Tesla Delivers Again: Is Profitable In Mid 2009


Tesla has kept its word before, like last Spring when it rolled the first Roadster off the assembly line while other electric car companies were still just issuing ever more press releases.

Sure, there were some bumps in the road. Surprises are normal and should be expected in bringing such a radically innovative product to market.

The little California start-up has just passed another milestone, despite the major pothole of the financial apocalypse last Fall. Tesla became profitable in mid 2009, as promised.

Elon Musk announced that Tesla made its first $1 million profit on sales of $20 million. The profitability arose mostly from improved gross margins on the second iteration of the Roadster. A surge in new Roadster sales helped as Tesla shipped out a blistering 109 vehicles in July.

Having Daimler as a partner can help in developing big mechanical systems like suspensions and with purchasing muscle to lower costs.

Having Daimler as a customer should also help, going ahead. Tesla has a deal to supply electric-drive systems for Daimler’s Smart electric cars. Part of the $465 million loan Tesla received from the Obama adminsistration is being used to set up the plant for building the electric-drive technology for other electric car makers. Selling these electric-drive systems will produce an additional revenue stream that amortizes the cost of creating them for the Roadster.

Tesla is using the remaining $365 million of the loan to work on the $50,000 sedan that is scheduled for 2011. The Sedan S; as Nick Chambers figured out, breaks even with a $35,000 gas car in 5 years at $5 gas. Then, sales of that Model S will fund the one that you and I can afford at half that amount.

Tesla’s final loan repayment to us taxpayers will be in 2022. Me, I’m not sweating.  Tesla’s kept their word before.

Image from Jurvetson


Susan Kraemer

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today, PV-Insider , SmartGridUpdate, and GreenProphet. She has also been published at Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.