A car that costs 80 percent as much to produce as another can't be half the price. That's the simplistic version why Stanphyl Capital Management says Tesla Motors will not be able to sell its "mass market" sedan for the low, low (by luxury electric-vehicle standards) Elon Musk-backed price of $35,000. In fact, the California-based automaker will take about a $13,000 bath for each unit it sells of the new vehicle, now referred to as the Model E.
Stanphyl Capital Management breaks down the fourth-quarter costs and revenue associated Tesla's Model S, of which it sold about 6,900 units during the last three months of the year. In a nutshell, Tesla generated a whopping $106,000 per vehicle sold, with about two-thirds of the company's gross profit coming from battery and optional upgrades. And while Tesla may be able to get the Model E battery costs down to about $8,100 compared to the $15,600 cost of the Model S battery (the smaller car will use a smaller battery that will provide about a 200-mile single-charge range), all of the other stuff brings the Model E's unit cost up to about $48,000. That compares to the $59,600 average cost of a Model S. Fremont, we have a problem.
Reports came out in December saying that the Model E may be unveiled at one of next year's auto shows and sales could start as early as 2016. The argument against the possibility of a $35,000 Model E may sound reasonable on paper, but more than a few people have lost money betting against Elon Musk. You can read more at ValueWalk.