Tesla Model S Electric-Car Deliveries For Q1: 4,750-Plus, Says Company

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2013 Tesla Model S

2013 Tesla Model S

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When the news is good, you want to get it out there.

Last night, Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] released a statement saying that it had delivered more than 4,750 Model S cars from January 1 through March 31 of this year.

The statement came before the first quarter of 2013 had even technically ended (California time).

But as Tesla noted, those total deliveries exceeded its prior estimate of 4,500 Model S cars delivered for the quarter.

That means, the company noted, that it will amend its Q1 financial guidance from achieving an operating profit to full profitability (including capital expenses and other costs).

In a statement posted on its blog, CEO Elon Musk said he was "incredibly proud of the Tesla team for their outstanding work."

Musk also thanked the company's customers for their "passionate support" of both the Model S cars they had purchased and of Tesla itself.

"Without them," Musk noted, accurately, "we would not be here."

40-kWh Model S canceled

The announcement also included some revisions to the plans for the 2013 Tesla Model S lineup.

The last and smallest battery-pack option to go into production, the 40-kilowatt-hour version, will not be offered after all, "due to lack of demand."

Tesla noted that just 4 percent of its Model S deposits were for the lowest-range version, which didn't justify producing it.

Customers who put down a deposit on the 40-kWh model will instead receive a 60-kWh Model S--but, Tesla said, "range will be software-limited to 40 kWh."

That means, we presume, that range will be roughly two-thirds of the 208-mile EPA rating for the Model S 60-kWh version.

Those cars will not only have a higher top speed and better acceleration than the 40-kWh model would have, Tesla said, but can also be upgraded back into a regular 60-kWh car at some future point by any owner.

The company did not specify the cost of such an upgrade.

Supercharger hardware standard

Finally, the company said that all 60-kWh Model S cars have been built with the Supercharger quick-charge hardware as standard.

'Revenge of the Electric Car' premiere: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk on red carpet

'Revenge of the Electric Car' premiere: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk on red carpet

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That was to have been an extra-cost option, but Tesla--calling it an "Easter egg" to celebrate yesterday's Christian holiday--said the quick-charging equipment will continue to be standard on all Model S versions.

That will, the company suggests, improve those cars' resale value even if their drivers never use the Supercharger network of Tesla-only quick-charging locations.

That network now includes eight locations in California and the Northeast Corridor, but is expected to add more stations in the Northeast and expand into Florida, Texas, and the Pacific Northwest in the near future.

Tesla communications manager Shanna Hendriks took pains to point out that last night's sales announcement was not the "really exciting" news about which CEO Elon Musk tweeted last Monday.

That news, in which Musk will "put [his] money where [his] mouth is in [a very] major way," was intended for last Thursday but later postponed until tomorrow.


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Comments (20)
  1. Interesting. They have the top selling large luxury sedan in America, and they are profitable. I suppose we can expect them to declare bankruptcy any day now, just like Solyndra..

  2. LOL! I think there is a lot of frustrated and resentful analysts out there figuring out how to rhyme the numbers Tesla is showing with their mantra that Tesla's chances of survival are slim to nil.

  3. ....and for all those into shorting Tesla stock based on the opinions of those analysts: Tesla stock is up $6 today! Must be that "tsunami of hurt" Elon Musk predicted for those betting against him.

  4. I really like the way that they are addressing the 40KWH version of the car. Sure they take a bit of a hit on margin, but it's better than just cancelling orders.

  5. I hope Tesla offers a little bit more than 40kW as now their customer's are carrying around 20 kWs of "dead weight" which will impact their range versus that of a lighter 40 kW battery pack. However I do give them kudos for not restricting performance.

  6. I guess the "little bit more" is being able to upgrade to a 60kWh from a 40 kWh with a software update, the increased acceleration, top speed and resale value, not to mention supercharging access ...

  7. The range restriction bit sounds rather absurd. Sounds like an April's fool thing. Hopefully the rest of the article isn't...

  8. I was wondering this too. The weight limits the range and so do they use more than 40Kwh of the battery to compensate?

    Which part of the state of charge window is used? If they use the lower part then the cars will always charge quicker than the others when using the superchargers. If they use the upper(ish) part the pack will last longer and have a higher voltage (more power), but charge slower.

    I assume then that they will be using the middle of the pack? ...Or not?

    Does it mean there is now no "range mode" charging?

    What happens when you run out of your 40kwhrs. The car goes into limp mode? For how long? Is it a software limited limp mode, but with 20kwhrs left in the pack?

    John? :-) (Good fodder for the next article)

  9. The other issue is that the battery now lasts longer so does this change the warranty in any way?

  10. There is a reason Tesla is so successful: there is real vision behind their approach and the market is picking up on that.

    Tesla's vision is to offer no compromise long range EVs and cancelling the 40KWH version and making the fastcharge option standard fits that vision.

    I think the notion of free(!) long distance travel is a very important unique selling point for the Model S so making the fast charge option standard can only contribute to Tesla's success.

  11. John - As I read the press release, the 60kWh will come with the Supercharger hardware installed at no additional cost, but when they say "Tesla is taking a slight cost risk that ultimately all customers will want to buy the Supercharger upgrade", it leads me to believe it will still cost $2000 to activate the capability.

  12. You are correct and the article as written is not. Everyone gets the hardware needed on board. But the software + Supercharger access is still a $2000 add-on for 60 kw/hour owners. It's just possible to activate anytime now since the needed hardware is always on board.

    Originally, that would have required a retrofit and that might / might not have been doable.

  13. The software limited to 40 kw is rather strange on multiple levels. April 1st?

    But if they did the battery life would increase a lot to whatever the calendar/shelf life is which too is an unknown.

    That said, Way to Go Tesla!!

    Make those arrogant analysts eat their pi-- poor predictions based on nothing as Tesla has met every goal at least 2x's faster than any car company has in 50 yrs.

    And thanks for doing EV's right.

    And please sell me some battery modules for my new EV Streamliner for production.

  14. I hope dropping the 40Kwh version is an April Fool's joke. This means that after the pre-orders are filled with hobbled 60Kwh versions, the Model S will cost $10K more than expected. Carrying around the extra weight is very inefficient and the opposite of what a green focused car is supposed to be. No 40Kwh model makes for a higher barrier to entry for EV's. Luckily the Nissan Leaf is going down in price, not up.

  15. "Very inefficient" is a relative term when considering the difference is probably going from 100mpge to 95mpge. Tesla never made a promise about anything but range and available power.

    If the car is capable of 160 miles of range at 55mph on level ground then they are providing what they promised, and with a far more durable battery in addition to the other benefits. Claiming 40kwh buyers are getting screwed is absurd.

  16. If the base Tesla is now $10K more than promised once the 40Kwh preorders are filled, THAT's absurd. The Model S will just be a niche within a niche. If they sell the hobbled 60Kwh model for the 40Kwh price for orders taken from today forward for the original 40Kwh price, then great(except for the extra weight).

  17. As of 5pm California time, Tesla still listed 40KWh version on its webstie...

  18. Yes, but presumably that's an odd oversight. Under the most optimistic scenario, the marginal cost of the battery differential is about $4000. There is no way they will keep allowing people to order something that costs them so much more to build in the hopes they might someday activate the extra battery for more money.

    I expect the options page to change very soon.

  19. I wonder how that extra 20KWh battery portion is managed by SW.

    Do they rotate through the sections of cells? If they do that, that 40KWh can last much longer than the standard 40KWh version...

  20. I think you got it wrong with SC... supercharger hardware is included in all cars, but you have to activate it in 60kWh cars for a fee.

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