Tesla Motors Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2010 Results

Tesla Motors, Inc. (Nasdaq:TSLA) today announced its preliminary unaudited financial results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2010. Revenues for the fourth quarter of 2010 were $36.3 million, a 16% increase from the $31.2 million reported in the prior quarter. Gross margin improved to 31%, up from 30% for the prior quarter. On a full year basis, 2010 revenues were $116.7 million as compared with revenues of $111.9 million reported in the prior year. Gross margin improved to 26% for the full year 2010, up from 9% for 2009.

“The highlight of the quarter was our on-time completion of the first drivable Model S alpha”

“We are very pleased to report continued revenue growth, improving margins and a steady progression in our Roadster and powertrain activities,” said Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors. “Our powertrain team delivered solid results, with an increase in orders and record deliveries of battery packs and chargers for the Daimler Smart fortwo electric drive, the completion of our development program for the Daimler A-Class, and the commencement of the phase 1 development program for the Toyota RAV4 EV.”

“The highlight of the quarter was our on-time completion of the first drivable Model S alpha,” continued Musk. “The quality and level of refinement of the alpha demonstrates the superb job of our design, vehicle engineering and powertrain teams. They have embraced the opportunity to build an EV from the ground up and have produced a vehicle which shows great potential to deliver superior aerodynamics, stability and handling, crash safety, performance and range. We believe the Model S is well on its way toward becoming the vehicle of choice for 2012.”

Tesla Motors reaffirmed that it remains on schedule for first customer deliveries of the Model S in mid-2012. A fleet of Model S alphas are being built for cold weather brakes testing, ride and handling, safety validation, electrical integration, and noise, vibration and harshness evaluation. At Tesla’s Fremont facility, The Tesla Factory, detailed readiness plans are being executed at each of the stamping, plastics, paint and final assembly shops. Installation of the manufacturing equipment continues on schedule, including significant progress with the installation of the hydraulic press line.

Net loss for the quarter was $51.4 million as compared to $34.9 million in the prior quarter. On a non-GAAP basis, net loss for the quarter was $44.1 million as compared to a non-GAAP net loss of $34.2 million in the prior quarter, as improved gross margin was offset by increased spending on research and development and continued expansion in our sales and marketing activities. Non-GAAP net loss excludes charges related to stock-based compensation and the change in fair value related to our outstanding warrants. A reconciliation of GAAP results to non-GAAP results is included below. Net loss for the year was $154.3 million as compared to $55.7 million in 2009.

Business Highlights

* The first Model S alpha prototype was completed on schedule. Tesla showcased its advanced vehicle engineering capabilities by showing a unique expanded view of the Model S “body-in-white” at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.
* Tesla purchased over $17 million of manufacturing equipment and spare parts from NUMMI and Toyota, all of which was acquired at significant discounts compared to new equipment. The equipment will be used in the Tesla Factory in Fremont, the purchase of which closed in October. The facility will become the future home of Model S production, the derivatives on the Model S platform including the company’s planned Model X crossover vehicle, and Tesla’s planned next generation of high volume, mass-market electric vehicles.
* Daimler increased its orders for the battery pack and charger for the Smart fortwo electric drive from 1,500 sets to 1,800 sets. For the third quarter in a row, Tesla delivered a record number of battery packs and chargers for the Smart fortwo electric drive program. Having completed the development of the battery and charger for the Daimler A-class electric vehicle, Tesla is currently delivering production components.
* Toyota and Tesla agreed on the final specifications for the powertrain system to be installed in the Toyota RAV4 EV, which is expected to generate up to $69 million in development services revenue over the next four to five quarters to Tesla, if all milestones are met and prototype powertrain components are delivered. The powertrain system includes a battery, power electronics components, motor, gearbox and associated proprietary software.
* Tesla delivered its 1,500th Roadster during the quarter. In addition, Tesla has received over 3,700 Model S reservations to date.
* Since the beginning of the fourth quarter, Tesla opened new stores in Tokyo, Milan, and Washington, D.C.
* Tesla launched a closed-loop recycling program with Umicore in Europe to complement its recycling program in the United States. The programs are designed to substantially reduce the carbon footprint of cell manufacturing and result in no recycling costs to Roadster customers.
* Tesla enthusiasts continue to explore the range capabilities of the Tesla Roadster. British EV advocate David Peilow drove nearly 500 miles in one day to travel from London to Edinburgh. Hansjörg von Gemmingen, a Tesla owner in Germany, logged 40,000 miles in his Tesla Roadster in one year. Team VIN1000, a group of Tesla enthusiasts from Texas, reportedly drove a Tesla Roadster a record 347.2 miles on a single charge. Tesla owners have now driven their Roadsters over 9 million miles in aggregate.
* Panasonic completed the purchase of 1,418,573 shares of common stock for $30 million. Tesla and Panasonic are continuing their development of next generation battery cells designed specifically for electric vehicles.

Tesla will provide a live webcast of its fourth quarter 2010 financial results conference call beginning at 2:00 p.m. PST on February 15, 2011 at ir.teslamotors.com. This webcast will also be available for replay for approximately two weeks thereafter.

Tesla’s goal is to produce a full range of electric cars, from premium sports cars to mass-market vehicles – relentlessly driving down the cost of electric vehicles. It is currently the only automaker in the United States that builds and sells highway-capable EVs in serial production. Palo Alto, California-based Tesla designs and manufactures EVs and EV powertrain components. Tesla has delivered more than 1,500 Roadsters to customers in North America, Europe and Asia. The Tesla Roadster accelerates faster than most sports cars yet produces no emissions.