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Tesla posts $154M GAAP loss, $45M non-GAAP loss in Q1 on record deliveries; confident in 55K total deliveries this year

In its Q1 2015 financial report, Tesla Motors said it produced 11,160 vehicles in Q1 (10% better than guidance, at an average of 1,000 cars per production week); delivered 10,045 (worldwide), a quarterly record; and posted a $154-million GAAP net loss (non-GAAP net loss of $45 million). The Q1 GAAP net loss was 43% greater than the Q4 2014 GAAP net loss and 210% greater than GAAP net loss in Q1 2014.

Tesla has begun breaking out the revenues and costs of its automotive business from its other activities—i.e., powertrain sales, service revenue, Tesla Energy (the new line of stationary energy storage systems) and pre-owned Tesla vehicle sales. Automotive revenue and related costs reflect activities related to the sale or lease of new vehicles including regulatory (e.g., ZEV) credits, data connectivity and Supercharging.

  • For Q1 2015, GAAP automotive revenue rose to $893.320 million, up 52% from Q1 2014 and up 0.3% from Q4 2014. Q1 Automotive revenue included $66 million of total regulatory credit revenue, of which $51 million came from the sale of ZEV credits. In Q1, Tesla directly leased 592 cars to customers, which was worth $63 million of aggregate retail value.

  • For Q1 2015, GAAP automotive cost of revenue rose 44.8% from Q1 2014, and dropped 0.8% from Q4 2014.

  • Q1 automotive gross margin—excluding ZEV credits—was on plan at 26.0% on a non-GAAP basis, and 25.0% on a GAAP basis.

The average selling price of Model S increased slightly during the quarter, reflecting a full quarter of sales of P85D and the introduction of 85D. This mix improvement was partially offset by the effect of the strong dollar, which negatively impacted the average selling price and thus revenue by slightly more than 3% from the prior quarter.

Q1 “Services and other revenue”—i.e., non-automotive—was $46.6 million, up 47% from a year ago. This includes $22 million of powertrain sales to Daimler and $20 million of service revenue. Q1 Services and other gross margin was negative 3.2%, as compared to 12.1% last quarter. This reduction in gross margin was primarily driven by a planned price reduction for powertrain sales to Daimler.

Tesla management said it was confident in delivering approximately 55,000 Model S and Model X vehicles combined in 2015. Tesla said Model X is on track for start of deliveries in late Q3.

Production. Referencing its manufacturing over-performance, Tesla management noted the increase in production on the new small drive unit line, which was critical to meeting the demand for the new all-wheel drive cars. Tesla said that the production launches of 85D and 70D proceeded more smoothly than prior launches.

The company said it made significant progress on the installation of a new body shop, paint shop and stamping presses that will establish extra capacity for both Model X and Model S. (The Detroit News reported that Tesla will acquire Michigan-based Riviera Tool, a company which makes stamping tooling shipped to Tesla’s Fremont plant.)

In addition, Tesla said its expects to start complete battery manufacturing at the Gigafactory, from cells to modules to battery packs, in 2016.


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I can highly recommend reading Tesla's shareholders letter at

Some of the interesting information is that they announce the price of their 100kWh industial power packs (the one that is is not wallmountable and is a 1000 kg rackcabinet that stands on a concreate floor. This system cost only 250USD/kwh and includes controls, cooling and DC/DC power electronics. That is insanely inexpensive. Also Tesla say they will start deliveries of these systems in both the US, Europe and Australia in Q4, 2015. I did not expect to see these systems outside Califormia and Hawaii until late 2016. Tesla also say that it is far more easy to expand sales of these systems than it is with Tesla's vehicles that require dealers, service centers and fastcharger infrastructure. So global rampup will be faster than for the Model S.

The 250 USD /kwh that Tesla charges for these systems is the best evidence yet I have seen that anyone have reached 200 USD /kwh at the cell level including profits, insurance allwance etc on an automotive grade litium battery cell. And Tesla can do it in Q4, 2015. Moreover, this price should be expected to drop considerably when the 50Gwh factory is operating at full capacity in 2020. Very exiting IMO.


Perfect example of How To Write an Incompetent Business Headline.

Tesla Revenue 1.1 Billion dollars.
Tesla Growth 50% year over year. 50 PERCENT.
Tesla Large R&D investments...

If you guys think anyone with a brain is complaining about costs going up to book 1.1 Billion dollars in Revenue,....

All companies are DROOLING to get that growth.

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The news are comming in about what was said during Teslas shareholder meeting. I quote " Musk says response to the Powerwall battery system is just “nutty,” with 38,000 reservations for home customers, and 2,500 for utilities." see

So in a few day Tesla got orders for 120 million USD for the powerwall (40,000*3,000USD) and 62.5 million for their industrial powerpacks (2500*25000USD). It will be very interesting to follow in the comming years how fast Tesla can ramp up sales and deliveries of these backup batteries for renewable energy. It could perhaps one day make more money for Tesla than its automobile division.


Henrik, Tesla didn't get any orders for the Powerwall. What they got was people clicking "reserve" after providing name, phone # and e-mail address; no price, no Terms and Conditions, no deposit... it is merely an expression of interest. Some of them (like me) are merely curious. Yes, I was one of the "clickers" and I have no intention of buying one because it wouldn't make sense for my energy situation (0.08/kWh, no differential for time of day, solar impractical for my location). I know four other people who have done the same.

This does NOT translate into "sales".

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Herman my apology for writng orders. I am fully avare it is just reservations. However, Tesla does not hide the price for that powerwall. People who make reservations knows what it costs and that Tesla's prices for the powerwall is the one they charge installers. Tesla will not sell their energy product directly to consumers but only to properly authorized installers, like solarcity. Nevertheless, Herman, you got to admit that the number of reservations is phenomenal. Tesla probably only has the production capacity to deliver a few hundred per months starting in July so like with the Model S this is another product where Tesla will be supply constrained not demand constrained as are most other companies. This is why Tesla can approch growth growth rates of about 50% per year. IMO 50% is the limit for how fast you can grow a manufactoring company. Software companies can grow faster but not manufactoring companies that need physical factories in order to expand sales. Tesla is doing it in an industry that barely exist globally. There are no other suppliers for batteries in the volume that Tesla needs other than the factories that Tesla and Panasonic are building themselves.

Tesla is by far the lagest global consumer of automotive grade batteries representing 41% of the global market in Q1, 2015 see link below. You got to admit that 50% growth in this manufactoring field is extreamely impressive. I expect Tesla to reach about 120k sales in 2017 of Model S and X and about 500k sales in 2020 for model S, X and III. I also expect Tesla to announce the construction of another 50Gwh before 2020. Even more importantly I expect Tesla to make a fully autonomous car by 2020 that subsequently need to go through millions of miles of testing and approval before Tesla is allowed to use it launching a transportation service division selling transportation by a global fleet of autonomous Tesla taxies that are also able to charge themselves at Tesla's superchargers.



Thanks very much for the link. What is really interesting is the size of the global manufacturing capacity and it's growth rate. Currently around 8 GWhr/year maybe it will get to 10 GWhr/year by the end of 2015.

So what you say about manufacturing constraints really strikes home.

You can see why Tesla needs it's 50 GWhr/year facility and the potential of this to transform the costs of battery production. It's not unreasonable to observe costs in the low $100's per KWHr by 2020. As costs come down to that level, the market will expand dramatically and 50 GWhr/year factories will start popping up all over the planet.


Hmm another fun fact...

Australia plans to generate 33000 GWHr of renewable electricity by 2020 (which is a bit over 20% of expected demand).

So two years output of a Tesla Gigafactory could store 1 days worth of Australian renewable electricity production.


Will TESLA ever make a profit from vehicle production in California?

Wouldn't production plants in Asia (or other much lower cost places), for parts and complete vehicles, become a necessity for the bottom line?


TESLA could follow Apple's multi billion $$$ profit example.

Design in California and produce in Asia.

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Harvey you can only save pennies by locating that 50Gwh factory in a country with low labor cost as labor cost is less that 5% of the cost associated with the production in that factory. It produces 50GWh at 200 USD per kwh or 10 billion USD worth of battery packs per year. It employs 6000 people that will be paid 80k USD each in the USA or 480 million USD per year so 4.8% of total production value. Use a low income country and you may save a few percentage on those 4.8% in labor cost. The largest cost reductions is about vertical integration, scale of prouction, process development and product development not about the labor cost which are unimportant in this field of production. So Tesla can't follow Apple as their situation is uncomparable.

Bob Wallace

Plus is costs a lot more to ship a battery pack than an iPad.

Cars are manufactured close to where they are sold, not shipped long distances for the most part. Look for Tesla, like other car manufactures, to locate factories around the world in order to minimize shipping costs.


Let's not forget that a very high percentage of future e-cars will be built and sold in Asia with China and India the largest future world markets.

Already, most e-buses with very large battery packs are built and used in China.

With that in mind, China will soon have half a dozen 50 GW battery factories and so will India 10 to 15 years later.

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