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Tesla Motors Turns a Profit For the First Time 248

d0rp writes with news that Tesla Motors has reported earning a profit for the first time in its six-year history. Sales of the $109,000 Roadster earned the company $20 million in revenue, which settled out to $1 million in profits. "Most of that money rolled in after Tesla delivered cars customers had already placed deposits on. Although the company has, according to spokeswoman Rachel Konrad, seen a 'surge' in orders for the Roadster and the higher-performance Roadster Sport (price: $127,500), it isn't likely to keep rolling cars out so quickly. Konrad says Tesla is 'definitely on pace' to meet its goal of 1,000 to 1,200 cars a year but didn't say when that might happen. Tesla has so far delivered about 609 Roadsters since production started in March, 2008." The company is working on a new 'Model S' sedan, with the help of $465 million in government loans, and has also entered into a partnership with Daimler to help the German auto company produce electric Smart cars.
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Tesla Motors Turns a Profit For the First Time

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  • by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <> on Saturday August 08, 2009 @10:34AM (#28995815)

    I'm just angered by the insinuance that somehow because someone owns something that was granted to them by the government that somehow they have a monopoly over it and the right to shut me out on a whim.

    What is hopeful is how Tesla is working with the auto industry to spread their battery and electric vehicle patents in a cooperative way rather than trying to submarine them. I see a profitable road ahead for Tesla if they can keep their IP chest ahead of the curve.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 08, 2009 @11:27AM (#28996041)

    If by panned HARD you mean Top Gear faked it running out of charge and that Jeremy Clarkson's predetermined opinions warrant being classed as an unbiased review then sure.

    They do some funny stuff on Top Gear but the know stuff all about cars and their 'testing' is a joke. Seriously. You are going to end up disappointed if you buy a car based on one of the reviews. That is if you actually happen to see one of the rare episodes they lower themselves to road test a car that costs less than £50,000. Anyone with even a little bit of motor vehicle knowledge will see through the sensationalist rubbish that they call road tests. If you want a Top Gear recommendation make out it is an Italian sports car and they will fall over themselves to stick their cocks up its the exhaust. No how matter how shit and unreliable Alfa Romeo makes their cars Clarkson and Co will insist they will buy one anyway. And they would sell their Granny to say wonderful things about a 1970s Ford Cortina if you tapped a Ferrari badge to the bonnet.

  • by shway ( 1614667 ) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @12:00PM (#28996225)
    The government loan was not for their Roadster business (of which they just posted a profit) it was to create the upcoming Model S sedan. They will pay back the loan by selling the Model S, which they plan to start in 2011 after they build use their government loans to build a manufacturing facility.
  • by Random Destruction ( 866027 ) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @12:26PM (#28996365)
    Indeed. the beeb admitted [] that the cars never ran out of juice. That scene was faked to "show what would happen if the battery had actually been depleted."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 08, 2009 @01:02PM (#28996619)

    I call bs on this statement: "The efficiency of converting gas into kinetic energy is relatively high, as far as energy conversions go. Converting fuels into electricity is far less efficient, not to mention losses from battery storage."

    The efficiency of converting gas into kinetic energy is NOT relatively high, Theoretical max of ~30%, in a high efficiency car it will be in the upper 20s.
    Converting fuels into electricity is NOT far less efficient, Theoretical max of ~70%, and this is just using a steam turbine generator, ie coal plant.

    The truth is that ~70% of the energy stored in gas is heat, ~30% is expansion. The internal combustion engine uses the expansion of gasses, and then uses energy to throw away the heat.

    In order for gas to be more efficient you have to have over 50% loss. The loss areas include: electric transmission 92.8% efficient, storage in lithium batteries 90%, and the electric to kinetic( the electric motor) 89%. This is equivalent to over 48% net efficiency. and 48% >> 28%. This is not even taking into account the benefit of regenerative braking.

    If you convert the cost per mile (of energy ie electricity) of a tesla to mpg, is will be in the 230 mpg range. Find me a internal combustion engine that can support that.

  • by Bigjeff5 ( 1143585 ) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @01:31PM (#28996795)

    Ok, you know they are Electric cars right?

    Except in places where the infrastructure is already near capacity (California and some parts of the northwest spring to mind), the infrastructure is already in place, and all anybody really needs is the correct outlet.

    Infrastructure for these things is no problem, except in places where the electrical infrastructure is already poor.

  • by Ironsides ( 739422 ) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @01:50PM (#28996979) Homepage Journal
    Oh, because the batteries used in electric vehicles are quite a bit different than the ones used in laptops and cell phones? Laptops and Cell phones draw a small amount of current compared to the ones needed for electric vehicles. Also, the cell size and capacity are difference. Portable devices need light weight, SMALL battery cells. Battery cells for electric cars need a high power density and high current output, volume and weight are much less of an object. Among other things, the multiple order of magnitude difference in current draw makes the two types significantly different. Then there is the battery life. Your portable battery may a few years before becoming mostly useless. Car batteries need to last 10 years.
  • Outsourcing (Score:3, Informative)

    by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @01:52PM (#28996991)

    They don't even manufacture the body of the car they sell.

    That's not so unusual. Do you think the big auto makers actually make most of the parts that go into their cars? They don't. In fact it is standard practice to outsource even entire subsystems of the car to the Tier 1 suppliers. The body of the car is just another part which can be purchased from a supplier if desired. It's less common to outsource that part but not unheard of.

    They are an IP company through and through.

    So are most manufacturers when you get right down to it. Any sophisticated product not covered by patents and trade secrets will be copied quite rapidly these days.

  • Re:Profit? (Score:2, Informative)

    by CrankinOut ( 629561 ) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @02:06PM (#28997079)

    Basic accounting does not consider a loan as profit. The Balance Sheet is defined as Assets = Liabilities + Equity. The loan increases cash(assets) and increases liabilities (obligation to repay). Profit appears on the Income Statement. Profit = revenue from sales less expenses of those sales over a defined time period.

  • by enrevanche ( 953125 ) * on Sunday August 09, 2009 @04:32AM (#29001203)
    The roadster has a range of 220/244 miles, the model S has a range of 300 miles. They did not just "remove" batteries. Since the car is larger and heavier, intended for a different purpose, they are not really comparable, like a Ferrari and BMW sedan are not really comparable.

"This is lemma 1.1. We start a new chapter so the numbers all go back to one." -- Prof. Seager, C&O 351