2012 Tesla Model S Update: 100 Built, 74 For Delivery

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2012 Tesla Model S

2012 Tesla Model S

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Tesla Motors may have been initially cagey about its production figures while the first few cars were being delivered, but as production gathers pace the company is revealing more details on Model S deliveries.

In one of his regular Inside Tesla features on the Tesla Blog, Tesla vice president of sales and ownership George Blankenship confirms production and delivery numbers, two months on from the first car reaching its owner.

Blankenship says that the 100th production Model S has now left the line, of which 74 are for delivery to the first reservation holders.

The other vehicles are being used for test drives--such as on Tesla's 'Get Amped' tour--as well as in-store displays, engineering tests and service team training.

He also confirms that Tesla is still on course to increase production over the coming weeks, to meet the target of 5,000 vehicles by the end of the year.

And as CEO Elon Musk confirmed less than a week ago, this period is critical for the future success of Tesla--cars leaving the line really must be perfect.

While cars are trickling out of the factory, Blankenship also makes time to comment on the Model S's impressive figures during Edmunds track testing, as well as the continuing Get Amped tour, where more than 5,000 people have got behind the wheel of a Model S, racking up over 38,000 miles.

We look forward to hearing more production numbers from Tesla--and seeing if they can meet that 5,000 car target by the end of this year.


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Comments (19)
  1. Tesla needs to turn that trickle into a stream soon. I am glad that they are taking measures to ensure quality control but if they are going to build 5000 of them by the end of this year they have to step up production big time. Also Tesla could lose some of its deposit holder’s money due to cancellations or refunds of the deposit if they do not give buyers solid dates as to when they can expect there Model S.

  2. Although it sounds harsh, 100 units since the June commencement of "founder" model builds proves nothing; that it is slow because of "quality improvement" is embarassing.

    Before a "dinosaur" car is EVER considered for delivery to customers, it is built as a design validation model (N. American nomenclature) with production processes, though using soft tooling in some ares. Every single process and supplier issue is driven to earth. The "Pilot" build that follows is done at or very near planned production pace. At this point there should be ZERO design or tooling issues; only minor process items remain. The line is then ready to produce at "rate".

    What Tesla is doing is costly, amateurish and risky. They are not likely to hit 500 in Q3.

  3. "They are not likely to hit 500 in Q3." Clayton Jackson, if that matters what is the conclusion based upon? And why does it matter?

    Even if they don't reach the 80 per day target until late October, there will be enough time to make up for the slow ramp. And if they miss that, there is always January.

    And yes there is a risk, but the founders series serves as a captive test fleet for their validation process. They don't have the capital to build a "dinosaur" car, why would you expect them to follow that process verbatim?

  4. It's not likely because there is no indication they are converging on the cycle time that must be reached by the end of November, about 6 minutes. The line is depending on "quality through inspection and correction", and shows no path out of it.

    Why does it matter? Not making 500 in Q3 means hitting 5000 by EoY gets harder and harder, meaning in turn that the turn to profitability gets longer and longer.

    800 people work in the factory, and with essentially zero other product passing through, all of their costs must be absorbed by the S. Already the company admits negative gross margins in Q3, and this will continue longer as production rates lag.

    Without a riase very soon (by public offering or private), they are in perilous straits.

  5. The good news is that there is demand for the Model S. In Australia, demand for the Ford Falcon is dropping that they are reducing production. The Falcon is around the same size as the Tesla Model S, except the Model S is better built with more luxury features. Also, the Model S is better styled than the Falcon.

  6. The best thing about this particular bit of doom-saying will be watching it turn out wrong. I mean guessing they miss their target by 10x? At least leave some wiggle room ...

    I just drove a very early production car at the Get Amped event in Austin and I was more then satisfied with the fit and finish, let alone the amazing driving dynamics.

    I assure you the sky is not falling and a slightly slower ramp up in the 'S' build rate curve will not mean a 10x fall off in cars this year.

  7. By all means: bookmark the post; I will, too. On Dec 31st let's revisit, yes?

    I'm certain the sky isn't falling, too. Just the cash and cash equivalents and the depth of losses.

  8. By year end, I predict 2000 delivered to customers. That's not a lot but is possible if they fix this whole last-minute tooling thing. 2000 delivered is well short of promises and could spell a $22 stock price.

  9. BTW, I neglected the part about "guessing they miss their target by 10x". Thier Q3 target IS 500. You're thinking of the 2012 year-end goal of 5000.

  10. Yep I misread the 500 cars part.

  11. I really don't care about some sideline pundit's theory about Tesla's chances to ramp up production on schedule. it's Tesla that provided these numbers and they still insist that 5000 before year's end is doable and they are really the only ones in a position to make that judgement.
    Let's give them a chance...

  12. In its history, Tesla has provided projections of 25-30 Roadster shipments/week in 2010, Model S delivery in Fall of '11, an imminent "$1B deal" with Toyota (Q2 '11 earnings call), batteries swappable in five minutes, Model X production beginning in 2013... etc. So their insistence of what is doable is what you want to make of it.

    As for giving them a chance, unless one of us is going to pony up a sufficient cash infusion (~$50M per month until incremental cash flow turns or a successful raise occurs), our cheering (or lack of it) to "give them a chance" is largely moot.

    Comments are a huge bin for the opinions of bored web surfers, accessible to the public at no charge. The impact of our remarks (yours and mine) has commensurate value.

  13. You're right, most comments have very little value especially if they are inaccurate and nonsensical, like suggesting that Tesla is in need of cash at this point where it really is well financed until sales start to affect the cashflow.

    The Roadster suffered from lack of demand, Model S doesn't. I think the battery is swappable in 5 minutes, but who cares battery swapping is not the future. Tesla is doing the drivetrain for the Toyota RAV4 EV, Model X production is scheduled for 2013; first deliveries in 2014, we'll see what happens. Give them a chance and don't bother commenting if you have to grasp at straws to make your case.

  14. Chris, calm down; read the 10Q. All but $1.4M of DoE Loan funds are drawn down. $233M raise dwindling.

    Q3 GM is negative. There is a $100M+ bill for R&D and SG&A on top of op losses, plus inventory build. These aren't my numbers. The 10Q is signed by Musk. Even if TSLA achieve major cost reduction (10Q says they won't turn profit before '13), the 1st 1200 S billings are price MINUS $40k, which by then is already spent. All this = negative cash through Dec.

    As for Roadster production and battery swap issues: remember that I'm only pointing out prior silly Tesla assertions. I agree w/you, they were dumb.

    BTW, 10Q p23: "We currently plan to start deliveries of Model X in 2014".

    Straw grasping: not my style.
    Reading SEC docs: priceless

  15. This latest report does suggest that Tesla is up to about 3 cars per day from the one/day of the first level of their production roll-out. While I would like to see them moving along faster, it does appear that they are going better, so I am still optimistic/hopeful that we might soon see output exceed 20+ cars a day and then....that next jump would look nearly certain. A little more patience seems in order.

  16. George, our "patience" has no relevance. If you mean that people should emotionally support the company, OK. I guess I do. It's a neat idea.

    But money matters. A lot. I don't think their current situation (liquidity, cash burn, mfg method and progress) is survivable without a big capital raise. Musk could do this all by himself (maybe $100M or more) immediately. He's chosen not to.

    It's a public company operating under GAAP rules. You can look inside their numbers if you want. It's not pretty.

    Cool cars, vision, etc.: great, but don't hose shareholders, creditors, and the DoE by dropping the ball. Run out of $ and the ball is dropped.

    It may seem unfair, but excepting "savior" private placements, "patience" doesn't matter. Just money.

  17. If it keeps them from Fiskeresque recalls, I'd be satisfied with them being a few months late on their projections, or more. Getting it right, the first time out, is a great way to shut up critics.

  18. Even if they don't pick up much pace they'll be ahead of Nissan very soon...

  19. Weren't negative comments like the above also made when the first mass produced cars of all time, the Model T Fords were being made?

    That idea was even less optimistically received, initially.

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