Tesla

almanis forecast markets:
How many vehicles will Tesla deliver in 2016?
Will Tesla’s Gigafactory begin producing battery cells for use in the Model 3 before 30th June, 2017?
Will Tesla successfully deliver its mass market electric car (Model 3) by the end of 2017?
Will Tesla receive 600,000 or more pre-orders for the Model 3?

Tesla Motors, the automotive branch of billionaire Elon Musk’s drive to own the coming century, is famed for its staggeringly ambitious development goals and almost-as-staggeringly impressive results. Having recently released their vehicle production and delivery numbers for the second quarter, now would be as good a time as any to run through our four questions concerning the futuristic car company.

Note that despite reporting a second consecutive quarter of missed delivery targets, Tesla are sticking to a target of 80k vehicles delivered this year. That’s still within the target range announced back in February. Our market is more skeptical, centring on the 75k-80k region. Tesla, it is often argued, is a company maintaining a valuation based on its projected emergence as a mass-scale player in the auto market. It more-or-less has to retain an unflinchingly positive outlook.

However, others argue that its valuation matters less given the company’s incredible ability to secure deposits for its new vehicles. According to the latest announcements, almost 400k orders for the Model 3 have been received – at $1,000 a pop. Although these deposits are refundable, that’s equivalent to almost $400m in upfront, interest-free funding and over $16bn in firm sales orders. With cash flow like that, who needs investors?! Elon Musk has stated that he expects to hit 500k orders before the “part two” Model 3 unveiling later this year (we don’t know the date yet). Our market gives him a reasonable chance of hitting 600k by year-end.

So when will Tesla actually start delivering new Model 3s to these eager customers? Tesla say US deliveries will begin in “late 2017”. Our market suggests they are far from certain to meet this promise. If delays in delivery begin to occur, how many customers might decide to call for a refund of their $1,000 deposits.

Finally, we need to address the key potential technological bottleneck facing Tesla – the firing up of its new Gigafactory and the production of battery units for the Model 3. Again, all the talk from within Tesla and their battery partner Panasonic has been positive. Production is slated to begin this year and ramp up to full capacity by the end of the decade. By then they’ll be pumping out battery cells “faster than bullets from a machine gun” according to Musk. That man certainly knows how to pitch, but our market suggests there’s still some chance they won’t have their batteries rolling out by June next year.

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