Date
11 December 2017
The Tesla Roadster will be the fastest production car available. The first 1,000 cars will cost US$250,000 each, paid in full upfront. Photo: Reuters
The Tesla Roadster will be the fastest production car available. The first 1,000 cars will cost US$250,000 each, paid in full upfront. Photo: Reuters

Tesla’s unfettered ambition will drain finances: analysts

Tesla Inc may have to ask creditors and shareholders for more capital to fund development of an electric semi truck, a new roadster and accelerated production of a high-volume electric sedan, Reuters reports, citing analysts.

Musk unveiled one flashy strategy for generating cash during the launch event Thursday for the Semi truck, surprising the audience with a prototype of a new generation of the Tesla Roadster. Musk promised the Roadster will be the fastest production car available. The first 1,000 cars will cost US$250,000 each, paid in full upfront, with later models starting at $200,000.

Those deposits would put $250 million into Tesla’s cash drawer today for a car that is likely to go into production in 2020.

Musk did not offer details about how Tesla would generate additional funds to deliver the semi truck and the roadster, and overcome production problems that have hobbled production of the company’s high-volume sedan, the Model 3.

Tesla spent US$1.1 billion on its auto business in the third quarter, and expects expenses of US$1 billion in the current one. It had about US$3.5 billion in cash and cash equivalents as of Sept. 30.

At the current cash-burn rate, it would likely be down to about US$1 billion in cash by the end of the first quarter.

“In essence, all last night’s event did was add to Elon Musk’s shopping list of things he needs to spend money on at a time when the company is having difficulty making its base vehicle (Model 3),” said Cowen analyst Jeffrey Osborne.

Despite such concerns, Tesla shares were up about 1.4 percent at mid-day. While the shares are up more than 40 percent this year, they have fallen 20 percent from record highs in mid-September.

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