When it comes to describing its situation, not even Bob Ross could paint a prettier picture than Tesla Motors. The California automaker has had a good few months and announced today that it delivered 7,579 Model S EVs in the second quarter of 2014. That's the most the company has ever delivered in a three-month period, reflecting an expanded market that now spans new countries in Asia and Europe. Tesla also built 8,763 vehicles in that time frame, another record, thanks to getting more cells from battery supplier Panasonic, and says it remains "on track for more than 35,000 deliveries in 2014."
Alongside the earlier announcement about the official Gigafactory announcement with Panasonic, the automaker also said today that it has broken ground on a "potential" location in Reno, NV, – validating earlier speculation – while it is still looking at locations in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. Work at the site has mostly stopped for now, however, as the company doesn't want to begin pouring cement until state incentives are in place and a "compelling deal for all parties" has been struck. The ball in Nevada, according to CEO Elon Musk, is now in the hands of the state's governor and legislature.
The 7,579 vehicles delivered last quarter continue an upward-moving trend line. In all of 2012, Tesla sold 2,650 Model S EVs. For 2013, the company delivered 4,900 vehicles in Q1, 5,150 in Q2, 5,500 in Q3 and 6,892 in Q4. In 2014, Tesla sold 7,535 Model S EVs in Q1. Add in the 7,579 from Q2 this year, and you've got 15,100 or so, meaning that Tesla needs the next two quarters to average out at around 10,000 each in order to hit the 35,000-vehicle goal. Tesla expects 2015 to be even better, saying that the rate at which its expanding means that its, "annualized delivery rate should exceed 100,000 units by the end of next year." In other words, deliveries for Q4 2015 should be around 25,000 EVs.
A few other tidbits from the shareholder letter and today's conference call:
- Tesla had a loss of $62 million last quarter.
- The company's Fremont, CA factory is being upgraded to make the Model S and X on the same line and will be up and running next week.
- Speaking of next week, the first operational Model X Alpha prototypes should be ready by next week.
- Tesla expects North America to continue to contribute strong demand for its EVs, despite the Model S being available here for several years now. The company says, "we believe [North America and Europe] remain under-penetrated. We expect demand to continue to increase worldwide as we continue to grow our customer support infrastructure and broaden the appeal of our products, and as consumer awareness improves."
- Model S drivers have driven 394 million miles in their fancy EVs so far.
- Musk addressed the issue of drivetrain replacement, saying many early swaps were a result of problem misdiagnosis, including a couple performed on the vehicle belonging to Edmunds. A problem in some early drive units are being fixed with a 50-cent shim. Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja said that from a cost perspective, "impact on warranty reserves have not been significant."
- A couple of times during the call with financial analysts, allusions were made to developments that are currently not on the radar. Apparently, Tesla is "not showing all our cards" and capital expenditures and R&D numbers are better than appear because "there are things you don't know about." Hmm.