Tesla turns to Model Y, as Model 3 slowly exits "production hell"

Ivan Schwartz
February 8, 2018

The day after Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk blasted his Tesla Roadster into space, his electric vehicle company's mounting losses are bringing him back to Earth again.

Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) posted strong fourth-quarter results as the company's loss was narrower than Wall Street expected. In the quarter ending 2017, automotive cost of revenue rose to $2.19 billion, up from $1.93 billion the preceding quarter, and up 31 percent from $1.66 billion in the first quarter of 2017.

Musk himself stoked that talk by saying, five years ago, that he wanted to stay with Tesla through the introduction of the Model 3. Musk said in July past year that Tesla would probably be making 20,000 Model 3s per month by December 2017. "People want Tesla products, but Tesla can't stop spending more money than it has".

This image from video provided by SpaceX shows the company's spacesuit in Elon Musk's red Tesla sports auto which was launched into space.

Tesla reiterated in its earnings report on Wednesday that it is on target to produce 2,500 of its Model 3 electric sedans by the end of Q1 and 5,000 by the end of Q2.

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Musk, who operates a Tesla design center in Hawthorne, suggested the achievement should instill faith in production of the Model 3 sedan, its bid for the mass market. The company should get out of production hell soon, he said.

"If we can send a Roadster to the asteroid belt, we can probably solve the Model 3 problem", he said.

Musk said he was "cautiously optimistic" Tesla would become profitable, though he didn't say when.

- The Tesla big battery installed in South Australia past year had been is "exceeding its performance targets significantly", and as a result of this success had boosted orders for the company's commercial scale energy storage systems.

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