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Tesla is an American OEM that sells cars and energy storage solutions such as stationary batteries and solar panels under the Tesla brand. This page contains research on Tesla's activities and strategy.

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Research: Tesla's Volume Outlook -- October 2017

Our analysis of Tesla's volume outlook for Model S, Model X and Model 3

  • We believe that Model S and X volumes will only grow slightly
  • We think that Model 3 will sell around 200,000 units per year -- not insignificant, but well short of expectations

Only time will tell if we are right or wildly wrong...

Automotive research, Automotive strategy, Automotive trends, Auto industry trends, Automotive market research, Auto industry news


This information can also be found on the weekly news review.


  • Some Tesla suppliers have said that orders for December and early 2018 imply that Model 3 production may reach a weekly rate of 5,000 units earlier than the end of Q1 2018 target. (Electrek)
  • CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter that the company will launch a pick-up “right after” Model Y. He also answered some questions about the vehicle saying it would be similar in size to a Ford F-150. (Business Insider)
  • In a bid to increase residual / scarcity value of the original Tesla Roadster, Elon Musk said he would send one of his own into space. (Hotha Hardware)
  • Was reportedly under investigation by the SEC over the way that the company used and reported deposits for the Model 3. The investigation ended with no action against Tesla but a refusal by the SEC to comment led some to speculate that further investigations were ongoing. (Detroit News)
  • Introduced a fair use policy for supercharger stations that forbids vehicles charging for commercial purposes. The exclusion appears to apply to new vehicles only. (Electrek)
  • External analysts said sales discipline by the former Solar City operations, following the takeover by Tesla, were single-handedly responsible for a year-over-year fall in home installations in the US. (Reuters)
  • British Insurer Direct Line has started offering a 5 percent discount on vehicles fitted with autopilot. (Electrek)
  • CEO Elon Musk said that the company was creating its own self-driving hardware with help from AMD and that fully driverless vehicles would appear in two years time. (Futurism)


  • Activated a 100 MW stationary storage battery in Australia than Tesla had promised to build in 100 days or provide for free. The facility was switched on after 60 days and is situated next to a wind farm. (BBC)
  • Unveiled the Semi truck. Tesla will offer a “Mega Charger” network that adds 400 miles of range in 30 minutes, leading to speculation about the charger’s power output being well in excess of 1,000 MWh. Truck production begins in 2019. Tesla say that they will guarantee a wholesale electricity price of $0.07 per kW and the truck will have cheaper per mile economics than diesel trucks -- and even trains if a convoy of autonomous vehicles headed by a single human driver is used. The truck was hailed as having a drag coefficient of 0.36, comparing favourably to a Bugatti Chiron. Tesla were silent on why they didn’t choose the Toyota Prius’s 0.30 cd as the benchmark. (Tesla)
  • At the same event as the truck, Tesla also showed off the next generation Roadster. The 2+2 vehicle has a claimed 0-60mph time of 1.9 seconds and top speed above 250mph “for the base model”, thanks in part to 10,000Nm of torque and power from a 200kWh battery with a claimed 620-mile range. It costs $250,000 to reserve one of the first 1,000 Founders Series models. Production begins in 2020. (Tesla)
  • Almost lost in the aftermath of the Roadster and Semi-truck reveals, Tesla is now selling mobile phone top-up chargers. At $45 each, it’s probably the cheapest way to tear down a Tesla 18650 cell. (Tesla)
  • Bought automation supplier Perbix to help it improve manufacturing efficiency. (Bloomberg)
  • Had reportedly only assembled 440 Model 3 to the end of October. (Electrek)
  • Tesla said that its Model 3 ramp-up was going more slowly than expected, meaning that it would reach 5,000 units per week at the end of Q1 2018, rather than Q4 2017 as previously guided. The company wouldn’t give firm guidance on when it might achieve 10,000 units per week. (Tesla)
  • The Daily Kanban published a story saying that Tesla’s production problems were of its own making, citing a source at a manufacturing equipment supplier who contrasted Tesla’s rushed approach with that of a conventional OEM (Daily Kanban)

Q3 Financials (November)

  • Announced Q3 2017 financial results. Automotive revenue of $2.362 billion was up 10% on a year-over-year basis. Total revenue of $2.985 billion was up 30% YoY. Net income from operations was a loss of $(535) million, compared with a profit of $86 million a year earlier. (Tesla)
  • Announced Q3 deliveries of 26,150 vehicles, including 220 Model 3s, a 4.5% increase on a year-over-year basis. Although the company slightly upped its forecast for full year sales, the small number of Model 3 sales were generally considered to be a disappointment. (Tesla)


  • Reportedly told suppliers to expect firm orders of only 3,000 vehicles per week in December due to production bottlenecks, rather than the 5,000 per week it had previously guided (in line with public forecasts by Elon Musk). (Reuters)
  • Implied that it might start using modified Model S/X cars instead of vans for service personnel. Tesla’s executive responsible for sales said it had “bugged” the company that it was using internal combustion engine vans and so they have worked on their own vehicles. (Futurism)
  • Refused to confirm that it had signed a deal to open a factory in China. Memo: In June the company said it was looking at sites around Shanghai for a new plant. (Reuters)
  • Announced an increase in borrowing capacity from $600 million to $1.1billion. (Tesla)
  • Agreed a pay rise of 30% at its German (formerly Grohmann) division. In return for signing a long term agreement, workers will get a bonus paid in cash and Tesla stock. (Reuters)
  • Some industry experts speculated that the cause of Model 3 production bottlenecks was problems with weld quality on the body in white line because Model 3 uses so much steel -- a material Tesla is less familiar with. (Golem)
  • Dismissed hundreds (estimated at between 400 and 700) of workers for poor performance reviews. Replying to criticism that the separations come at a time when the company is struggling to ramp up Model 3 production, Tesla says that firing underperforming workers raises motivation and increases productivity. (Mercury News)
  • Launched a tailored insurance offering in the US and Canada (sold through a 3rd party for legal reasons), acting on experience from other markets. Tesla has previously said that it believes some insurers do not correctly assess the Model S and X insurance risks and costs. (Elektrek)
  • Said it was recalling 11,000 Model X vehicles to fix problems that could cause the rear seats to fold forward in a crash. (Reuters)
  • Reportedly about 35,000 people have paid the incremental $3,000 for suitably equipped vehicles to enabled “fully self-driving capability” even though no timescale for releasing the feature has been specified. The take rate of enhanced Autopilot is said to be 77%. (Electrek)
  • Delayed the reveal of its Semi truck to 16th November, choosing to divert resources to “fix Model 3 bottlenecks”. It isn’t entirely clear what resources are used for both staging media events and solving manufacturing and supply chain problems -- apart from Elon Musk’s brain. (Business Insider)


  • As Model 3 vehicles began arriving in vehicles, videos emerged of Tesla employees demonstrating how the single large display within the vehicle works. By the way, people keeping tabs on Tesla VINs have got to number 313 so far, so they’ve made at least that many now. (Jalopnik)
  • Ending sales of the entry-level Model S 75. Unless things change, Model S and Model X will only come in AWD in the future. The move also sets the new entry level price of a Model S at $74,500. (The Verge)
  • Reportedly working with AMD to create a chipset for autonomous driving incorporating its own proprietary technology, which could allow the company to reduce its reliance on Nvidia. (CNBC)
  • CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the company’s semi-truck will be unveiled on 26th (Business Insider)
  • Has created a smaller and lower-powered (and cheaper) supercharger for urban areas. With a rating of 72 kW, the units are still more powerful than most other contemporary installations. (Tesla)
  • New patents for battery swapping stations have recently been filed by Tesla. These appear to show a battery station that can be moved to different areas. (Inside EVs)


  • Saw some instance of high discounts and generous financing terms being offered on Model S and X models in the USA (up to $30,000 per vehicle & 0.99% APR) to improve sales figures ahead of the Q3 close. The deals appeared to only relate to vehicles in inventory (which Tesla famously tries to keep to a minimum). (Inside EVs)
  • Said that mass production of solar roof tiles at its Buffalo plant had now begun. (Economic Times of India)
  • Following a growing number of grievances aired by employees in the media, the NLRB (US labour relations board) said it had filed an official complaint against the company. Tesla accused unions of agitation. (Business Insider)
  • CEO Elon Musk said that the company was preparing a software update that would allow owners to use download images and video from their Autopilot system without having to use a dashcam from a 3rd (Electrek)
  • Received criticism of Tesla’s approach to Autopilot that implied Tesla cared more about speed of rollout than safety. In fairness to Tesla, although they have been publicly bullish on their timeline for self-driving software, they haven’t yet released any. (The Verge)
  • After reportedly having conversations with Tesla about their new semi-truck, a truck operator said that the vehicle (to be unveiled next month) will be a day cab (no sleeping space) and will have a range of 200 - 300 miles on a single charge. (Reuters)
  • CEO Elon Musk said that the company would soon store driver profiles in the cloud so that different drivers of the same car could have their settings used without having to manual program them in (and also use different cars). (Futurism)
  • Said it was issuing $1.8 billion in bonds (up from an initial $1.5 billion due to investor appetite) in order to strengthen its balance sheet. The bonds will pay 5.3%. and are due in 2025 (Tesla)
  • Leaked emails showed that Tesla’s semi-truck program intends to make use of self-driving capability and platooning (where the vehicles follows closely behind one another). If Tesla could master automated platooning on highways then, even if the lead vehicle still needed a human driver, costs could be drastically cut on long journeys ahead of developing fully autonomous capability. (Reuters)
  • Revealed that the battery supplier for its Australian stationery storage project would be Samsung SDI. The reason for the shift from Panasonic may be in order to preserve all Gigafactory-produced cells for Model 3. (Electrek)
  • Began shipping an upgraded Autopilot hardware suite as part of Model 3 launch. The main visible difference is an additional camera (facing the driver) but there are also chipset changes which Tesla said are minor but Teslerati speculated are a big step towards the level of computing power needed for full autonomy. (Electrek)
  • CEO Elon Musk said that although new orders for the Model 3 were being made at a rate of 1,800 per day, cancellations and conversions to Model S and X meant that the total order book now stood at 455,000 units. (Business Insider)
  • Said that Model Y will be very similar to Model 3 after all, reversing an earlier course of creating a new platform. (TechCrunch)
  • Confirmed that its director of battery technology has left the company. (Bloomberg)
  • Researchers forecast that Tesla batteries will take around 25 years for state of charge to degrade to 80% of new. The data was gathered from Model X and S vehicles on the road today. Note that in a recent Nissan Leaf trial, the time period was around 10 years (Tesla Roadster batteries also have a shorter lifespan). (InsideEVs)

Q2 Financials (July)

  • Released Q2 2017 financial results. Automotive revenue was almost doubled on a year-over-year basis, although down on the prior quarter. Automotive gross margin of 25.0% was up on a year-over year basis, but down versus the prior quarter. Tesla expects to spend $2 billion in the 2nd half of 2017 as the bill for Model 3 F&T comes due. (Tesla)
  • Reported Q2 production and delivery figures. 22,000 vehicles were delivered, of which around 12,000 were Model S. Although up on a year-over-year basis, the figure was short of market expectations. Tesla reported that a production shortfall of 100 kWh battery packs had constrained supply of vehicles to around 60% of demand during April and May. Tesla issued a follow-up following negative feedback that it had an additional 3,500 vehicles in transit that were not declared as deliveries, but it was unclear whether this number had been in any way inflated by the production hold-up. (More…)


  • Held the launch event for the Model 3 where the first 30 cars were handed over. A few new details were confirmed, including: range of 220 miles (expanded to 310 miles for $9k); self-driving autopilot will be an $8k option (same as on Model S/X). During his video presentation, Elon Musk compared Model 3 crash test performance with the Volvo S60, calling the S60 “safe, by Volvo’s standards”. Musk also expressed concern over the “production hell” of the ramp-up. (Mercury News)
  • Security researchers at Tencent demonstrated that they could remotely take control of a Model X and activate systems such as brakes and doors. Both the hackers and Tesla were keen to stress that they regarded the Model X as no less secure than other vehicles. (International Business Times)
  • Consumer Reports announced that it had restored the top safety rating for the Model S following revisions to the automated safety systems in the vehicle. (Futurism)
  • Media reports speculated that Tesla was looking into the application of a larger cylindrical battery in its vehicles despite having only recently unveiled a new battery type for the Model 3. (Inside EVs)
  • Said that the Model 3 will not contain a solar roof to augment charging, saying that there was not enough surface area for current technologies to generate significant charge. (More…)
  • Said that the second of the Rive brothers (cousins of Elon Musk and co-founders of Solar City) had left the company. (More…)
  • Has appointed two new independent directors, fulfilling an earlier promise to shareholders. Both have multi-national and media experience but appear new to technology and capital-intensive manufacturing. (More…)
  • Said that it would expand its servicing infrastructure. Tesla will open 100 new physical servicing sites and add 350 mobile servicing vans. Tesla believes that the two measures will increase servicing capacity threefold. In total, 1,400 technicians will be hired. (More…)
  • Saw concern from investors and media following the Model S failing to achieve the top safety rating in every test set by the IIHS (a US insurance industry testing initiative). The Model S recorded the top rating in all but one test, in which it recorded the 2nd highest rating. Tesla called the test “subjective”. (..)
  • Said that the first production-standard Model 3 had left the factory (More…)
  • Announced that lower-end Model S and Model X vehicles will receive upgrades to improve their acceleration times. (More…)
  • Saw concerns arise over drops in registrations in California and Hong Kong. The local registration reporting lags Tesla’s own sales figures. (More…)
  • Elon Musk showed that Donald Trump isn’t the only one who can do massive deals via Twitter. Tesla has agreed to deliver 100 MW of battery capacity to an Australian utility. If Tesla doesn’t deliver within 100 days, the batteries will be free, showing Tesla is prepared to learn from the takeaway pizza industry. The offer was originally made via a tweet in April (More…)


  • Elon Musk revealed that the Model 3 has passed its regulatory tests and handover to the first (very small) batch of customers will take place in late July. He believes that production could reach 20,000 cars per month by December. (..)
  • Tesla has reportedly signed a preliminary agreement to establish local production in China, near Shanghai. (More…)
  • Tesla’s head of Autopilot has left the company. Statements from both Tesla and the individual appeared to blame a clash of cultures and / or personalities. (More…). The head of hardware engineering also left. (More…)
  • Said that it was actively talking to other carmakers about their vehicles using Supercharger facilities. (More…)
  • Tesla clarified that the recent scheme it unveiled to give free supercharging on vehicles purchased by current Tesla owners will only run until the end of 2017 (unless they extend it again). (..)
  • Tesla has won a contract to supply Australian electricity company Transgrid with Powerpack batteries in order to create energy storage that can be used in times of peak demand. (More…)
  • CEO Elon Musk said that all Tesla supercharger locations were being converted to solar and battery energy with the target of disconnecting “almost all” from the grid. He gave no timeline for achieving this. (..)
  • Said that it was on track to deliver the first production Model 3 next month and the online configurator will be launched at the same time, albeit with limited options. (..)
  • Tesla released Model Y teaser images at its annual shareholder meetings. CEO Elon Musk also reportedly said that a new factory would be required to satisfy demand for the vehicle. The exclusive shots appear to confirm that the vehicle will have a roof, front windshield and fenders. (More…)


  • CEO Elon Musk quit an advisory council to President Trump after Trump announced the start of the process to withdraw the USA from the Paris Accord. (..)
  • The recently launched range of solar roof tiles have apparently been a roaring success and are sold out “well into 2018”. (should have been reported last week). (..)
  • Following Tesla’s recent press release of the steps it takes to manage worker safety, a report by Worksafe (a California not-for-profit) said that the company’s accident rate and lost time due to accidents was higher than industry average. Tesla have argued that their safety record is improving. (..)
  • CEO Elon Musk tweeted his excitement about the next Autopilot software release. He said that the new control algorithm feels “as smooth as silk”. (..)
  • Saw Consumer Reports reinstate some of the points it docked Tesla after Autopilot 2.0’s emergency braking system proved less capable than earlier versions. Tesla still needs to get the system operational at highway speeds to see its Consumer Reports rating returned to the same level it had before Autopilot 2.0 was released. (..)
  • CEO Elon Musk criticised those holding back the advance of autonomous technology saying that they were “killing people”. (..)
  • Announced that all owners who had purchased vehicles since 1st January would be given free supercharging for life (as was the previous arrangement) rather than a capped yearly amount. As of now, new vehicles sold will have the previously announced capped level of 400 kWh per year. Lifetime charging will still be available for buyers in possession of a special referral code. (..)
  • Started taking orders for its solar roof tiles. The proffered warranty period is infinity or the lifetime of the house. (..)
  • Used its blog to publicise its efforts to improve health and safety in its Freemont plant as part of an effort to stop the UAW campaign for worker representation from gaining momentum. (..)
  • Announced it will offer a service to improve local grids through putting Powerwall and Powerpack batteries into people’s homes and then connecting them. Both the homeowners and the company that owns the batteries will be able to use them for demand smoothing. Tesla already has two pilot projects (50 - 100 units) underway and announced a 2,000 unit project with Green Mountain Power. (..)
  • Media reported on the importance of a $360 per share level for Tesla -- it would able the company to swap debt for equity. (..)
  • Saw concerns over customer deposits dropping quarter-over-quarter. (..)
  • Elon Musk said that the Model Y would be launched in either late 2019 or 2020 and use a different platform and more automated production line than the Model 3. (..), he also said that he believes level 5 autonomy will be a reality within the next two years. (More...)
  • Two Tesla executives have been listed as officers at Redwood materials, a recycling company, amid speculation that Tesla had taken a stake in the firm. (..)
  • Tesla owner forums revealed that Tesla have programmed car electronics so that once they have undergone a high number of supercharger hours (superchargers are rated at around 135 kW), the charge rate is permanently capped. In a widely-used example, a vehicle had its charge rate capped at 90 kW, which Tesla technicians told the owner was in order to protect the battery. (..)
  • Updated owner terms and conditions to allow data sharing of “short video clips” in order to improve autonomous driving technology. Tesla said it would store the data in such a way it was impossible to know which car it was from. (..)
  • Media reported on the importance of a $360 per share level for Tesla -- it would able the company to swap debt for equity. (..)
  • Saw concerns over customer deposits dropping quarter-over-quarter. (..)

Q1 Financials (April)

  • Reported Q1 2017 detailed financial results. Automotive revenue of $2.289 billion was up 123% YoY. Automotive gross margin was 27.4%, The business (including the newly consolidated Solar City) made a net loss of $(397) million. Give an update on Model 3 saying it hoped to be producing 5,000 per week “ at some point in 2017” and have increased production to 10,000 units per week at “some point in 2018” (..)
  • Reported Q1 2017 vehicle sales of “just over 25,000” vehicles (of which ~13,450 Model S, 11,550 Model X). This was a record performance although not far above Q3 2016. Sales trend since late 2015 indicates that Model S sales rate may have peaked. Production was reported as 25,418 units - some way below Tesla’s claimed capacity of about 3k units per week (35k units for the same period).


  • Announced that it would double the charging network in 2017 and upgrade existing stations. By the end of the year, Tesla aims to have 10,000 superchargers and 15,000 destination chargers worldwide. (..)
  • Lost its Consumer Reports top rating because it has not installed emergency braking and collision avoidance as standard. Tesla has said that it will install the capability via over the air updates and Consumer Reports may revisit its rating if that happens. (..)
  • At the Vancouver TED conference, Elon Musk teased some details of the Tesla heavy truck and said that four new Gigafactory sites could be announced in 2017. (..)
  • The founder of Grohmann (the German manufacturing engineering company that Tesla recently purchased) has left, reportedly over a dispute about the strategy for the division become exclusive to Tesla and drop existing clients including Daimler and BMW. (..)
  • Saw media speculation that it is putting the launch of the Model 3 at risk by ordering final production tools ahead of the completion of production verification steps. (..)
  • Launched a recall of around 53,000 vehicles in order to repair brake problems caused by faulty parts from supplier Brembo. (..)
  • German media speculation that employees at Tesla’s new German subsidiary (formerly Grohmann Engineering) might strike due to dissatisfaction with their pay. (..)
  • Media reports of a chemical spill at the Gigafactory (battery factory) were revealed to be the spillage of a drum of “standard construction cleaning solvent” rather than any production line related chemicals. (..)
  • Saw a class-action lawsuit launched over the safety of Autopilot 2.0. The lawsuit represents 3 Tesla owners and has been dismissed by the company as disingenuous. (..)
  • Saw speculation, based on Tesla’s applications for building permits in California, that the company might have a design for an automated charging facility. (..)
  • Announced pricing and line-up changes that saw it drop the entry-level 60kWh Model S (which had a 75kWh battery that could be activated for an additional fee) and a drop in the price of the now entry-level 75kWh. (..)
  • Saw criticism in an open letter from shareholders who called for a more independent board of directors. Elon Musk said that he wanted to make the board more independent anyway and compared Tesla’s governance favourably to Ford. (..)
  • Elon Musk said that Tesla will unveil its Semi Truck (heavy goods vehicle) in September, saying that the company had done an “amazing job” He also said that the pickup truck would be unveiled in 18 to 24 months. (..)
  • Substantial media coverage of Tesla overtaking Ford and GM stock market valuations following its Q1 delivery figures (Source)
  • Absence of concrete data saw speculation around Model 3 pricing, one analyst reportedly used information on almost 8,000 Model 3 reservation holders to arrive at a revenue of between $45,000 and $55,000 per vehicle. Elon Musk has previously spoken of revenue in the low $40k range. (Source)


  • Announced that Chinese internet company Tencent had purchased a 5% stake in Tesla.
  • Elon Musk reportedly said that the Model Y and new Roadster will not arrive “for a few years yet”
  • Software release 8.1 enabled further capabilities in Autopilot, which is reportedly now using 2 of the 8 cameras in latest-specification vehicles in active mode. New features include: Summon (car moves in and out of parking spot without the driver), Higher speed auto steering (80mph vs 55mph), Auto Lane Changing (only when auto steer is active).
  • Announced that Tesla models receive a sketchpad app in the v8.1 software release by publishing a picture of a farting unicorn (sounds like a bad April fool’s joke)
  • Tesla’s VP of Autopilot Vision, David Nistér, has left to join Nvidia.