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Tesla Model S electric car on display during the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. Will Tesla be able to deliver 20,000 of these babies next year?
The startup electric carmaker Tesla, helmed by CEO Elon Musk (his other company, SpaceX, just splashed-down its first successful commerical resupply mission to the International Space Station), continues to lose money — $1.05 a share in the third quarter, says its most recent earnings statement released today.
That's worse than in previous quarters and a lot worse than last year's third quarter, when Tesla lost 63 cents a share.
Compounding this bad news: Tesla lost more than analysts had expected. But there's some good news, too - a massive uptick in revenues for this quarter over the one before. This is from Tesla's SEC filing:
Our Q3 revenues were $50 million, an 88% increase from the prior quarter, which reflects ramping deliveries of Model S, continued sales of the remaining Roadsters internationally, and an increase in powertrain component sales to Toyota for the RAV4 EV. We delivered 253 Model S and 68 Roadsters in the quarter. Limited development services revenue was recognized in the quarter; however, progress on the full electric powertrain for the Mercedes Benz EV continues on schedule.
Let me draw a picture for you of the electric car market, circa autumn 2012. At the high end, you have Tesla Motors, selling or not selling, depending on your patience with the startup's delivery schedule, an all-electric Roadster, priced over $100,000; and an all-electric sedan, the Model 2, priced anywhere from about $50,000 to upwards of $100,000, depending on how you spec it out.
Then there's Nissan's Leaf, which can be be had for less than $30,000, once you get finished with various credits. The Ford Focus EV is in the same ballpark, around $30,000 once the tax credits kick in.
The Mitsubishi MiEV, even farther down the ladder, is yours for just over $20,000. But it's bare-bones.
You can lease, but not buy, the Honda Fit EV for around $400 per month.
Pretty much everything else is some type of hybrid or plug-in hybrid, so you don't get pure, zero-emissions, all-electric motoring.
DeBord Repor blogger and "Revenge of the Electric Car" director Chris Paine talk, what else? Electric cars with a panel of experts.
I'm getting this post up late — but better late than...later. Anyway, we had a great film screening and panel discussion last week at KPCC's Crawford Family Forum. The main event was Chris Paine's "Revenge of the Electric Car," the follow-up to his hit "Who Killed the Electric Car." The evening was the result of a partnership between KPCC and Community Cinema.
After the screening for a packed house, I moderated a panel discussion about the film and electric cars in general, featuring Paine, Greg "Gadget" Abbott (who appears in the documentary), Geoff Wardle — Director of Advanced Mobility Research at Art Center College of Design — and Brandy Schaffels, a senior editor at startup consumer car-buying resource TrueCar.com. You can listen the to entire discussion here.
We covered a lot of ground. The upshot is that we're all optimistic that the auto industry has finally accepted the electric car as a reality, although there remain ongoing challenges to its breakout success. At least the story in "Revenge of the Electric Car" doesn't end like "Who Killed the Electric Car," with the innovative EV1 being crushed by General Motors.