Tesla Now Making, Delivering 500 Model S Electric Cars Weekly

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2013 Tesla Model S

2013 Tesla Model S

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With a backlog of more than 10,000 depositors for the Tesla Model S, its maker is making and delivering electric luxury sedans as fast as it can.

Among other benefits, that may allow Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] to achieve CEO Elon Musk's suggestion that the company could be profitable for the first quarter of this year.

George Blankenship, Tesla's vice president of worldwide sales and ownership experience, said in December that the company had reached its target production rate of 400 cars a week.

And that 400-cars-per-week production rate was backed up in January by Jerome Guillen, director of Model S programs.

Now, in the company's latest blog post, Blankenship says that rate has risen.

"During the past three weeks we have averaged more than 500 Model S deliveries per week, and it looks like we’ll be setting another record this week."

And that number is backed up, more or less, by a little-noticed article in the Westfield Republican, an upstate New York newspaper that covers the region where Jamestown Plastics is located.

That's the company that makes liners for the Model S front trunk--which Tesla insists on calling a "frunk"--and ships them to Tesla's Silicon Valley assembly plant in Fremont, California.

About "500 a week are fabricated at the Jamestown Plastics, Inc., operation in Brocton," says the article.

Taken together, it sounds like Tesla Motors is now cranking out its first high-volume electric car at a rate of 2,000 per month or better.

Which should make its investors--and depositors--happy.


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Comments (29)
  1. So maybe I've missed it in previous articles, but has Tesla ever reported the rate at which they are getting new reservations? Looks like the current 10,000 will be fulfilled in the late summer/early fall, but what then? Hate to see all this ramp up and then a crash in sales.

  2. This is what the shorts on the stock forums say. What then? Hmm. More reservations? There were no reservations for the volt. Yet they sold tens of thousands of them. They haven't even shipped to Europe yet. If you are or support the shorts on this stock, you need to find out which team your on soon.

  3. John, to clarify one point, actually the Volt has sold in Europe already; as of January, according to GCR, there had been 111 sales in Europe of the Volt. But keep in mind that the Volt for Europe is generally the Opel Ampera and Vauxhall Ampera. Again, as of January, there had been 5,293 sales in Europe of these two. There are no plans to sell the Volt itself in Europe, at least of which I am aware.

  4. @Robok2: Actually, the Volt is sold in Europe as a Chevy, although as you note the vast majority of sales are as the Opel/Vauxhall Ampera. Part of the problem is that in Europe, the Chevrolet brand is largely used on Korean-built small cars with a cheap image (ex-Daewoo) so the brand image doesn't match the reality of a pricey plug-in car with advanced technology. Also European corporate buyers (a huge swath of the market) prefer European brands, which Chevy clearly isn't. But, the Volt IS officially offered in many European countries. It's just not selling much as a Chevy. Hope this clarifies the matter.

  5. What an idiotic line of thinking...10K waiting depositers n then suddenly zero within six months. Idiotic! For the car of the year no less!

    Obviously the number of waiting depositers is never static and is a rolling number always fluctuating based on how many S models Tesla is producing for those depositers as well as how many new depositers are placed at the back of the depositer line. This car will likely have at least a 10K depositer waiting list through this year n possibly next as well. Just supplying the pent up demand in the new markets of Europe, other ares of the world, plus the new states getting showrooms in the US will keep Tesla plenty busy.

  6. How many people can afford an $75,000+ car? Only the top 1-2% in this country. And many of them would never buy an electric car. So how many are left? I am not in the top 1-2%, but probably in the top 5% and no way would I spend $75,000+ on a car. Escepcially when there will be cheaper all electric cars in 18 months or so.

  7. At that point, Tesla can focus its energy on Model X and the upcoming blue star sedan...

    The 40KWh model is only $65k after $10K incentives in California.

    If you see how many Audi, BMW and Mercedez in the Bay Area, you will understand why Tesla has no problem of selling it here. People want to show off their Tesla S here in the heart of Sillicon Valley.

    I believe as a niche limited Luxury car, it will do well in oversea market as well.

  8. "Escepcially when there will be cheaper all electric cars in 18 months or so. "

    Cheaper? Yes. Better? I don't believe so.

  9. Mike have you seen the reviews? One's that it beats cars costing 2-5x's as much?

    The Model S is going to put a large dent into the sport/Luxury Sedan market by beating them in every way people normally use them for.

    And if one keeps it for 10 yrs it's likely to save enough gasoline costs to pay for it. Can't say that about any of the other ones can you?

    If one sells early it'll get a premium on resale because by then, a few yrs, gasoline will be $7-8/gal so the not only high tech Car of the Yr likely the best car in the world at the moment, shows how to do class on not much over time.

  10. The Bellevue service center where I picked up my Model S at was 2 blocks from the big Mercedes, Audi, Porsche and Jaguar dealerships in Bellevue. Any of those luxury dealerships would give their right arm to be delivering 7-8 80K cars a day and have a backorder of 10,000 on top of that. I really love my Model S, it is completely ruined me from driving and appreciating any other car, including or Leaf (which I thought was awesome before...)

  11. I cannot agree more, I run a Jaguar XF - a brilliant car and delivers 45 miles per UK Gallon - but compared to this very similar looking Tesla S - it's a dinosaur. I am very happy to get another XF but I have to say the Tesla is now my number one consideration.

  12. Been watching Tesla from the start and I for one are ready to make my reservation and order. My next car will be a Tesla S or X. Waiting now for the right time as I'm sure there are many others out there thinking the same thing. VERY tired of but in gas and high costs of repair for that gas engine, just yesterday I had my oil changed for $65. We need to buy a vehicle which will pay for itself as does a full electric car.

    Signed future Tesla owner and supporter of saving energy.

  13. Jack, put your $5k down and go for a test drive. The Model S makes all other cars looks obsolete. Depending on your configuration you pick, you could get your car in as little as 3 months. The following options will extend that to 6-9 months: 40KWH battery, Standard Suspension (not air), and multi-coat red.

  14. The only car available right now is over $100,000. If people have that kind of money to buy a car with they need to pay higher taxes.

  15. Your statement is factually incorrect. There is a Model S in my driveway for which I paid more than I initially intended, but tens of thousands less than $100K. Some of those options were just more than I could resist. In the event you are not merely a troll, go to the Tesla website and price it out for yourself.

  16. I guess we're all sorry for being successful and having enough money for a car that you don't think we should be able to afford, but can. I'm actually in favor of having my taxes increased moderately but you don't get to choose who buys what, of course. Have you been complaining until now about Ferrari drivers, for one example?

    I drive a Volt now but expect my next vehicle to be a Tesla or BMW EV, although we'll see what happens over the next year while I decide what to get.

    The lower range version of the Tesla now goes for what, $62K or so? With the tax deduction, closer to roughly $55K, so as Norm stated, you're way off on the math/cost, too.

    And have you never heard of the LEAF while claiming all EVs cost more than $100K?

  17. I follow Automotive News which reports weekly on next week's planned production. They have never shown more than about 400 or so planned for any week. Last week 3/11 thru 3/18 was planned to be 408 with 4190 built since 1/1/13. What Blankenship said was deliveries for last 3 weeks. Apparently there have been some supplier issues and some cars were not shipped or were shipped without parts?
    Also Tesla never said they would have a profitable quarter only that they would be cash-flow positive. I am looking for a lot of excuses for a poor 1st Qtr showing which based on last year's reports says that R&D and Sales/Mrktg are spending equal to the costs of goods sold. That is not sustainable. There are quality issues creeping into Owner's blog

  18. Where ever you go, whatever you do, I will be right there following you, in my Tesla Model S Richard Marks... If you would bother to properly lurk the forums you would see that those "parts" are accessories like carbon fiber spoilers, high power wall connectors (not needed but charges twice as fast as the Mobile Connector that comes with the car) and external badging for the battery size. If you would bother to look at the delivery threads you can see that the deliveries and VIN issuances show at least a 450-475 per week since the first of February. The local Tesla service center here is packed with cars, they had 30+ being prepped there when I picked up mine. They were delivering 7-8 per day from that once service center alone.

  19. Matt, just thank you. Iused to be one of the people responding to Richard's comments, but I eventually tired since he's never responded to a comment since I started coming to GCR 2-3 years ago.

    Good points, of course, and other good ones below, too, but we're talking about someone who lives to attack Tesla. Does Tesla face some problems as a new OEM? Of course, but his comments are often beyond rational, IMHO.

  20. Richard; Thank you for letting me know that the S is not a perfect car! so what would you suggest? oic, there are no perfect cars?

    actually something that would be great to know is how many S's need to be produced monthly to break even?

  21. It's not the rate of production that stops them being profitable, it is the labour cost of getting each car right. That will change with time (if it hasn't already).

  22. I strongly suspect that total, overall profitability will not come only with the Model S. Too many long term costs adding stores, sales support outside the U.S., etc... If cash flow is sufficient, then losing money while expanding can be justified. Of course, it all depends on the details.

    I don't see Tesla as profitable the next year or two, but spending what's necessary and feasible to grow the company as needed. That's even more important than short-term profitability in my opinion. If Tesla is profitable earlier, then great, of course.

  23. The next 6 months will be interesting; especially their backlog rate and of course any quality issues, etc.. However from driving a hybrid over a few years it's hard to go back to a pure gas engine, and particularly after picking up my Leaf a few weeks ago. I'm paying a fixed 7 cents/kWh, which comes out to 6x cheaper than buying gas @ $4/gal. Going back to gas is like buying a diesel car from the 70s. Gas technology has become "old school IMO. Looking forward to the model X

  24. At 7 cents per kWh your savings should be much higher. My C-Max Energi costs me just 24 cents to charge up. How long does your Leaf take to charge up on 120 volts?

  25. Welcome to the plugin world. Apparently you are fairly new to this.

    Leaf has a 24KWh battery and Your Energi model is only about 7KWh. Typically, you only get about 3.3-3.8 miles per KWh. Your Energi model is no different.

    @3.5miles per KWh and $0.07/KWh, that is $0.02/miles. 6x of that is $0.12/mile and @ $4/gallon, that is equal to a MPG of 33.3mpg.

    Your electrical rate is FAR lower than average. $0.24 to fill up 5.5KWh is about $0.04/KWh (NOT including charging loss).

  26. Leaf has 29 kw hours of usable battery storage. 29 x $0.07= $2.03 (assuming 100% charger efficiency)

    That $2 in electricity cost will yield be about 100 miles of range.

  27. @Mark To,

    Where did you get the 29KWh from? Leaf's battery is only 24KWh. Unless you are counting on the total energy draw from the grid. Typically, it is only a 15% loss.

    29KWh per 100 miles is "consumption" rate, not per charge rate...

  28. Whoops, good catch, I'm a little off. I got it from the Leaf's window sticker (upper right hand corner). EPA MPG is 75 miles per full charge, Or 29 kWh per 100 miles. You're right about the 24 kW capacity, however I think the Leaf utilizes around 21 kW maximum. In any case, on a good day I can easily get 100 miles range.

  29. Really? 100 miles out of 21KWh?

    Leaf would allow you to use very close to 100%. 100 miles out of the 21 KWh would be almost a record for Leaf. I assume that is mostly low speed (

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