Print 12 comment(s) - last by ebakke.. on Oct 29 at 5:16 PM

Elon Musk with the Model S  (Source:
In a blog post, Musk set out to clarify that Tesla is not in a bad position despite the automaker's reduced 2012 revenue forecast

Tesla Motors had a bit of discouraging news last month regarding 2012 revenue reductions as a result of Model S delays, but CEO Elon Musk fired back with some better news: Tesla will become cash flow positive at the end of next month.

Last month, Tesla's regulatory filing indicated that the automaker had cut its 2012 revenue forecasts from $560 million-$600 million down to $$400 million-$440 million. It was noted that Model S production delays of about four to five weeks had caused the revenue reduction, as the Model S was expected to provide 90 percent of Tesla's revenue for the full-year 2012.

However, in a recent blog post, Musk set out to clarify that Tesla is not in a bad position. In fact, he said that his auto company will not only become cash flow positive at the end of next month, but Model S production has also been increased.

"Our production rate in the last week of September was roughly 100 vehicles, four times greater than our production in the first week of September as we overcame supply constraints," said Musk. "I am pleased to report that we completed production of 359 vehicles last quarter (delivering over 250 of those to customers) and have already made our 500th vehicle body.

"While we are indeed a few weeks later than we would like, this is not perhaps a terrible outcome for a product as advanced as the Model S, particularly given that Tesla is doing manufacturing of full vehicles for the first time with a new team and suppliers."

Musk added that SEC rules restricted the automaker from discussing this with the press sooner (because it doesn't want companies to promote stock), so he couldn't clarify the situation sooner when journalists began reporting the regulatory filing as a smudge on Tesla's record.

In addition, Tesla will be repaying its $465 million federal loan early ahead of the March 2013 due date.

Source: Inside Line

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By flyingpants1 on 10/5/2012 9:59:01 PM , Rating: 4
The Model S is very nice, but Tesla's 2015 mainstream sedan, codename "BlueStar" is going to take over everything. Here's my 100% scientific proof, based mostly on guessing and wildly optimistic (but plausible) assumptions about the future.

Price: I am predicting an MSRP of $37,500 USD (before tax credit) which means ~$30,000 USD. While we're making stuff up:

Weight: ~4000lbs, or at least a 10% reduction in weight and size from the Model S, which means a boost in range, I don't know how much, let's say around 10%. Maybe a hatchback chassis like the Ford Focus Electric.

Battery: The Model S has a 40kWh battery and goes 160 miles. With a reduction in weight, we'd need a smaller battery pack to achieve the same range (36kWh?), thus reducing the weight even further. Let's say we opt for just 140 miles (31.5kWh).

If statements from Tesla are to be believed, their cost for a battery is around $200-250/kWh. I've seen other statements putting price drops (AND capacity increases, but nevermind that for now) for these batteries at about 5-10% per year. Assuming an extremely optimistic 10%, if the BlueStar started manufacturing in Oct 2015, that's only $146/kWh.

$146/kWh * 31.5kWh = $4599. So, the battery for the Tesla BlueStar may cost as little as $4600 to produce, while giving us a 140 mile range. By the time the battery needs to be replaced, it will cost less than $2000 to produce.

Sounds pretty good to me.

By flyingpants1 on 10/6/2012 12:45:32 AM , Rating: 2
In some scenarios, the BlueStar will actually be cheaper to drive than a gas vehicle. Again continuing with my highly biased elementary school-level math, let's say:

-BlueStar is $30k
-Honda Civic Sedan Automatic is $19.5k (The one with the air conditioning)
-BlueStar range is 140 miles
-Gas is $5.00/gal
-Cost per mile for charging the Tesla is $3.80/mile, charging at home

-You work about 255 days per year
-You commute about 88 miles per workday (about 1 hour each way)
-You don't drive anywhere but to and from work (for the sake of calculation)

Your fuel cost after 5 years for the Civic would be about $13,683. Let's say you lose about 1MPG every year (no clue if this is accurate), that works out to $14,404 in fuel alone. You're looking at around $34k after 5 years, not counting any maintenance or repair costs.

Electricity for the BlueStar would be around $4,300, or $2150 if you charged at work. That's also around $34k after 5 years.

The Tesla's maintenance cost will be much lower than the Honda's because almost no moving parts. The Tesla's battery will need to be replaced after 8 years, by which time electric cars will be mainstream.

If you charged your BlueStar at work, you may never actually have to pay for charging ever again, provided you had enough charge to get to work in the morning at the end of each day. So you could leave work with a full battery, drive home for 44 miles, and you'd still have 52 free miles to play around with every night, and then another 44 miles to get to work in the morning.

Obviously I've tilted everything possible in Tesla's favor. But doesn't it sound great? :)

By Cheesew1z69 on 10/6/2012 4:38:24 PM , Rating: 1
"the one with the air conditioning"

Um, I am pretty sure they all come with AC unless there is something about Civics I don't know.

By flyingpants1 on 10/6/2012 9:18:07 PM , Rating: 2
I think car manufacturers usually omit air conditioning from their low-end cars (like Honda Civic DX for $15,955) because it saves them a little money. I could be wrong though.

Google: Honda Civic DX no air conditioning

Then again Tesla might pull the same trick, but I kinda doubt it. Elon won't sell a crippled product.

By flyingpants1 on 10/6/2012 9:20:40 PM , Rating: 2
From reading a bit further, Elon has commented that the BlueStar will be like a "smaller Model S" - implying it will be a sedan - with a 25% weight reduction.

By PontiusP on 10/10/2012 3:19:58 PM , Rating: 2
"-Cost per mile for charging the Tesla is $3.80/mile, charging at home"

So driving 100 miles will cost me $380? Wow, that's a pricey charge.

I think you got the number wrong there.

By jdietz on 10/12/2012 8:29:31 AM , Rating: 2
Can you update that $.38/mile figure? There's no way electric charging costs that much.

By flyingpants1 on 10/13/2012 5:48:05 AM , Rating: 2
It's roughly 3.8 cents per mile in California. 100,000 miles would cost you $3800. Less if you factor in free charging at work.

By fleabag on 10/22/2012 4:46:17 PM , Rating: 2
Cost per mile for charging the Tesla is $3.80/mile, charging at home

Electricity for the BlueStar would be around $4,300, or $2150 if you charged at work. That's also around $34k after 5 years.

Where are you getting these numbers? Don't use the national average to calculate the cost of electricity because a lot of utilities are giving electric cars a reduced rate if you put the car on a separate meter. In california, I know of at least two utilities SCE and PGE that charge $.04-.06 per kwh. If the cars get 100mpge, then at $0.06kwh over 100K miles of driving, it would cost $2040 in electricity costs, $1360 if you're paying $0.04kwh.

By CaedenV on 10/28/2012 11:05:30 PM , Rating: 2
1) manufacturers stopped putting out cars that don't have basic things like AC back in the '90s
2) While gas may be $5/gal in Cali, it is $3/gal in the midwest and trending down (actually was $2.90 the other day, but bumped up again). Out in Cali you will have lower gas prices once your custom fuel mix supply is fixed. There is no reason for gas prices to jump up again any time soon.
3) I think you meant $0.38/mi, which is high even for Cali. Out in the midwest it is closer to ~23 cents per mi last time I did the math.

Aside from all of that I think Tesla is doing a killer job! While other companies are coming out with crap electric cars in the $40,000+ price range to compete with $15-20,000 commuter cars (no matter how much you drive, that never breaks even), Tesla is adding all the features of a premium car to make the thing actually worth the money you spend on it. If they had the production capacity I am sure they would sell a lot more than they are now, but they will get there in time.

My hope is that we start seeing some $20,000 (post rebate) cars in the next few years. I am no global warming believer, but electricity is something we are good at making, where oil/gas is something we kinda suck at. Plus with solar panels dropping in price like a rock you can feed the grid all day for peak $$, and then take the power back at night to charge the car for a minimum price for essentially free gas (just a big up front investment for panels and installation... but it should pay itself off in the long run). The only issue then is HOW to charge the car. Apartment dwellers don't exactly have the ability to throw an extension chord out the window to their car, and homes like mine do not have accessible garages (especially during winter because the garage is below the house, and it is a bit too steep to drive on when it snows). But once they get easy power delivery to the car itself, and the initial investment of the car competitive with Gas models, then we will see sales take off like crazy. It isn't here yet, but I bet we will see a proper affordable electric car released within the next 5-7 years.

By ebakke on 10/29/2012 5:16:32 PM , Rating: 2
1) manufacturers stopped putting out cars that don't have basic things like AC back in the '90s

Come armed with facts, or GTFO.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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