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Tesla Motors 2012 Financial Report, Getting Down to Business in 2013

The Toyota/GM NUMMI Plant in Fremont California Before Tesla Motors Bought and Retrofitted It
The Toyota/GM NUMMI Plant in Fremont California Before Tesla Motors Bought and Retrofitted It

Yesterday was the day when Tesla Motors, as a public company, had to unveil their financial report to the shareholders and the world.

Unlike many automakers who have a full-lineup of automobiles to market, Tesla Motors has just one, the Model S. Also unlike most automakers, the youngest in the US of which is some ninety years old, Tesla Motors is just a baby by comparison.

When these other automakers want to develop a new model, it costs tens of millions of dollars, because most of their systems and processes are already in place. In the case of Tesla Motors, conjuring a new vehicle into existence, from the aluminum body tooling to developing and assembling the fully-electric powertrain in-house, this has cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Strictly from a red-black financial-report perspective, this might seem like a bad deal, but Elon Musk, and his many admirers, specifically those who want his Tesla Model S, are willing to take the risk, and Mr. Musk has staked his business plan on being able to build an electric vehicle that people actually want to drive. Last night, the Tesla Motors 2012 financial report was released, and of course, we expected to see plenty of capital expenses getting ready for full production of the Model S, and just a few actual vehicle deliveries.

The full-year numbers look fair, totaling $413 million in revenue, 200% of that in 2011, but $396 million in losses. What’s interesting is that 4th quarter 2012 revenue was $306 million, five times more than 3rd quarter. About 2,400 Model S were delivered, starting in June, through the end of the year. Now that Tesla Motors has gotten their production schedule going full speed, they’ll be spending less on development, and we’ll be looking to see about 20,000 Model S roll out into customer garages this year. Additionally, Model S sales will start in Europe and Asia later this year.

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