Tesla Motors on an Electric High

Tesla Motors on an Electric High

Excellent news for investors in Tesla Motors was proclaimed recently, when the high-performance electric car company announced that profits were surprisingly flush. In 2012, the company announced a $344.2 million loss, yet for 2013, they will be posting a $103.6 million profit. Tesla Motors attributes their profits to the delivery of 22,477 of its luxury “Model S” sedans. Investors in the company responded by indulging in after-hours trading, sending the already well valued stock soaring as much as 12 percent higher.

Tesla motors has also benefited from a rumored buyout from Apple, and the fortuitous hiring of Kristin Paget, Apple’s own “Hacker Princess.” Paget’s LinkedIn profile shows her new job title as “Security Geek at Tesla.” She has declined to give any more real information, which is perfectly in keeping with the new job title.

For Tesla Motors, hiring Alpha Geeks is simply part of their process. The company itself was started by a computer hardware engineer and a computer software engineer, whose main goal was to use the highest technology possible to build the best car they could. Many outside pundits and automobile magazine writers, seem to believe they have achieved that goal. In fact, Motor Trend Magazine named the Model S their 2013 “Car of the Year.” Customers and investors seem to be on that boat too, if sales figures in stock prices are any indication.

Having an unwavering dedication to “high-tech” allows Tesla Motors to perform some very fascinating upgrades, on the fly. During a recent “recall” on some of Tesla’s sold units, the cars themselves did not have to return to the original dealer’s service departments. Which means Tesla can give an electric high to its customers, as well.

Tesla Motors on an Electric High

The recall itself was actually a software upgrade, which was performed virtually. The recall itself involved the Universal Mobile Connector (UMC) used to charge the Tesla Model S vehicles. Evidently, resistance in the electrical connections were causing excess heat in the adapter. Tesla addressed the issue by sending a software update, which reduced the charging current by 25 percent if it detected fluctuations to the power coming into the vehicle. Owners of the cars which had received the update, simply had to tap the touch screen on the dashboard to acknowledge that their software was 5.8.4 or newer.

Elon Musk, the CEO and face of Tesla Motors, has recently reported that the Palo Alto car company is manufacturing 600 Model S sedans a week. Musk insists that is the minimum number necessary to meet the expected 35,000 sales for 2014. Financial analysts agree that the automaker must increase their sales volume while continually driving down cost per unit, if they wish to remain consistently in the black. Musk predicts that production per week will jump to about 1000 units, once the Fremont factory has been expanded. There are also some supply issues which need to be dealt with, such as battery production.

One of the key items high on Tesla Motors electric list, is ordering so many batteries that that particular production cost is reduced significantly. Musk expects the price he pays for batteries to drop by almost half, in the next three to five years. Those kinds of cost reductions will allow the car company to introduce a new sedan in a few years, which will market for less than $40,000.

By Ben Gaul

Sources:

SFGate     Forbes     LA Times     LA Times 2

Treehugger.com

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