Now that Tesla Motors is a publicly traded company, it actually has to put out more than smiley-faced, feel-good press releases. The Securities and Exchange Commission, despite its flaws (anyone remember Bernie Madoff and Enron?), requires public companies to file a document known as a 10-Q every three months that outlines its finances and the both the positive and negative risks it faces. In the 10-Q filed by Tesla last Friday, there are a number of items that interested observers might want to take note of.
Ever since the debut of the Roadster in 2006, much has been made of its 220+ mile per-charge driving range. Of course, that range was based on fairly gentle driving on the EPA test cycles which don't really exercise the Roadster's capabilities. In its latest filing Tesla acknowledges that the new testing procedures being developed by the EPA are likely to cut the advertised range of the Roadster and Model S by 30 percent.
Another of the numerous potential pitfalls is sales, or lack of them. As of June 30, 2010 Tesla had delivered about 1,200 Roadsters and had outstanding orders for another 130 even though they are now available in 26 countries. Sales peaked at 324 units in the third quarter of 2009 as Tesla worked to fulfill all the orders taken before production started. Tesla is not expecting Roadster sales to pick up very much:
As for the Model S, Tesla has 2,600 orders but acknowledges that some could be canceled if it faces production delays. At this point, there is only one running prototype for a car that is supposed to be in production in less than two years. There is also a lot of incomplete design and engineering work, not to mention the manufacturing issues that Tesla is still far from having worked out. Check out the full filing here with most of the juicy stuff being in "Part II, Other Information."We do not expect to have a significant wait list of orders for our Tesla Roadster in the future, and we may not be able to maintain or increase our vehicle sales revenue in future quarters.