Tesla posts $58 million in revenue; eyes 2012 Model S production

Electric automaker Tesla posts $58 million in Q2 revenue as it prepares for 2012 production of its Model S sedan and, in late 2013, its Model X crossover vehicle.

Tesla Motors on Wednesday announced its second quarter earnings, garnering $58 million in revenue -- its best quarter in history -- and narrowing its loss to $0.53 per share.

The electric automaker continues to march toward the mid-2012 production debut of the Model S sedan, which it believes will take the company out of the red and into the black.

Until then, the company continues to plow money into research and development for the vehicle.

Chief executive Elon Musk elaborates:

As we have mentioned before, we anticipate that our product related spending will produce losses until we reach volume sales of Model S. We are excited about the investments we are making, but also remain vigilant on the bottom line.

A few points from his letter to shareholders:

  • Tesla continues to see strong demand for its first model, the Roadster. It delivered 190 in Q2 -- 31% more than Q1 -- and generated $27 million in revenue.
  • As such, the company has upped the Roadster program from 2,400 to 2,500 vehicles. Still, its shelf life will be short: "We expect to build all remaining Roadsters by January 2012" to move resources over to supporting the Model S.
  • Tesla expects a "Beta" build of the Model S before the end of this year. (15 "Alpha" vehicles underwent considerable testing this quarter.) A release candidate will appear in the first half of 2012.
  • Tesla has 5,600 reservations (via refundable $5,000 deposit) for the Model S through July.
  • Oh, and about the Model X crossover vehicle -- the design and "advanced engineering" are under development right now. It's intended to feel like a minivan and look like an SUV, and will be revealed "late this year." It will be built on the Model S platform and arrive to market in late 2013 with volume production in 2014.
  • The company's factory in Fremont, Calif. is currently under construction for eventual production of models S and X. All the equipment has been ordered and now the company's beginning to take delivery.
  • Tesla will continue to open retail stores, "mostly in the United States." Some may be in the same area as existing stores.

Finally, Tesla continues its work with Daimler and Toyota to work on powertrains (the latter for an electric RAV4), which help plug the revenue gaps as the company prepares to make its own vehicles. Tesla saw $31 million in revenue from these contracts.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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