Last week, Tesla announced plans to sell up to US$500 million of stock, but the offer was raised to $US640 million, presumably after a re-think on reduced cash reserves and the company’s commitment to several large projects including the Model X, an SUV based on the Model S sedan, and a lithium-ion battery plant in Nevada, dubbed Gigafactory.
In 2017, the company also plans to launch the new entry-level Model 3 sedan, which is expected open up a whole new market for the electric carmaker.
With the advent of the all-new Model X, Tesla faces a brand-new set of challenges; for the first time the company will build two models on one assembly line, meaning, the robots have to be re-programmed to handle the new manufacturing process.
According to Musk, the Model X is a challenging car to build.
“In terms of programming the robots, it varies quite a bit in terms of … how difficult that programming is. The Model X may be the hardest car to build in the world.”
Part of that process has involved the building of a number of Model X vehicles (for validation), which will never actually be roadworthy, just to teach Tesla’s 500 robots how to assemble the aluminium body panels.
Tesla has already stated that it intends to achieve sales volumes of around 500,000 vehicles by 2020, with an intended range of at least three models, including the new entry-level Model 3.
Total production for the first half of 2015 hit 21,562 Model S sedans, with third quarter sales expected to mirror last quarter’s results of 12,807, exceeding the company’s target of 12,500.
Tesla intends to launch the Model X in September, with Musk forecasting gross unit sales ramping up to between 1600 and 1800 per week in 2016. That would imply around 22,000 units per quarter next year.