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by Tim Beissmann

Tesla Motors recorded a $US51.4 million net loss in the fourth quarter of 2010, taking the fledgling EV company’s total 2010 net loss to $US154.3 million.

Revenue for the final quarter of the year was $US36.3 million, and for the whole year revenue hit $US116.7 million, climbing marginally from $US111.9 million in 2009.

Tesla’s loss in 2009 was only $US55.7 million, around $100 million less than in 2010.

Despite the deepening losses, Tesla Motors CEO, Elon Musk, said he was not concerned about the company’s fortunes.

“We are very pleased to report continued revenue growth, improving margins and a steady progression in our Roadster and powertrain activities,” Mr Musk said.

The results come as no surprise.

The only Tesla product currently available is the Roadster 2.5, a niche electric supercar with a price tag of $US109,000 in North America and $206,188 in Australia.

Tesla delivered its 1500th Roadster during the fourth quarter, and demand is expected to increase this year as the model draws closer to the end of production, due for 2012.

Tesla is currently investing significant amounts into its future vehicle line-up, which will include the new Model S sedan in 2012 and the Model X SUV in the not too distant future, both of which will be considerably more affordable than the Roadster.

“The highlight of the quarter was our on-time completion of the first drivable Model S alpha [prototype vehicle],” said Mr Musk.

“The quality and level of refinement of the alpha demonstrates the superb job of our design, vehicle engineering and powertrain teams. They have embraced the opportunity to build an EV from the ground up and have produced a vehicle which shows great potential to deliver superior aerodynamics, stability and handling, crash safety, performance and range.

“We believe the Model S is well on its way toward becoming the vehicle of choice for 2012.”

Tesla has already received more than 3700 orders for the Model S. A concept version of the Model X is set to be unveiled before the end of the year.

Mr Musk explained in 2011, Tesla would benefit from increased sales of battery packs to Daimler for use in the smart fortwo electric (up from 1500 to 1800), and would also receive payment for developing the electric motor, battery pack, transmission, charger and software for the RAV4 EV, which goes on sale in 2012.

“Our powertrain team delivered solid results, with an increase in orders and record deliveries of battery packs and chargers for the Daimler smart fortwo electric drive, the completion of our development program for the Daimler A-Class, and the commencement of the Phase One development program for the Toyota RAV4 EV.”

Tesla eventually aims to produce a full range of EVs, from premium sports cars to mass-market vehicles.




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