Tesla stock blasts off as sales exceed target and profit predicted

It’s no April fool. Tesla Motors has announced that it sold 4,750 units of its Model S electric sedan in the first quarter, cruising past the target of 4,500 that it set in its February shareholder letter. As a result, the company will adjust its Q1 financial guidance from achieving an operating profit (which excludes capital expenses) to full profitability. Tesla stock (Nasdaq: TSLA) took off like a dragster on the news – it was up over 20% at one point Monday morning.

“I am incredibly proud of the Tesla team for their outstanding work. There have been many car startups over the past several decades, but profitability is what makes a company real. Tesla is here to stay and keep fighting for the electric car revolution,” said Elon Musk, Tesla co-founder and CEO. “I would also like to thank our customers for their passionate support of the company and the car. Without them, we would not be here.”

A couple more tidbits turned the voltage up even further. The company has decided to drop the small battery option for the Model S, due to lack of demand. Only four percent of customers chose the 40 kWh battery pack, which is not enough to justify production of that version. Customers who ordered this option will receive the 60 kWh pack, but range will be software-limited to 40 kWh. It will have the improved acceleration and top speed of the bigger pack, and can be upgraded to the 60 kWh range for an undisclosed price.

Also, all 60 kWh cars will be built with Supercharger hardware included. Tesla is betting that everybody will eventually buy the Supercharger upgrade, which supposedly offers unlimited free long distance travel for life (oh, alright, let’s drop a few more grand and spring for the better range too).

Now, how much would you pay? But wait, there’s yet another kicker. Elon Musk tweeted last week that there would soon be some “really exciting news,” in which he would “put his money where his mouth is in a major way,” and the profit announcement isn’t it. Watch this space.

 

Image: jurvetson (flickr)
Sources: Tesla, Green Car Reports, CNN