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Published on September 27th, 2012 | by Christopher DeMorro

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Tesla Motors Has Lost $864.9 Million Since Its Inception

The more I hear about Tesla’s plans, the more certain its future seems. Then again, recent financial filings reveal that Tesla has to cut its revenue forecast due to the slow rollout of the Tesla Model S. Furthermore, some additional prying reveals that since its founding in 2003, Tesla Motors has lost a whopping $864.9 million.

Yet if you ask me, that ain’t too shabby. Read on to find out why.

From what I understand, most businesses take around 4 years to really generate any profit, and the auto industry is particularly brutal. Yet in less than ten years, Tesla Motors has arguably created the best electric car brand the world has ever seen. Sure, its first creation, the Tesla Roadster, was basically an EV version of the Lotus Elise.

But consider that Tesla is the only company thus far to have created a mainstream, from-the-ground-up electric vehicle in the Tesla Model S. Other automakers have retrofitted existing vehicles with battery electric drivetrains, but not Tesla. I think that is worth acknowledging.

That said, Elon Musk has been a little shady with things like production numbers and repaying that chunky, $465 million DOE loan. Just a few months ago Musk was talking about repaying the loan early. Now they are pushing back the repayment of over $14 million on that loan from next month to February of 2013. Not cool. Also not cool? Slashing projected revenue income from over $500 million to maybe around $400 million, mostly due to Tesla’s inability to get the Model S out to customers (reportedly over 13,000 of them) quickly enough.

Yet Tesla Motors is still the best, and maybe last hope for electric cars to make it mainstream. Nobody ever said building a car company (and a national network of “Supercharger” charging stations) would be cheap. Musk has not only not taken a salary, but has invested much of his own personal wealth into the company. That takes commitment. A

All that said, I think it is only fair to point out that eventually, Tesla has to make money. Elsewise, they won’t be around very long.

Source: Jalopnik


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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or esle, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.



  • Ziv

    I hope Tesla can make it work, but the next 6 months are crunch time. They are bleeding funds badly and they aren’t building the S fast enough to get much in the way of income, at least compared to what they need. I hope they get up to building 400 a week soon, because they really need to sell a bunch of these cars asap. I think they have built 500 so far, and they are ramping up the build rate, so hopefully they will make it.

  • Marc P.

    “Yet Tesla Motors is still the best, and maybe last hope for electric cars to make it mainstream.”

    Current market conditions (gas cars cheap and more and more efficient, gas itself not expensive enough, illusion that we have plenty of it for eons to come) along with current battery technology pitfalls (lack of range, weight, time to recharge, depletion rate, darn expensive…) – oh, and I forgot… Fox news and the Republican party… – dictate that pure EVs are and will remain a very “niche” product for some time to come.

    By no stretch of the imagination does that mean Tesla is the “last hope” for EVs to become mainstream.

    Don’t worry, EVs will become mainstream at some point in time, maybe just not in the next 5 years or maybe not even in the next 20 (?), but it will happen.

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