehicles since it was established. In addition to being an automaker, the company’s Toyota Financial Services division also makes Toyota a bank. In addition, Toyota is seen as a pioneer in green technology, with its Prius model synonymous with the word hybrid.
Compiled by Forbes’ senior editors, each of the 71 individuals on the list are there based on individual rankings in four “power categories”, including how many people they have power over, the financial resources they control, how many different areas they have power in (political, religious, economic, etc.), and finally, they must actively use their power.
Placing first on the list is US President Barack Obama, followed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with Russian President Vladimir Putin in third.
By Colum Wood
Add one more feather to the proverbial cap of the Tesla Model S. Road & Track West Coast Editor Jason Cammisa figured out how to make the electric luxury sedan extra frisky and then set about nuking the rear tires with electric-motor torque.
“Holy hell there’s a lot of torque here,” Cammisa wrote in his notes after pulling a fuse that took the ABS, stability control and traction control offline. That fuse also took out the speedometer and air suspension – no big deal – but power steering and brake assist went out, too, making hooning a parking-lot-only affair.
The best part is that they shot a video to accompany the hijinks, so you can see for yourself how the Model S does. If you want to try it for yourself, just be careful.
“There’s no rev-limiter to contend with,” notes Cammisa, and that means “you’ll be spinning tire up to the car’s 132-mph top speed.” That makes the Model S capable of blowing tires very effectively. The upside to disabling the assistance systems is that the raw dynamics of the car show through, and Cammisa reports that the underlying car is very good, indeed. You’ve waited long enough, scroll down for the video.
By Dan Roth
At the big launch event Friday for the Tesla Model S, invited journalists were able to get just a few precious moments behind the wheel. The drives were far too short, everyone agreed (most were just 10 minutes long), but people made the best of it, including our companions over at Engadget, where Myriam Joire says, “you don’t have to be a car nut to appreciate all the innovation and technology that’s gone into Tesla’s sophomore vehicle.” She continues, “So what’s it like to drive the Model S? In a word: amazing. … The Model S is surprisingly nimble for such a large and heavy automobile, and it doesn’t sacrifice ride quality for the sake of dynamics – it handled rough roads with composure and just the right amount of stiffness.” Our favorite bit is this one: “Acceleration is where the Model S shines. The electric motor dishes out gobs of linear, head-snapping torque, quickly propelling you past the speed limit – you’ve been warned.”
We’re working on getting some real Autoblog seat time, but for now we look at other first impressions from around the internet, which are universally positive, something that’s darn hard to come by in this day and age:
- Motor Trend calls it, “an out-of-this-world sedan that happens to be electric” and adds that, “after a walk through the factory, a visit to a dealer showroom, and an hour-and-a-half spent driving the car on a mix of roads, my eyes are wide and my jaw has dropped.”
- CNet says that upon, “seeing a straight road ahead I … let the pedal meet the floor. The Model S felt like a freight train, with inexorable acceleration pushing forward without a break. There were no power peaks – it was all torque all the time.”
- GigaOm says, “The low center of gravity, smooth ride, and lack of vibration were pretty amazing.”
- Yahoo! News reports that, “the Tesla Model S successfully challenges a century of assumptions about what a great car can be” and that, “from behind the wheel of the Tesla Model S, you feel you’re driving the future, instead of burning increasingly limited gallons of the past.”
- Our old friend Damon Lavrinc, now at Wired, says, “if our brief seat time is any indication, Tesla hasn’t just delivered a functional, all-electric sedan – it’s made a luxury EV that can outpace and outclass the stalwarts of the premium sports sedan segment, while changing the perceptions of electric mobility. It’s also a complete hoot to drive.”
- USA Today makes it simple: “There’s no other way to put it: Tesla’s Model S luxury sedan is spectacular.”
What you read there, in other words, is a paradigm being shifted. We’ve got some video reviews below.
Related GalleryTesla Model S: Quick Spin
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has admitted that the automaker’s online finance calculator was misleading and has confirmed it will be fixed to not include non-financial factors in the online monthly payment.
Musk admitted fault with the calculator during a conference call on Friday, stating that Tesla was in the wrong, and the media was right to criticize it. The online calculator displays the monthly cost of owning a Tesla under its lease-to-buy offer. Problem is, the calculator included factors such as time saved by not having to pump gas, helping lower the monthly payment presented to shoppers with non-cash savings.
SEE ALSO: Tesla Model S Resale Value to be Industry’s Best, Says CEO Musk
Tesla will be fixing the online calculator so that the cost savings estimates are more conservative.
“We were wrong, those people were right,” he said. “We need to fix it.”
Discuss this story at Tesla-Buzz.com
By Jason Siu
Happy Automobile of the Year week! With just days to go before we release the identity of the 2013 Automobile of the Year, we thought it would be best to catch you up on the proceedings and let you know a little bit more about what went down earlier this month.
We took 28 of the best and brightest cars that were new for the 2012/2013 model years to our favorite western Michigan hideaway, Gingerman Raceway in South Haven. Over the course of three days (two driving just on public roads, one driving just on Gingerman’s 2.1-mile road course), editors had the chance to drive each and every one of them and name a winner.
To make our jobs (slightly) easier, we also decided to name a “shortlist,” 10 finalists that went from merely being nominated for 2013 Automobile of the Year to being on the final ballot when we chose a winner. We’ve revealed the final ten in the following pages, and provided a little bit of real-time insight as our editors climbed out of each car, snapped photos on Instagram, and tapped out quick responses on Twitter.
By Ben Timmins
The Tesla Model S is getting a bump up in price, and will now start with a base price of $59,900 before federal tax credits.
Tesla points out that general inflation has increased by 8.75 percent since the original Model S was priced, which should have increased the price by $5,000, but instead Tesla only tacked on an extra $2,500. Every model gets the same price increase of $2,500, which puts the 60-kWh model at $69,900, and the 85-kWh model at $79,900.
New features include 12-way adjustable, heated front seats as standard equipment, and new standard 19-inch wheels for performance model cars. Adding on 21-inch wheels will cost you $3,500 extra, and a new red multi-coat paint shade is also available, for $1,500.
Battery pack replacements were also priced by the brand, with the price of a 40 kWh pack starting at $8,000. Another $2,000 gets the 60 kWh pack, and the 85 kWh pack costs another $2,000 on top of that.
The Automobile Dealers Association in the state of Massachusetts was denied a request for a preliminary injunction against Tesla Motors Inc., which allows the American automaker to continue operating its store in Boston.
The dealers requested the Massachusetts Superior Court for a restraining order and injunction in hopes of stopping the Tesla-owned showroom from operating. The group is now considering an appeal and other judicial remedies, but currently hasn’t made a decision as to its next step.
“Tesla looks forward to continuing to focus on advancing the knowledge of EVs in a convenient, accessible environment,” said Shanna Hendriks, Tesla spokeswoman in an email. “We remain hopeful for a positive outcome of this case.”
SEE ALSO: Tesla Sued by Auto Dealers Association
One thing is for sure, the lawsuit isn’t going to be dropped any time soon according to Robert O’Koniewski, executive vice president of the Massachusetts association.
“Dropping the lawsuit is not an option at this point,” he said. “We feel very strongly that Tesla is operating a factory store outside parameters of our franchise law and our license law, and they are operating that store illegally.”
The injunction is part of an ongoing lawsuit in both Massachusetts and New York, where members of the Automotive Trade Association believe that Tesla is operating illegal dealerships in those states. The Tesla stores, which are mainly boutiques located in shopping malls and other high-traffic areas, have come under attack even though the automaker states that they comply with federal and state laws where they operate.
[Source: Automotive News]
By Jason Siu
Tesla has confirmed the Model S will soon see a price increase. The company has yet to release details on how much more the critically acclaimed electric vehicle will cost moving forward, but has released a few details about how the shift will affect buyers with existing reservations. Tesla says the increase will not apply to anyone who has a reservation so long as they configure and finalize their order “within a fair and predefined timeframe.” Likewise, those buyers who deferred their reservations will be able to keep the original pricing by finalizing their order within the same timeframe.
Tesla says the price shift will also include changes to the Model S option package structure, and that some features currently considered standard equipment will become added cost options in the future. As with the overall price increase, these changes will not impact those with current orders, reservations or deferred reservations. Expect to hear more about the price increase as information becomes available, and in the meantime you can read the brief press release below for more information.
Related Gallery2012 Tesla Model S: First Drive
By Zach Bowman