|Photo Credit: Dennis Larson via Compfight cc|
As a number of high profile EV startups have folded one after another, such as Fisker, Better Place, and Coda, Tesla seems to be unstoppable, reaching for ever higher heights, having completely repaid its $465 million DOE loan, and posting its first ever profit of $11 million in Q1.
As shares of the company reached and surpassed the $100/share mark, Tesla is the hottest hottest name in the EV, no scratch that, entire auto market. They made the EV cool. But it’s important to take a step back and note that, as Green Car Reports excellently explains, Tesla did not make a profit from it’s core business, its Model S electric sports-sedan.
What the EV startup did make its money from, is selling its zero-emission vehicle credits, a by-product (and legitimate part) of its main business. In doing so Tesla made $68 million from these credits, as well as a further $17 million from selling Greenhouse Gas emission credits. It should also be noted that $91 million was spent on making and selling the vehicles. And yes, Tesla shares did reach $100/share, but it has also been volatile, surging 174% over 2 months and then falling 13% in one day after hitting $114.90.
That said, it doesn’t mean that Tesla is doing badly either. As the company is reducing staff hours and parts costs to build the Model S, which will make its core business profitable eventually, but these numbers won’t show up until later.
I hope that this may shed some light on where the startup is at on the path toward profitability, and clear up any misunderstanding that the Model S is already profitable and get people more excited than is warranted. It will surely be interesting to see how and what Tesla does in the coming year to turn the company into a consistently performing, profitable business.