Tesla posts wider loss, highlights energy storage demand

Wed May 6, 2015 7:58pm EDT
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By Joseph White

(Reuters) - Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA.O: Quote) reported a wider first-quarter net loss on Wednesday, but outperformed expectations and stuck to key milestones for the year ahead, despite pressure on margins.

Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said during a conference call that demand for the company's new line of stationary energy storage systems, unveiled last week, is "off the hook."

Over time, it was possible stationary storage could be a bigger business for Tesla than selling cars, he added.

Tesla said in a letter to shareholders on Wednesday that "total addressable market size for Tesla Energy products is enormous and much easier to scale globally than vehicle sales."

Musk said last week that the stationary battery storage systems could be “materially profitable” sometime next year.

The shares of the Silicon Valley electric car maker rose about 2 percent after hours from their close of $230.43.

The challenges confronting Tesla's auto business were illustrated by the company's continued cash burn and signs of pressure on profit margins.

Tesla's cash reserves fell to $1.5 billion as of March 31 from $1.9 billion at the end of 2014. The company said it plans a total of $1.5 billion in capital spending this year, much of it to buy production tools for the Model X, complete its large battery “gigafactory” in Nevada, and for other facilities.   Continued...

A row of Tesla Model S sedans are seen outside the company's headquarters in Palo Alto, California April 30, 2015. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage