Tesla Moves to Build the Model Y After a Gangbusters 2018

WIRED | 1/31/2019 | Alex Davies
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Tesla closed out an action-packed 2018 with a profitable fourth quarter, coming out $139.48 million in the black, the electric car company announced today. And while that fell short of Wall Street expectations and left Tesla down nearly a billion dollars on the year, it’s a sign of momentum. This is the first time Elon Musk’s automaker has posted profits in consecutive quarters since going public in 2010.

To keep things going, Tesla is focusing its efforts on a few key areas, Musk said on an earnings call: reining in costs, improving its service operations, getting Model 3 sedans to customers in Europe and China, and preparing for production of the Model Y, the as-yet-unseen midsize SUV that will follow the Model 3.

Quarters - Thanks - Part - Tesla - Ability

Those two profitable quarters are thanks in large part to Tesla’s ability to ramp up production of the Model 3 to a rate of more than 5,000 cars a week. For 2019, Musk said, he hopes to keep that up, and increase it to 7,000 cars a week or more. That effort will get a boost when the factory Tesla has started building in Shanghai is up and running, but for now the cars heading to China and Europe are being built in California. Tesla’s working to improve the logistics of those delivery operations, Musk said, in an effort to keep its costs down. And that’s key to converting fans into owners, especially since Tesla has lost access to the $7,500 tax credit the US federal government offers for electric cars.

“The demand for Model 3 is insanely high,” Musk said. “The inhibitor is affordability. It’s just that people literally don’t have the money to buy the car.” Indeed, the cheapest version of the car now available costs more than $40,000.

True - Form - Musk - Demand

True to braggadocious form, Musk predicted that demand for the...
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