Tesla Lost Nearly $75 Million Last Quarter

Craig Cole
by Craig Cole

Electric vehicle-maker Tesla bled nearly $75 million in the third-quarter of 2014, almost double what it lost during the same period last year.

Looking strictly at GAAP figures, numbers reported using Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, the company’s revenue in Q3 totaled $852 million, almost double its performance in 2013. This figure includes $31 million brought in from selling powertrain components, primarily to Daimler; it also factors in $93 million in regulatory credits.

Revenue was also up because Tesla had the highest quarterly sales in its history. They delivered 7,785 cars in Q3 of 2014. They also had their best-ever day moving 907 vehicles in just one 24-hour period. About 65 percent of the company’s sales were in North America.

SEE ALSO: Tesla Model X Delayed Further to Q3 2015

The company’s cash-on-hand dropped by $304 million, checking out at $2.4 billion.

Despite strong sales overall financial losses came from several areas. Research and development expenses totaled $136 million. This hefty bill is from developing the new Dual Motor, all-wheel-drive Model S drive, their Autopilot driver-assistance technology suite and of course the upcoming Model X crossover, which was just delayed … again. Additionally, the company’s selling, general and administrative expenses reached $155 million as they expanded their customer-support infrastructure.

On the bright side Model S sales are expected to grow 50 percent in 2015. For the year, production is estimated to increase 50 percent and continue to grow at that rate for several years to come. By the end of 2015 they’re aiming to build more than 2,000 vehicles per week.

SEE ALSO: New Lease Offers Tesla Model S at Heavy Discount

To speed things up and meet growing customer demand Tesla has reduced the options available on the Model S to make it easier to build. They’re also continuing to refine the car by making its seats more comfortable, fitting it with larger sun visors, better mirrors and many more tweaks.

Aside from these changes, no major upgrades will be made to the Model S in the foreseeable future, but they will continue to push out software updates.

Looking forward, executives estimate they’ll deliver about 33,000 cars this year. Production is constrained and they have a back log of some 2,000 vehicles following their plant shutdown in July, which was due to retooling. This is 50 percent greater than 2013’s total but between 5 and 7 percent less than what they had estimated for 2014. Reduced build complexity should help speed production next year.

GALLERY: 2013 Tesla Model S

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Craig Cole
Craig Cole

Born and raised in metro Detroit, Craig was steeped in mechanics from childhood. He feels as much at home with a wrench or welding gun in his hand as he does behind the wheel or in front of a camera. Putting his Bachelor's Degree in Journalism to good use, he's always pumping out videos, reviews, and features for AutoGuide.com. When the workday is over, he can be found out driving his fully restored 1936 Ford V8 sedan. Craig has covered the automotive industry full time for more than 10 years and is a member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).

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