Tesla Motors Reports Third Quarter Results

Strong Sequential Revenue Growth Gross Margin Continues to Improve Highest Roadster Orders in Two Years Model S Development on Track for 2012 Launch

PALO ALTO, Calif. – Tesla Motors, Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA) today announced its preliminary unaudited financial results for the quarter ended September 30, 2010. Revenues for the third quarter of 2010 were $31.2 million, a 10% increase from the $28.4 million reported in the prior quarter. Gross margin improved to 30%, up from 22% for the prior quarter. Net loss for the quarter was $34.9 million as compared to $38.5 million in the prior quarter.

“We are very pleased to report steady top-line growth and significant growth in gross margin, driven by the continued improvement in Roadster orders and our growing powertrain business,” said Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors. “Roadster orders in this quarter hit a new high since the third quarter of 2008, having increased over 15% from last quarter. While some of this is due to seasonal effects associated with selling a convertible during the summer months, we are pleased with the global expansion of the Roadster business and the continued validation of Tesla’s technology leadership position evidenced by our new and expanding strategic relationships.”

The Roadster continued to demonstrate that all-electric driving can be both exhilarating and environmentally responsible. During the quarter, Tesla introduced the Roadster in five additional countries and opened a new store in Paris. Store openings are planned in Tokyo and Milan during the fourth quarter. Over 1,300 Roadsters are now driving in 31 countries and have logged over seven million miles as of October 31, 2010. The Roadster completed the Odyssey of Pioneers World Tour, in partnership with Tag Heuer, which showcased its ability to travel and charge around the globe with ease. Overall, the Roadster visited 16 cities on three continents and traveled over 22,000 miles.

The launch of the Model S in mid-2012 remains on track and Tesla achieved several key milestones in the quarter. In October, Tesla took title to its manufacturing facility in Fremont, California and also made selective purchases of existing manufacturing equipment in the stamping, plastics and body shops, all of which was acquired at significant discounts compared to new equipment.

“We are rapidly preparing our Fremont facility for the production of the Model S. At the same time, we have initiated our alpha build process as planned, with the goal of completing the first alpha prototype by the end of the year,” Musk said. “We have also been road testing our Model S prototype powertrain for several weeks now, with positive results.”

“We continued to garner high profile endorsements of our industry leading technology and electric powertrain systems,” Musk continued. “In October, we signed an agreement with Toyota for the development of a complete powertrain for the electric Toyota RAV4 vehicle – including the battery pack, charger, motor, gearbox and associated software. We have also recently completed all of the milestones for the Daimler A-Class battery development, and are now in the production phase. Most recently, we strengthened our six year relationship with Panasonic, announcing that the world’s leader in small format lithium ion cells, has invested $30 million in Tesla.”

Business Highlights

  • Tesla completed the purchase of its automotive manufacturing facility in Fremont, California, formerly owned by New United Motors Manufacturing, Inc. (NUMMI) for $42 million. NUMMI produced over 400,000 vehicles per year at this facility. The facility will become the future home of Model S production and our next generation of high volume, mass-market electric vehicles.
  • The Model S alpha build is underway with the stamping, casting and extrusion of the body panels and the assembly of the body-in-white. The first Model S alpha is targeted for completion by the end of the year.
  • The Model S prototype powertrain has begun road testing to complement its ongoing laboratory testing.
  • In October, Tesla completed the development of the battery and charger for the Daimler A-class electric vehicle and is now delivering production parts. For the second consecutive quarter, Tesla delivered a record number of battery packs and chargers for the Daimler Smart fortwo electric vehicle.
  • In October, Tesla formalized an agreement for the development of a validated powertrain system, including a battery, power electronics module, motor, gearbox and associated software, which will be integrated into an electric vehicle version of the Toyota RAV4. Based on preliminary specifications, Toyota will pay Tesla approximately $60 million for the development services as deliverables are completed. Tesla is currently delivering early Toyota RAV4 EV prototypes.
  • On November 2, Panasonic purchased 1,418,573 shares of common stock for $30 million at a price of $21.15 per share. Tesla has worked with Panasonic/Sanyo for approximately six years and intends to use custom 18650 cells that it designed in partnership with Panasonic in its future battery packs on a non-exclusive basis.
  • Tesla opened up a new store in Paris and now operates an international network of 14 stores. Stores in Tokyo and Milan are scheduled to open during the fourth quarter.
  • Road & Track Magazine recognized the Tesla Roadster as having one of the highest resale values in its class.
  • The list of countries with electric vehicle incentives continues to grow. Japan announced a tax refund of $38,000 for the purchase of a Roadster. In the United States, the Roadster now qualifies for a tax credit of almost $25,000 in the State of Louisiana.

Tesla also reports its financial results on a non-GAAP basis. On a non-GAAP basis, net loss for the quarter was $34.2 million as compared to a non-GAAP net loss of $26.1 million in the prior quarter, reflecting significantly increased spending on research and development of Model S partially offset by improved gross margin. Non-GAAP net loss excludes charges related to stock-based compensation and the change in fair value related to our warrants. A reconciliation of GAAP results to non-GAAP results is included below.

Tesla will provide a live webcast of its third quarter 2010 financial results conference call beginning at 2:00 p.m. PST on November 9, 2010 at ir.teslamotors.com. This webcast will also be available for replay for approximately two weeks thereafter.

About Tesla Motors

Tesla’s goal is to produce increasingly affordable electric cars to mainstream buyers – relentlessly driving down the cost of EVs. Palo Alto, California-based Tesla has delivered more than 1,300 Roadsters to customers in North America, Europe and Asia. Tesla designs, develops, manufactures and sells EVs and EV powertrain components. The Tesla Roadster accelerates faster than most sports cars yet produces no emissions.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements in this press release, including statements relating to the progress Tesla is making with respect to the development and launch of the Model S including related milestones and alpha build, the ability of Tesla to source parts and to produce vehicles at its future manufacturing facility in Fremont, California, the financial and other potential benefits from Tesla’s strategic relationships, the anticipated completion of deliverables due under the Toyota development agreement, and planned store openings are “forward-looking statements” that are subject to risks and uncertainties. These forward-looking statements are based on management’s current expectations, and as a result of certain risks and uncertainties actual results may differ materially from those projected. The following important factors, without limitation, could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements: consumers’ willingness to adopt electric vehicles and Tesla’s electric cars in particular; Tesla’s ability to fully draw down on its facility from the U.S. Department of Energy; risks associated with sales of the Tesla Roadster; Tesla’s ability to execute on its plans to develop, manufacture, market and sell the planned Model S electric vehicle; Tesla’s ability to reduce and adequately control the costs associated with operating its business; competition in the automotive market generally and the alternative fuel vehicle market in particular; Tesla’s ability to establish, maintain and strengthen the Tesla brand; the unavailability, reduction or elimination of governmental and economic incentives for electric vehicles; Tesla’s ability to establish, maintain and strengthen its relationships with strategic partners such as Daimler, Toyota and Panasonic; Tesla’s ability to fully complete the Toyota development agreement; and Tesla’s ability to execute on its plans for new store openings. More information on potential factors that could affect the Company’s financial results is included from time to time in Tesla’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings and reports, including the risks identified under the section captioned “Risk Factors” in its final prospectus relating to its initial public offering filed pursuant to Rule 424(b) under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, on June 29, 2010 and our Form 10-Q as filed on August 13, 2010. Tesla disclaims any obligation to update information contained in these forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

Non-GAAP Financial Information

Consolidated financial information has been presented in accordance with GAAP as well as on a non-GAAP basis. On a non-GAAP basis, financial measures exclude non-cash items such as stock-based compensation as well as the change in fair value related to Tesla’s warrant liability. Management believes that it is useful to supplement its GAAP financial statements with this non-GAAP information because management uses such information internally for its operating, budgeting and financial planning purposes. These non-GAAP financial measures also facilitate management’s internal comparisons to Tesla’s historical performance as well as comparisons to the operating results of other companies. In addition, Tesla believes these non-GAAP financial measures are useful to investors because they allow for greater transparency into the indicators used by management as a basis for its financial and operational decision making. Non-GAAP information is not prepared under a comprehensive set of accounting rules and therefore, should only be read in conjunction with financial information reported under U.S. GAAP when understanding Tesla's operating performance. A reconciliation between GAAP and non-GAAP financial information is provided below.

Financial information can be accessed here.

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