Three things to listen for on Tesla’s 3Q earnings call

Tesla Motors releases its third-quarter earnings Wednesday after the market close. In July, Tesla told investors it expects to be able to deliver about 7,800 Model S vehicles in the third quarter and should exceed 35,000 Model S deliveries for the year.

Tesla does not disclose deliveries by region, but North America has traditionally been its largest market, followed by Europe and Asia (China and Japan). CEO Elon Musk’s recent tweet about September being a record high world wide has analyst Brian Johnson of Barclay’s now expecting a 3Q delivery beat. And now that the Tesla Model S is available in the “D” version, some customers may be reconfiguring their cars to get the D.

So what else, besides deliveries and updates to full-year guidance, should investors and Tesla enthusiasts listen for on the call?

1. Where’s the Model X? Tesla’s new assembly line in Fremont has the capacity to build both the Model S and the Model X, and in July Tesla said that “development efforts remain on track for production of Model X in the spring of 2015.” That suggests that deliveries may not begin in earnest until the summer; analyst Andrew Fung of CLSA thinks the launch of the Model X may be several months later than anticipated. Worldwide reservations for the Model X, which was designed with women in mind, are supposedly strong and north of 20,000; any information about beta versions, timing and reservations would be of interest.

2. China: Tesla is taking on the world’s largest auto market, and Musk has described China as a “wild card” in the company’s future. Analysts bemoan the lack of strong data from China about sales and deliveries, so everyone’s estimate is just that – an estimate. Anything Musk says about demand in China, the number of stores planned and the growing Supercharger network there is important.

3. Gigafactory: Tesla’s planned Gigafactory outside of Reno, Nevada is key to the master plan of driving down battery costs and bringing a more affordable Gen 3 to the masses. According to an economic impact study released by Nevada,the company would build out in four phases beginning with 700 jobs in phase 1 in 2015. The company has jobs listed, including for a Gigafactory Architect. Nevada was chosen because of its low tax structure and speed; any update to the construction timeline would be welcome.

What did I miss? What are you listening for? Let me know at dhull@mercurynews.com.

Tesla’s Model X; image from Tesla’s website.

 

 

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  • Wouldn’t mind hearing more about Tesla’s certified used program. I like the idea of Tesla direct-selling the same cars a second time.

    • Roy R Crockett

      What is the warranty, or is there any life cycle of the battery platform before
      it needs replacement? Estimated cost? I presume they don’t last forever.
      Two or more owners, previously owned Teslas, would best be sold through
      Tesla Motor Co., I believe. That way, new warranties could be issued.
      I look for new super charger locations. They should be announced by Tesla
      more prominently. Missoula, MT, was a kick to read.

 
 
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