2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011
Tesla Motors released its 2011 financial results today and held a conference call this evening for financial analysts to question officials.
A number of interesting items emerged, largely from CEO Elon Musk.
Perhaps the most significant is Musk's claim that Tesla won't need to raise any more capital.
"Tesla does not need to ever raise another funding round," he said in response to a question on the company's cash position, liquidity, and rate of cash burn.
"We may want to do so, but we are in a strong cash position, and we don't need to."
Musk also said the relationship between the U.S. Department of Energy and Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] is "very good."
Although he didn't say so, that contrasts with the situation at Fisker Automotive, where the DoE has suspended further loan payouts after Fisker failed to meet deadlines and other terms it agreed to when granted $529 million of low-interest loans under the advanced technology vehicle manufacturing program.
'Revenge of the Electric Car' premiere: Elon Musk arrives in a Tesla RoadsterEnlarge Photo
Tesla was granted $465 million of loans under the same program, but thus far, it has apparently met its deadlines.
Other items from the Tesla Q+A call:
We also note, with amusement, that Musk said Tesla does not intend to provide Model S drives to journalists until after it delivers its first cars to customers.
"We want the car to be as close to perfect as possible before we give it to any automotive journalists," he said.
As for capital requirements, Musk noted that if the company accelerated development of the third-generation car--which would likely begin in earnest next year--"that could be an argument for a modest capital raise."
Which sounds like a graceful get-out-of-jail-free card if Tesla's finances don't proceed along the lines the company has projected.