Revenues of electric car company Tesla Motors, Inc. have doubled in the fourth quarter of 2010 compared with the same period a year earlier, although it posted wider net losses for the year due to increased spending on research and development of its electric vehicles.
The California-based electric car company saw its net loss increase 177 percent last year, swelling to $154.3 million in 2010 from $55.7 million in 2009. Net loss for the fourth quarter ending December 31 was $51.4 million from $34.9 million in the previous quarter.
Tesla chief executive Elon Musk is pinning his hopes of recovery from these losses with the upcoming Model S sedan. At around $50,000, it’s roughly half the price of the company’s flagship Roadster which could allow more consumers to consider the Tesla brand and boost sales.
The company confirmed that it is on track to deliver the Model S in mid-2012. The company said it already has received more than 3,700 reservations for the Model S.
Tesla spent over $17 million of manufacturing equipment and spare parts to revive Toyota’s former car factory in Fremont, California. The Nummi plant, which stood for New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. will be the main manufacturing facility of the Model S and a planned crossover vehicle called Model X whose details are yet to be revealed.
Despite losses, gross revenues for the fourth quarter remained buoyant, jumping to $36.3 million from $18.6 million in 2009. On a full year basis, 2010 gross revenues were $116.7 million, a 4 percent improvement on the same quarter in 2009 at $111.9 million.
Tesla said that deals with Daimler AG and Toyota Motor Corporation helped its quarter revenue rise as much as 95 percent year-on-year. Daimler has increased its battery pack orders to 1,800 sets from 1,500 sets for the Smart Fortwo electric vehicle.
Tesla also hooked up with Toyota last quarter to make an electric version of the RAV 4 compact sports utility vehicle. The deal will generate up to $69 million in development services revenue for Tesla over the next four to five quarters.
Tesla also reported that Panasonic had completed purchase of 1,418,573 shares of common stock totalling $30 million. Both companies have teamed up to develop nickel-based lithium ion battery cells designed specifically for electric vehicles.