Sales in the quarter jumped to US$3.29bn from US$2.28bn in the year-ago period, while it also hinted that it was heading towards operating profitability.
Tesla booked a record loss of $675 million in the fourth quarter, up from a $121 million loss a year earlier. Tesla said that its deliverers will be 100,000 Model S and Model X deliveries, that nearly same as of 2017, and in 2017 the cheaper Model 3 was nearly completely unavailable.
The company also thanked "Model 3 suppliers and our customers, who have continued to be such great partners and advocates, while patiently waiting as the ramp continues to accelerate", but it is hard to say how much longer customers would continue to remain patient, especially keeping in mind that Tesla has pushed back the delivery time for the Model 3 by as much as 9 months, and that too, without mentioning it in the earnings call. In a letter to shareholders, Tesla said it continued to target Model 3 production rate of 5,000 sedans a week by the end of the second quarter.
"If we can send a roadster to the asteroid belt we can probably solve Model 3 production", Musk said on today's earnings call, referencing the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch yesterday.
In Q4, Tesla delivered 28,425 Model S and Model X vehicles and 1,542 Model 3 vehicles, totalling 29,967 deliveries.
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The company now has to turn Model 3 production up a lot. "This enabled us to reduce our finished-goods inventory to the lowest level in about 18 months".
Model 3. Image source: Tesla. Tesla introduced the Powerwall, a key piece of the puzzle of electric vehicles and home solar energy generation. It has 330 store and service locations worldwide.
But unlike with other doomed companies posting dire losses quarter after quarter, Tesla revenues have been sizable.
In Q4, Tesla deployed 143 MWh of energy storage products, growing 45 percent from Q4 2016.
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Energy generation and storage revenue decreased 6 percent sequentially. Used auto sales was the main driver of this year-over-year growth.
2018 will be a transformative year for Tesla, with a high level of operational scaling.
Moving ahead, the company sees its revenue growth for this year to significantly exceed last year's growth rate.
Management targets 100,000 Model S and X deliveries in 2018. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 27 billion devices in just 3 years, creating a $1.7 trillion market.
Tesla Inc. (TSLA) shares rose more than 2% late Wednesday after the Silicon Valley vehicle maker posted a narrower-than-expected adjusted fourth-quarter less and kept a key target for the Model 3 in place. The non-GAAP automotive gross margin, which excludes stock-based compensation and zero emission vehicle credits, was 13.8%. It's a stance that provokes a lot of debate among experts in the field, many of whom, including former Tesla employees, disagree that full autonomy can be managed with a sensor load out that doesn't include LiDAR. Additionally, Superchargers will start generating revenue in 2018 with pay per use charging primarily by Model 3 customers.
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Now, however, Tesla says that it has turned a corner.