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.