Tesla Earns 'Modest' Q2 Profit, Delivers 5,150 Cars, Boosts Margin On Carmaking

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Tesla owners & supporters gather in Statehouse in Austin to support company [photo: John Griswell]

Tesla owners & supporters gather in Statehouse in Austin to support company [photo: John Griswell]

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Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] slightly increased its profit in the second quarter, and delivered more Model S electric cars than last quarter.

The company released its Q2 financial results this afternoon, with net income of $26 million compared to $15 million for Q1.

The company said it delivered 5,150 Model S vehicles from April through June, an increase over the 4,900 sold in January through March--and a much higher number than the 4,500 it had projected three months ago.

13,000 Model Ses

That brings the total number of Model S cars on the road to more than 13,000; together they have covered roughly 60 million miles.

That number makes the Tesla Model S the fourth most popular plug-in vehicle on U.S. roads, after the Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf, and Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid--all of which have been on the market longer.

The company said demand for the Model S in California remained strong, but demand outside the state grew at twice the California rate--meaning it is able to expand sales across a broader geographical base.

More than 30 percent of the vehicles delivered in Q2 were financed, using the company's announced and then modified lease-like financing scheme.

500 cars a week

Model S production is now running at "almost 500 vehicles per week," the company said, notably higher than its original plan for about 400 a week through 2013.

That rate allowed Tesla to build "several hundred" additional cars for use as customer test cars and service loan vehicles domestically, as well as the start of European deliveries.

And, in fact, the company delivered its first Model S in Europe just today, in Oslo, Norway.

First 2013 Tesla Model S delivered in Europe (Photo: @TeslaMotors on Twitter)

First 2013 Tesla Model S delivered in Europe (Photo: @TeslaMotors on Twitter)

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Tesla said it expects to deliver close to 800 vehicles in Norway alone by the end of the year, and that orders from European customers have risen every month since February.

And it projected that if orders from Asia--where it will expand after establishing itself in Europe--match those from North America and Europe, the company could be building as many as 40,000 Model S cars a year within 18 months.

Tesla now has 30 Tesla Stores in North America, along with eight in Europe and three in Asia, and it will open a few more stores this year, including its first in China.

However, the company says it will focus more on opening additional service centers, since in regions where it is established, it can sell additional cars from existing stores if more service centers are provided.

Supercharger expansion

The company has more than doubled the number of Supercharger locations since the beginning of the year, with more to come--including its first installations of the free quick-charging stations in Europe.

Tesla noted that new Supercharger corridors include Portland to Vancouver, St. Louis to Chicago, and several other city pairs in the Northeast, Florida, and California.

It will also increase the number of charging stations, adding the ability to quick-charge as many as 10 cars simultaneously at popular Supercharger locations--likely those in on the heavily-traveled San Francisco to Los Angeles route.

Gross margin up

Tesla said its gross margin improved from 17 percent in the first quarter to 22 percent last quarter, and its automotive gross margin (excluding revenue from the sale of zero-emission vehicle credits) rose 8 percentage points.

The numbers cited are not calculated according to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), largely because those principles, the company says, don't correspond to its cashflow as a growing automaker. 

Nonetheless, Tesla said it would also start reporting its financial results in accordance with GAAP--a standard measure for publicly traded companies.

CEO Elon Musk will preside over a call for financial analysts and media beginning at 5:30 pm Eastern today; we will update this article accordingly with any further information.

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