Tesla's 2010 Losses Widen Amid Preparation for Release of Model S

By · February 17, 2011

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Tesla may still be burning through cash at a breakneck pace, but that didn't stop the company from predicting up to 50% growth in revenue for 2011. The company ended the 4th quarter 2010 with a loss of $51.4 million dollars, compared to a loss of $23.2 in the 4th quarter a year earlier, but reported that revenue for 2010 was $116.7 million, up from $111.9 in 2009.

Although development of the company's highly anticipated Model S is draining it of resources, Tesla predicts 2011 will be a good year for growth. In a conference call the company said it expects a 40-50% increase in revenue, reflecting an income of $160 million to $175 million for the year. Given that the company is only selling one low-volume vehicle right now—the $109,000 Roadster—and that vehicle will cease being made in 2012, the growth for 2011 is expected to come from increased battery sales in its collaboration with Daimler and increased payments from Toyota for development of the RAV4 EV.

According to reports from an analyst in a Bloomberg article, once Tesla gets the Model S out the door and starts selling them in 2012, revenue could be as high as $500 million—even if sales of the $57K vehicle are a modest 10,000 units.

"The highlight of the quarter was our on-time completion of the first drivable Model S alpha,” said Tesla CEO, Elon Musk. “The quality and level of refinement of the alpha demonstrates the superb job of our design, vehicle engineering and powertrain teams. They have embraced the opportunity to build an EV from the ground up and have produced a vehicle which shows great potential to deliver superior aerodynamics, stability and handling, crash safety, performance and range. We believe the Model S is well on its way toward becoming the vehicle of choice for 2012.”

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