Posted on August 06, 2015 by Matt Pressman
Yesterday, Tesla announced their second quarter earnings. As always, we provide you with all the key highlights. Some milestones were achieved: there were record quarterly deliveries of 11,532 vehicles. And, Tesla actually produced a record 12,807 Model S vehicles, exceeding their plan. This also represents a 15% sequential increase in production and a 46% increase from a year ago. In addition, in the U.S., Q2 Model S orders grew almost 30% year-over-year. In Europe, Q2 Model S orders grew more than 50% year-over-year. And, in Asia, Q2 Model S orders nearly doubled from last quarter.
Above: Could Tesla be eyeing Uber's business model? More below...
Tesla is targeting release for autopilot (auto-steer/auto-park in particular) on August 15th, and, they plan to go to a wide release in 1-2 months after that. Also, Tesla announced that they now has 487 Supercharger stations globally and they've recently accelerated the pace of deployments such that one new Supercharger station is opening nearly every 24 hours. And, check out this video Tesla posted today on Twitter showing a prototype of a robotic charging arm...
Source (Twitter): Tesla Motors
A key call-out from the Shareholder's Letter* was worth noting, "In the coming months we are growing from a single product to a multi-product company. This is a milestone in the maturation of Tesla." So, let's get to the Model X news: deliveries are still expected to start late 3Q. Furthermore, Model X should go live on the website before the end of this month. Musk explained that Tesla has already produced Model X’s on their factory production line, and, keep building more X’s off the line with greater and greater production maturity. The biggest production challenge seems to be the second row seat as it’s a “sculptural work of art.” However, the Model X falcon wing doors are not quite as challenging as previously thought. He explained that, "Model X is probably the hardest car in the world to build." This could mean that there could be some automotive breakthroughs with the introduction of the Model X, so we're definitely excited to see the Model X soon. As an example of the possible breakthroughs coming, we're already seeing hints that the Model X may have remarkable towing capacity (see below).
The Shareholder's Letter also pointed out that Tesla is now "targeting deliveries of between 50,000 and 55,000 Model S and Model X cars in 2015... simply put, in a choice between a great product or hitting quarterly numbers, we will take the former. To build long-term value, our first priority always has been, and still is, to deliver great cars." Although Tesla's year-end numbers have been slightly dialed back in order to leave some cushion for possible production hiccups (especially in the early Model X production ramp), in the long term, Musk stated that he remains confident with 500,000 Teslas (worldwide) by 2020. And, he also noted that Tesla may be localizing production in 3-5 years with factories in Asia, Europe and others in North America in order to push beyond 500,000 vehicles.
The Tesla Gigafactory plans are on track to accommodate for the upcoming Model 3. Model 3 is due late 2017 but the design should be revealed in the first quarter of 2016. When asked about other car companies working on their future electric vehicles, Musk responded, "“I would be super-happy to see the whole industry go electric."
Source (Twitter): easycharge.me; Note: this is a third party concept art/design, not a design revealed by Tesla Motors
Musk also reported over 100,000 Teslas Energy Powerwall and Powerpack battery reservations, worth a cool $1 Billion. In fact, Tesla Energy batteries are sold out through 2016. And, in Q4 alone, $40-50M is booked for Tesla Energy and Musk predicts 10x that number next year (2016) and that growth rate should keep going — maybe 5 to 10x in 2017 -- Musk said that interest in Tesla Energy is at a pretty “nutty” level. Musk also predicted Tesla Energy sales of "at least a few billion dollars" in 2017.
“It seems like people link this too much to renewable energy,” Musk said. “Of course we are great believers in renewable energy, but that is not the gating function for stationary storage.” Musk explained that stationary storage actually allows utilities to completely shut down power plants or defer new ones. “You can basically, in principle, shut down half of the world’s power plants if you had stationary storage,” Musk said.
“Grid parity is the wrong analogy here,” Tesla CTO J.B. Straubel said, “but it’s something to think about.” Grid parity is the point at which the cost of alternative energy is equal to or less than the price of electricity from the grid. For a utility-scale battery, grid parity could arrive when the capital cost incurred by the utility is offset by the savings it enables. “At grid parity the market is staggeringly gigantic,” Musk said—in the multi-terawatt hour range.
Source: Tesla Motors
A Surprise: Tesla = Uber?
Could Tesla be looking to move into Uber's space? Check out this surprising line of questioning during the earnings conference call...
Adam Jonas, Morgan Stanley: Hey, Elon, Deepak. First question. Steve Jurvetson [Tesla Motors Board Member] was recently quoted saying that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick told him that if, by 2020, Tesla's cars are autonomous, that he'd want to buy all of them. Is this a real -- I mean, forget like the 2020 for a moment -- but is this a real business opportunity for Tesla, supplying cars to ridesharing firms, or does Tesla just cut out the middleman and sell on-demand electric mobility services directly from the company on its own platform?
Musk: That's an insightful question.
Jonas: You don't have to answer it.
Musk: I think -- I don't think I should answer it.
Jonas: Okay. Let's move on. Second question is, there's been -- sometimes you can tell more from the non-answer than from the answer.
As always, it's possible that Tesla is thinking a few steps ahead of everyone here... but, this was definitely a surprise "non-answer" from Elon Musk. We look forward to hearing more on this front in the coming weeks/months ahead.