Tesla Motors sets IPO terms: $185 million, thanks (in part) to Toyota

Electric car maker Tesla Motors announced terms for an IPO, declaring that it hopes to raise about $185 million by selling shares to the public and Toyota.

Electric car maker Tesla Motors on Tuesday announced terms for an initial public offering, declaring that it hopes to raise about $185 million by selling shares to the public and Toyota.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company previously announced that it would work jointly with the Japanese automaker on EV development.

According to its official regulatory filing, Tesla and its stockholders will sell 11.1 million shares for $14 to $16 each.

Toyota will invest another $50 million in the company.

In its initial stock-registration filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Jan. 29, Tesla originally quoted a figure of $100 million.

To date, Tesla has only produced one vehicle, the high-performance, $101,500 Roadster. It plans on delivering a luxury sedan for a broader customer base, called the Model S, with Toyota in 2012 for $49,900 after a federal tax credit of $7,500.

But until that vehicle appears, Tesla seems to be quickly running deeper into the red. To date, it has lost $290.2 million since it was founded in 2003, according to the filing, and its net loss in the first quarter was $29.5 million, compared to $16 million in the same period the year prior.

How many $100K electric Roadsters can a startup automaker sell? According to the filing, exactly 1,063 cars to drivers in 22 countries, helping the company achieve a total revenue of $147.6 million since its founding.

Quick takeaways from the filing, mostly product-related:

  • The Tesla Roadster can accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.9 seconds and has a maximum speed of 120 miles per hour.
  • The Roadster Sport version can accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds.
  • The Roadster has a range of 236 miles on a single charge.This is expected to be 245 miles in the "next several months."
  • The Roadster has a range that is "almost double that of any other commercially released electric vehicle" and set a new world distance record of 313 miles on a single charge.
  • To date, customers have driven the Tesla Roadster for an estimated aggregate of 4.0 million miles.
  • The Model S will accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in under 6 seconds.
  • The Model S will offer a variety of range options from 160 miles to 300 miles on a single charge.
  • It will also offer the capability to fast charge in as little as 45 minutes at commercial charging stations "that we anticipate may be available in the future."
  • Model S annual production rate target: 20,000 vehicles per year from a planned facility in Fremont, Calif.

Tesla also mentioned that it's taking a loan from the U.S. Department of Energy for $465 million.

The big elephant in the room: can a specialty car company making products using a specialty technology compete with the big guys, or is it forever doomed to be a niche-market shop?

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