Tesla Says Model S Arrives in June, Not July, and Announces New Contract for Benz EV
By Justin Berkowitz
According to its quarterly report, Tesla is planning to begin deliveries of the Model S sedan this June, not July, as had been earlier announced. Tesla is just waiting to finish crash testing the Model S and obtain final ratings from the EPA for the car’s range and MPGe (the electric equivalent to fuel economy) and to conclude paperwork for its NHTSA crash certifications. The report, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, gives a good glimpse at the inside of otherwise-secretive Tesla.
- The Model X crossover, which debuted in prototype form last February, is scheduled to enter production in late 2013 with “significant” deliveries happening in 2014.
- Tesla describes the Model X as “the first vehicle we intend to develop by leveraging the Model S platform.” Intention is different from actually doing, but this tells us at least that the company has other products on the drawing board.
- More dealerships are scheduled to open this year, which makes sense—the Model S is supposed to sell in much larger numbers than the roadster did, and more dealers will be needed to do that.
- Even though the Model S is targeted—sort of—at cars that a large percentage of customers lease, such as the Audi A6 and BMW 5-series, Tesla isn’t planning a lease program for its car.
Electric Benz, By Way of California
This report also announced a new partnership with Daimler, with Tesla hired to develop a “full electric powertrain program for a vehicle in the Mercedes line.” We don’t know which Mercedes vehicle line Tesla is referring, but our money is on the new A-class or one of the other upcoming front-wheel-drive cars. How much Daimler is paying for this service isn’t public yet either, but Tesla’s CFO said on a conference call this week that it would be worth more than $280 million. Daimler has flirted with Tesla for the past several years, buying and then selling pieces of the electric car company. Tesla also supplied components for the electric Smart and Mercedes-Benz A-class, which are now finished. And Tesla also did the powertrain work for the Toyota RAV4 EV, which is about to enter production.
Fun with Numbers
As an SEC filing, the report is loaded with financial information. Most of this is terminally boring, but to the extent that many outlets are running headlines discussing Tesla’s losses, it’s worth addressing here. Tesla has had no cars to sell during the past three months, but has been investing big sums in finishing the Model S and completing the factory in Fremont, California, where the Model S will be built. In other words, lots of spending, without any income. It’s impossible to know whether Tesla will be profitable in the next few years, but last quarter’s performance means very little. Some other interesting financial trivia:
- As of March 31, the total amount of money Tesla has collected as refundable deposits for the Model S and Model X is more than $112 million. (The minimum deposit amount is $5000, meaning that there are more than 22,000 orders on the books.)
- During the first three months of 2012, 90 percent of Tesla’s income came from Daimler and Toyota, for which Tesla supplies EV components.
Read more at Car and Driver:
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Most of this is terminally boring, but to the extent that many outlets are running headlines discussing Tesla’s losses, it’s worth addressing here. Tesla has had no cars to sell during the past three months, but has been investing big sums in finishing the Model S and completing the factory in Fremont, California, where the Model S will be built. In other words, lots of spending, without any income. It’s impossible to know whether Tesla will be profitable in the next few years, but last quarter’s performance means very little. Some other interesting financial trivia:
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