Archive for the ‘Tesla’ Category

Why almost everyone was wrong about Tesla’s cash flow situation

October 26th, 2018
Why almost everyone was wrong about Tesla’s cash flow situation

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Tesla confounded critics on Wednesday by reporting healthy profits and significantly positive cash flow in the third calendar quarter.

For months—years, actually—critics have warned that cash flow problems threatened the company's survival. Many experts scoffed when CEO Elon Musk claimed back in April that he would deliver positive cash flow—and profits—starting in the third quarter of 2018. Bloomberg ran a splashy feature titled "Tesla Doesn't Burn Fuel, It Burns Cash"—complete with a graphic of Musk throwing dollar bills into a pair of Boring Company flamethrowers.

"They're going to be on the verge of bankruptcy, because they need the capital markets to survive," investor John Thompson told Fox News the same month.

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Posted in cars, Cashflow, Elon Musk, model 3, model s, Tesla | Comments (0)

Tesla pulled the “full self-driving” option—here’s what customers think

October 25th, 2018
Elon Musk speaks in front of a giant Tesla logo.

Enlarge / Tesla CEO Elon Musk. (credit: Yuriko Nakao/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Over the last two years, Tesla has been charging customers $3,000 to $5,000 for an upgrade called "full self-driving."

"All you will need to do is get in and tell your car where to go," Tesla's order page said. "Your Tesla will figure out the optimal route, navigate urban streets (even without lane markings), manage complex intersections with traffic lights, stop signs and roundabouts, and handle densely packed freeways with cars moving at high speed."

Last week, Tesla abruptly dropped the option from the order page. It was a tacit admission that the technology was not close to being released. But it's been obvious for months that Tesla has been struggling to deliver on its self-driving promises.

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Posted in cars, Customers, full self-driving, self driving cars, Tesla | Comments (0)

Finally in the black: Tesla has a good quarter

October 25th, 2018
Tesla's new Model 3 car on display is seen on Friday, January 26, 2018, at the Tesla store in Washington, DC.

Enlarge / Tesla's new Model 3 car on display is seen on Friday, January 26, 2018, at the Tesla store in Washington, DC. (credit: Getty Images)

Tesla finally turned a profit, posting net income attributable to shareholders of approximately $311.5 million. The Q3 results come after many quarters of losses, and Tesla shares are up 12 percent in after-hours trading as of this writing.

The company's results are also closely tied to the success of the Tesla Model 3. Tesla struggled to achieve production goals early in the year, but it has largely made the production strides it has promised since Q1. In Q3, Tesla produced 4,300 Model 3 vehicles per week, culminating in a total of 83,500 vehicles throughout the whole quarter, with 56,065 being Model 3s, according to the company's shareholder letter.

The company also disclosed free cash flow of $881 million, dispelling fears that it might struggle to pay the roughly $900 million in debt that's slated to come due for Tesla early next year.

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Posted in Biz & IT, cars, Electric vehicles, financial call, Tesla | Comments (0)

Five solar roof shingles that aren’t from Tesla

October 24th, 2018
view of solar shingles and a beach

Enlarge (credit: CertainTeed)

In November 2016, Tesla CEO Elon Musk gathered a collection of investors, fans, and journalists at the Universal Studios backlot in Los Angeles, California, and revealed his vision of a "solar roof"—that is, tiles with solar cells integrated into them so that they look just like regular roofing tiles, except they produce power.

At the time, SolarCity and Tesla officials said that solar roof installation would begin in summer 2017. Initially, Tesla employees were the only customers, until Tesla reportedly started installing solar roofs for reservation holders in January. Eventually, that seemed to stall, too. Reports indicated that, as of May 31, only 12 solar roof systems had been installed, all in Northern California. In an August shareholder call, Musk said that solar roof installations were finally ramping up, with "several hundred" solar roofs being installed. The company later contacted Ars to clarify that this number included homes that were scheduled for installation, not homes that were actively having a solar roof installed.

Tesla has said that it's taking time to verify the safety of these solar roofs to make sure they'll work for decades rather than a dozen years. In the company's Q2 shareholder letter, Tesla wrote, "We are steadily ramping Solar Roof production in Buffalo and are also continuing to iterate on the product design and production process, learning from our early factory production and field installations. We have deployed Solar Roof on additional homes in Q2 and are gaining valuable feedback from each new installation." The letter added that Tesla plans to ramp up more toward the end of 2018, so if you're on the reservation list, you might get lucky soon.

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Posted in Energy, science, solar roof, solar tiles, Tesla | Comments (0)

Tesla buys 210-acre site for factory in Shanghai

October 17th, 2018
A Tesla charging station in Beijing

Enlarge / A Tesla car is charging at a Tesla electric vehicle charging station in front of Baolong building on July 15, 2018 in Beijing, China. (credit: Photo by VCG / Getty Images)

On Wednesday, Tesla announced that it had purchased a 210-acre site in Shanghai, China, where it will begin building a second battery and auto factory.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Robin Ren, Tesla’s vice president of worldwide sales, attended a signing ceremony in Shanghai today, stating, “Securing this site in Shanghai, Tesla’s first Gigafactory outside of the United States, is an important milestone for what will be our next advanced, sustainably developed manufacturing site."

A Shanghai government website tracking major land purchases in the city detailed a purchase in the eastern Lingang district for about $140 million, which likely reflects Tesla's latest acquisition.

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Posted in cars, Energy, gigafactory, Tesla | Comments (0)

Is a 200-300 mile range enough for Tesla to break into electric trucking?

August 26th, 2017

Enlarge / From the bureau of Transportation Statistics: “Long-haul freight truck traffic in the United States is concentrated on major routes connecting population centers, ports, border crossings, and other major hubs of activity. Except for Route 99 in California and a few toll roads and border connections, most of the heaviest traveled routes are on the Interstate System.” (credit: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration)

On Thursday, Reuters reported that Tesla is building electric semis with ranges of 200-300 miles. Tesla has said it will make all details about the semis public at an announcement in September.

Ars reached out to the company to confirm the report, and a spokesperson responded with a statement saying: “Tesla’s policy is to always decline to comment on speculation, whether true or untrue, as doing so would be silly.”

So if the report is true, would a truck with a range of 200-300 miles be enough to win entry into the freight trucking market? Possibly. A 2013 report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado notes that “trucks dominate the market today for freight shipments under 500 miles, which account for almost 80 percent of all domestic freight tonnage.” Freight that needs to travel 500 miles or more tends to be transported by rail, waterways, or pipeline, at least if you’re counting by tonnage (the Bureau of Transportation Statistics counts oil and gas pipeline deliveries as freight).

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Posted in cars, electric, semis, Tesla, trucks | Comments (0)

Report: Tesla is bleeding talent from its Autopilot division

August 25th, 2017

Enlarge / Tesla CEO Elon Musk. (credit: Yuriko Nakao/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Self-driving cars are coming, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been pushing his engineers hard to make sure that Tesla stays on the cutting edge. Indeed, in October 2016 he promised that the latest version of the Model S and Model X—cars with Tesla’s new “Hardware 2” suite of cameras and radar—would become capable of full self-driving in the future, with just a software update.

But according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, some Tesla engineers are skeptical that Tesla can keep this promise any time soon. Disagreement about deadlines—as well as “design and marketing decisions”—is causing turmoil inside the company.

“In recent months,” the Journal reports, the Autopilot team “has lost at least 10 engineers and four top managers.” That included the director of the Autopilot team, “who lasted less than six months before leaving in June.”

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Posted in autonomous cars, cars, Mobileye, Tesla | Comments (0)

Hyundai looks to build a >300-mile-range electric car

August 17th, 2017

Enlarge / Signage for an electric car charging booth is displayed at Federation Square car park in Melbourne, Australia, on Friday, April 28, 2017. Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg via Getty Images (credit: Bloomberg / Getty Images)

On Thursday, Hyundai said that it intends to produce a long-range electric vehicle by 2021 that will be capable of traveling 310 miles on a charge. That vehicle, a luxury Genesis sedan, will follow an electric version of the Kona sport utility vehicle that the Korean automaker hopes to release in the first half of next year. The electric Kona should have a range of 243 miles, Reuters noted.

Along with affiliate company Kia, Hyundai announced eight electric cars and two fuel-cell vehicles coming to market in the near future—a significant jump in the number of electric vehicles (EVs) that the company has planned to bring to market in years prior. Hyundai, like Toyota, has boosted the fuel cell vehicle for years. Fuel cell vehicles use hydrogen as fuel and emit water as a byproduct. But the compressed hydrogen that runs fuel cell vehicles is hard to store and hard to transport, so it has been slow reaching the market, although fuel cell vehicles do have the advantage of being fast to refuel, unlike electric vehicle batteries.

Toyota has also recently shown signs that it’s pouring more resources into mass-producing a long-range electric car as well. In July, an article in The Wall Street Journal noted that the Japanese automaker was working on building a battery with a solid electrolyte that would go into production in 2022. With Tesla and Chevrolet rolling out moderately priced EVs with long-range capabilities, other automakers known for moderately priced cars seem to be ready to get in the ring as well.

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Reuters: Tesla looking to start testing autonomous semi in “platoon” formation

August 9th, 2017

Enlarge (credit: Yuriko Nakao/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced in April that the company is working on pushing a long-haul electric semi truck to market, which is set to be formally revealed in September. Now, Reuters has viewed e-mail correspondence between Tesla and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles that indicate that the company has discussed testing semi trucks on the state’s roads.

The Reuters report also mentioned that the semis would be outfitted with autonomous functions, so they could traverse the nation’s highways without a driver in the front seat. The e-mails seemed to indicate that Tesla’s semis would “platoon,” that is, drive in a formation such that a number of trucks could follow a lead vehicle. It’s unclear whether the lead vehicle would have a driver, or operate autonomously with a person in the front seat to monitor safety.

The idea of “platooning” autonomous semis is an old one. More than a year ago, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment held an autonomous truck platooning demo that involved automakers such as DAF Trucks, Daimler, IVECO, MAN, Scania, and Volvo. The advantages of platooning is that it’s theoretically safer—if the lead truck slows down, the rest automatically follow. It also offers most of the trucks decreased wind resistance, which could help increase an EV semi’s range—a major concern given the weight freight companies load semis with. Of course, there are social ramifications too. Platooning reduces the number of drivers that a shipping company would have to employ.

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Posted in autonomy, battery, Biz & IT, cars, electric, semi, Tesla | Comments (0)

Tesla lost $401 million from revenues of $2.7 billion in Q2 2017

August 2nd, 2017

Enlarge / The Tesla Model 3. (credit: Tesla)

On Wednesday afternoon, Tesla released its Q2 2017 financial results: a loss of $401 million from total revenues of $2.7 billion over the three months up until June 30th. That’s more or less the same performance as the company reported for Q1 2017, but it does show a 49 percent jump in revenue and 53 percent jump in vehicle deliveries compared to the same period in 2016. Depending upon whether Generally Accepted Accounting Practices (GAAP) were used, the net loss to shareholders was $2.04 per share (GAAP), or $1.33 per share (non-GAAP). It ended the period with $3 billion in cash.

During the quarter, Tesla produced 25,708 Model S and Model X electric vehicles and delivered 22,026 of them to customers. Sales of zero-emissions tax credits brought in another $100 million, and the company’s energy generation and storage activities saw a big increase, bringing in $287 million (compared to $214 million for Q1 2017 and just $3.9 million for Q2 2016). The company’s operating expenses actually decreased compared to Q1 2017, despite spending almost $48 million more on research and development.

In its earnings statement, Tesla revealed that it has been averaging 1,800 Model 3 reservations a day since the handover of the first production cars on July 28th. First deliveries to non-Tesla employees will begin in Q4 this year. Tesla says that production of the Model 3 will be limited by the slowest part of its supply chain and manufacturing process, but the company is confident it can build “just over 1,500 vehicles in Q3.” Output of the new EV is predicted to rise to 5,000 per week by the end of 2017. CEO Elon Musk told an earnings call that “what we have ahead of us is an incredibly difficult production ramp. But I’m very confident we can reach a rate of 10,000 vehicles per week by the end of next year.”

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