Tesla crushes earnings expectations, sold 4,900 EVs in Q1, stock up 100% year-to-date

Tesla Motors stock chart
Screen capture Google finance

They all said he couldn't do it...

Tesla has released its financials for the first quarter of 2013, and while Elon Musk, the company's CEO, had said that it would be their first profitable quarter, nobody expected it to be that profitable. Analysts had predicted an average of 4 cents a share, and Tesla delivered 3 times that (net income for the quarter was a bit over $11 million)! The company has delivered 4,900 electric cars during the quarter, more than the 4,500 they expected, and consistently building around 400 a week. They expect demand for the Model S to exceed 15,000 per year in the U.S. and 30,000 worldwide.

Tesla factory© Tesla

Record sales of $562 million, up 83% from last quarter

More than a million people visited the company's stores during the quarter, resulting in orders for the Model S at a rate of more than 20,000 per year. The recent changes to financing options should help with. Musk said it would make the Model S affordable to the wealthiest 10 million U.S. households, compared with about one million without this financing model. The next Tesla platform, expected in a few years, should be affordable to most, as it is expected to be priced in the $30k range (but nothing's official at this point). So if they can sell this many premium EVs, imagine how many 'mainstream' ones they could sell?

Manufacturing tweaks are also making a big difference: Between December and March, Tesla has reduced the number of hours required to build a Model S by almost 40%!

Tesla model s factory electric car© Tesla

The stock market liked the news, and Tesla's stock jumped by over 20%, giving the company a market cap of around 7.7 billion dollars (very close to the market value of Italian car maker Fiat). Year-to-date, that's an increase of about 100%. Not bad for a pioneering startup in one of the most difficult and capital-intensive industries! This reminds me of the film Who Killed the Electric Car? in which auto journalists tell the interviewer that Tesla won't make it and Elon Musk is in way over his head...

You can read Musk's letter to shareholders here.

Update: Consumer Reports: Tesla Model S is 'best car we've ever tested' (score: 99/100)

Via Tesla

See also: Tesla hires Aston Martin's chief of vehicle engineering, considers Google's "autopilot"

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