Palo Alto Weekly

News - March 15, 2013

News Digest

Tesla delays electric SUV

In February of last year, Palo Alto-based Tesla Motors said it would begin production on it newest line of all-electric vehicles, the Model X, at the end of 2013.

According to its most recent SEC filing, that no longer appears to be the case.

In its annual financial report, Tesla stated that production of the vehicle would actually begin in late 2014, effectively pushing the schedule back a year.

In a Valentine's Day press release last year, Tesla called the Model X "the fastest selling Tesla yet," exceeding $40 million in advance sales after just one day.

The Model X is an SUV built on the same platform as the Model S sedan, only with all-wheel drive and the capacity to fit seven adults.

The filing doesn't make reference to the previous statement about the car's production schedule and doesn't specifically explain why production has been delayed.

Tesla has built 3,100 of its Model S sedans and has delivered another 2,650. There are reservations for still another 15,000 of the cars. The filing states that the company expects to be profitable by the end of the year.

However, it incurred a net loss of $396.2 million in 2012, which adds up to more than $1 billion in net losses since the company's inception in 2003.

The filing states the company's reliance on a $465 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy as one of the risk factors for investing. It agreed to the loan, which it used in part for research and development of the Model S, in 2010 and agreed to pay it back by 2022. The filing states that Tesla has modified the agreement to repay the loan by 2017.

— Eric Van Susteren

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