Tesla’s Promises, Q1/2018

From the Tesla First Quarter 2018 Update: (Outlook only, excluding non-car items)

“During Q2, we expect to shut down production for about 10 days, which includes the shutdown we took in April, to address bottlenecks across the lines and increase production to new levels. Our goal is to produce approximately 5,000 Model 3 vehicles per week in about two months.

LATE.  Per Bloomberg Model 3 Tracker, Tesla first exceeding 5,000/week in August 2018.

We are in the process of changing the quarterly production pattern of Model S and X vehicles for the various worldwide regions to ensure a more linear flow of deliveries through the quarter. We believe this will provide a better customer experience and reduce the stress on our delivery system. Consequently, [1] Model S and X deliveries in Q2 will likely be similar to Q1 but [2] should pick up considerably in Q3 to [3] achieve our goal of 100,000 deliveries for the full year.

[1] SUCCESS/SLIGHT MISS(?) Tesla delivered 25,000 Model S/X vehicles in Q1 and 22,000 Model S/X vehicles in Q2.  It is arguable whether being ~12.5% off is “similar to” or not.

[2] TBD. We will find out in Q3.

[3] TBD. We will find out in Q4.

Our long-term gross margin target of 25% for Model 3 has not changed. In the medium term, we expect to achieve slightly lower margin due to higher labor content in certain areas of manufacturing where we have temporarily dialed back automation, as well as higher material costs from recently imposed tariffs, commodity price increases and a weaker US dollar. On the other hand, our average selling price is significantly higher than prior projections, so we expect to achieve higher gross profit per vehicle than we previously estimated.

TBD. We will find out in 2019.  The goal is ambiguous since no timeline was set.

With increasing capacity for Powerwall and Powerpack products at Gigafactory 1, energy generation and storage revenues should continue to grow significantly throughout the year. Energy storage gross margins should therefore become positive in the second half of 2018. Our solar business is likely to experience mild growth for another quarter or two before our revised sales strategy starts to show its full impact in final deployments.

UNTRACKED. I don’t care about non-car items, frankly.

[1] Quarterly non-GAAP operating expenses should grow sequentially at approximately the same rate as in the past four quarters, with our [2] gross profit expected to grow much faster than our operating expenses.

[1] SUCCESS. From Q2: “Non-GAAP operating expenses in Q2 increased by roughly 3% compared to Q1 excluding the restructuring costs and stock based compensation.” In line with prior quarters.

[2] SUCCESS.  OpEx grew 8% or 18% sequentially, depending if you include one-time costs.  Gross profit grew 36% q/q.

Thus, provided that we hit the 5,000 unit milestone in our projected timeframe and execute to the rest of our plan, we will at least be profitable in Q3 and Q4 excluding non-cash stock based compensation and we expect to achieve full GAAP profitability in each of those quarters as well. Also, considering our capex targets, we expect to generate positive cash in Q3 and Q4, including the inflow of cash that we receive in the normal course of our business from financing activities on leased vehicle and solar products.

TBD. We will find out in Q3 & Q4.

We have significantly cut back our capex projections by focusing on the critical near-term needs that benefit us primarily in the next couple of years. At this stage, we are expecting total 2018 capex to be slightly below $3 billion, which is below the total 2017 level of $3.4 billion. Ultimately, our capex guidance will develop in line with Model 3 production and profitability. We will be able to adjust our capital expenditures significantly depending on our operating cash generation.

Likely success: Tesla has subsequently lowered Cap Ex guidance in Q2/2018.

Interest expenses in Q2 should amount to roughly $160 million and losses attributable to non-controlling interest should remain in line with the last quarter.

I don’t care.  (Interest costs were $158.5 million, but who cares.)