Tesla’s Future Paid For

Tesla Motors
Tesla Motors

The Model S of Tesla, which was unveiled to the world three years ago, has been enjoying on the success of its predecessor, the Roadster. Because of this, many individual owners to be have plunked down money to be on the list of first adopters of this new technology.

This serves as the bank for Tesla, as it collected nearly $61 million in down payments in 2011 alone, up from just $5 million in 2010. When Tesla started out it used up vast loads of cash because technology development did not come cheap, like many other start up companies. In its first nine years, the clientele of the carmaker includes stars such as George Clooney, Will I. Am of the Black Eyed Peas and others. It also heavily used government grants as well as stock investment to have operating capital.

Now, the down payments made by future Tesla owners have become its source of funds to continue its operations. If this pool of cash were unavailable, the company would have used up $175 million instead of just $114 million to date. The danger though, would be the cash flow suddenly drying up should there be production delays and other issues that face the Model S. There is also greater fiscal scrutiny for the loan grants provided to the company in the wake of the Solyndra bankruptcy last year.

As of the moment, the deposits are also a reflection of the strong demand for the Model S Sedan. Tesla reports that the vehicle would be able to take off from zero to sixty miles per hour in just under six seconds, 5.6 seconds in fact. The waiting list stands at 8,000 individual owners and many are awaiting the first ones to be delivered by the summer of 2012.

There is also another vehicle model that the company has begun receiving orders and down payments. This is the Model X, a cross over vehicle with gull wing doors, expected to be available by 2014. Each down payment on the Model S Sedan is pegged at $5,000 for the full price of $57,000 before application of tax credits. Should there be customized features, then the bill increases accordingly.

The main problem with this kind of financing would be the ability of the future client to withdraw their deposits at any time, as there have been no purchase agreements made available for the Model S. Once production starts though, the company is prompting its client base for the need for official contracts for the purchase scheduled for the middle of 2012.

Tesla Unveils Model X

Tesla Motors
Tesla Motors

Tesla continues to blaze the trail in electric vehicle platforms with the unveiling of the Model X. This vehicle is a cross over unit that provides more space than the Model S sedan and its flagship Roadster.

The design was specifically targeting individual consumers that have been searching for a semi-affordable electric vehicle that provides space, power and versatility. This platform is between a sedan and a SUV but Tesla pushes the envelope with rear doors it has dubbed as “Falcon Wings” that would flip up to allow easy ingress or egress from the vehicle.

The doors open upward from a center roof hinge very much like gull wing doors but there’s a second hinge between the roof and the door panel. The interaction of these two hinges makes the doors swing up and then out, allowing for foot of more opening to provide more room to get in and out. When open, the door is tall enough to have someone under six feet to stand upright on the foot well of the car.

According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the Falcon Wings are the largest rear door openings that have been found in a passenger vehicle. The Model X is also expected to retail near the price tag of the Model S at $49,000. In addition, the battery options for the Model X and the Model S would be the same, ranging from 160 miles to 300 mile configurations. The main difference though, the Model X would get about twelve percent less range compared to the Model S because of the greater weight of the former compared to the latter.

According to Musk, “Most cars are pretty blah. This is not.”

Much of the design for the Model X is still under wraps. There have been rumors that much of the design would be taken from the Toyota RAV4, after the Japanese car giant entered into an agreement with Tesla. What the result was entirely different, as the styling of the Model S has been stretched over to the crossover coupe.

The Model X has a third row of seating that can be accessed by sliding the middle row forwards. The vehicle is able to carry up to seven passengers together with their cargo and would have an all wheel drive option. This option is to be offered for the first time by Tesla together with the base rear wheel model option. Because of the electric drive train of the Model X, the car is able to tweak the torque in each wheel to adapt to the changing driving terrain.

The company would begin production of the Model X by 2013 and the deliveries to commence on 2014.