Tesla today re-affirmed that the production of its next car, the Model 3, would begin in July — and that the company had $4 billion in cash-on-hand heading into the second quarter this year.
Both of those are going to be critical as Tesla, which reported its first-quarter earnings today, heads into the back half of the year. The company has gone to market multiple times to raise additional capital, and said year-to-date capital expenditures would be slightly over $2 billion by the time it started Model 3 production. With a lower price point, the Model 3 opens Tesla up to a wider market that could help it justify its ballooning valuation.
Tesla reported a loss of $1.33 per share on revenue of $2.7 billion, while Wall Street expected a loss of 83 cents per share on $2.61 billion in revenue. While it was a wider-than-expected loss, it looks like a pretty ho-hum result for the company as all eyes look toward the later part of the year when the Model 3 production is in full swing — and whether Tesla will be able to get enough cars rolling out.
In April, Tesla’s continued rising stock price valued the company more than Ford. That came on the heels of the company saying its vehicle production and deliveries rose in the first quarter at a rate faster than what Wall Street expected. Shares of Tesla were largely unchanged today, with the company worth more than $50 billion (still well above Ford).
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In April, Musk gave a sort of teaser to a new semi-truck from Tesla. The company is also expected to reveal the final production version of the Model 3 in July. But the Model 3 is likely still going to be on the top of everyone’s minds, with a $35,000 price tag that’s targeting a market looking for a less expensive electric car. (Calling $35,000 less expensive is still, of course, a matter of perspective.)
Tesla said it still expects to have between 47,000 to 50,000 deliveries in the first half of the year. Though, as the Model 3 begins production, it may face a bit of an optics problem — where it stacks up against the Model S. Tesla also acknowledged the problem in its earnings report.
“Moving past Q2, particularly as Model 3 becomes available, one of our challenges will be to eliminate any misperception about the differences between Model S and Model 3,” the company said in a statement. “We have seen a belief among some that Model 3 is the newest and more advanced generation of Model S. This is not correct. Model S will always have more range, more acceleration, more power, more passenger cargo room, more displays (two), and more customization choices, and Model S, X and 3 will all have equivalent Autopilot functionality. We will continue to clearly communicate these distinctions to avoid any misperceptions.”