Tesla will ship first Model S electric cars a month early

The Model S Betas got buffed between rides.

Electric car company Tesla Motors is continuing to spend heavily to get its second electric car — the Model S — out the door, but it now says the first Model S shipments will happen in June, a month earlier than expected. Tesla detailed its latest financials and unveiled some new details about the progress of the Model S in its first quarter 2012 earnings report on Wednesday.

Initial shipments of the Model S will be small in the first half of the year. In a Q&A session in the earnings call, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk confirmed with an analyst that shipments of the Model S in the first half of the year would be “in the tens.” Musk also said that all of the first shipments would be for the Model S model with the largest battery pack that has a range of 300 miles (there are three versions). Tesla says it now has 10,000 reservations for the Model S.

Last quarter Tesla said that it had started a development program with Daimler to build a new electric Mercedes-Benz vehicle with a Tesla powertrain. This quarter Tesla said that the Mercedes-Benz deal could “exceed in value the sum of all powertrain agreements signed in Tesla history.” Tesla has $ 280 million in third party deals, including the deal with Toyota, said Deepak Ahuja, Tesla’s Chief Financial Officer on a call, and Musk said that the Daimler deal could potentially be “an order of magnitude” greater than that. The Mercedes-Benz electric car could be in production in the 2014 time frame.

Here’s other details you should know about how Tesla is doing:

  • Revenues: Revenues for Q1 2012 were $ 30.17 million, down from $ 49.03 million from the same period the year before.
  • Losses: Net loss for the quarter was $ 89.87 million, which was a higher loss than the $ 48.94 million from the same period the year before.
  • Below street’s estimates but they don’t seem to care: The street expected a smaller loss and more revenues, but Tesla shares rose by over 7 percent in after hours trading to $ 32.05.
  • Model S certification milestones: Model S has been fully certified by the EPA and the state of California, says Tesla, and will get a 89 MPGe. Under the 2-cycle test, the Model S with the largestĀ  battery pack got 320 miles, and under the 5-cycle test, 265 miles.
  • Model S’s built: There have been 50 Beta and about 30 Release Candidate prototypes built of the Model S.
  • The super charger project: Musk hinted that the there would be an announcement about charging in the July time frame — so, he’s hinting at the CA super charging project.
  • Huge in Scandinavia: Musk and Ahuja talked about how reservations and sales have been really strong in Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Denmark due to local incentives. Musk said he expected London to be a hot market, too, because electric vehicle owners don’t have to pay the London congestion charge.
  • Intense time: Musk is splitting his time 50/50 between Tesla and SpaceX and he said on the call that it’s a “kind of intense time right now. I’m not getting a lot of sleep.”
  • Model X: Tesla says it has 1,000 reservations for its electric SUV/minivan cross over.
  • Roadster: 99 Roadsters were delivered in the quarter, and only 250 are left to ship.
  • Model S R&D spending: Tesla spent $ 62.5 million on R&D in the quarter, much of getting the Model S ready for shipping.
  • Toyota RAV4 project: Earlier this week, at an LA auto show, Toyota showed off its electric RAV4 with Tesla’s guts inside. The price, though, seemed rather high for that vehicle (double what the gas RAV4 goes for), and Tesla’s shares dropped temporarily this week on that high price.

Related research and analysis from GigaOM Pro:
Subscriber content. Sign up for a free trial.

  • Ups and downs for cleantech in Q1
  • Tesla’s Model X could make the electric SUV a hit
  • After Solyndra: analyzing the solar industry