What's Next for Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA)?

Written By Brianna Panzica

Posted September 11, 2012

Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) surprised everyone when the company, previously known for its expensive electric sports car called the Roadster, came out with the design for its electric sedan, the Model S.

The Model S, in its most basic form, was half the price of the Roadster at $49,900, though limited edition options could bring it up above $100,000.

Perhaps the most exciting thing about the car was the fact that it had a range of 480 miles – one of the best to date.

And CEO Elon Musk says it will soon do even more than that:

“I think it can be even better. The Tesla Supercharger, to be unveiled in a few months, will do a lot more than anyone expects.”

Though this cryptic statement hasn’t completely been deciphered, it’s possible that he’s referring to the fact that this Supercharger will recharge a Model S to a 300-mile capacity in as little as an hour. He had also previously indicated that there might be solar panels involved in the Supercharger system.

But now Elon Musk is surprising everyone again. At his shareholders meeting in June, Musk revealed that the company, which continues to see losses as it manufactures its electric vehicle, will be profitable by next year.

When critics jumped at this bold claim, Musk assured them that all the company needs to do is meet sales expectations.

Of course, it may even be simpler than that. The company currently has over 12,000 orders for the Model S, but the break-even point is 8,000 sales. It already has enough orders to earn a positive cash flow.

Even if sales don’t reach the expected 25,000 level Tesla has predicted between 2012 and 2013, it’s guaranteed to begin earning a profit.

The company will continue to impress consumers in the years to come. It’s already revealed the design for its Model X, an electric crossover SUV that can seat seven and will be priced similarly to the Model S.

Deliveries for the Model X will begin in 2014, and then the company expects to sell 35,000 of the vehicle.

Musk also said in the shareholder meeting that the next car could be a Model E. Some have speculated that this “E” refers to “economical,” hinting at an affordable version of an electric car that the company had been discussing for a while.

He actually came pretty close to confirming this, while also discussing a project even further in Tesla’s future. On being asked if the company is considering an electric supercar:

“Yes, we will do an electric supercar at some point. It was going to happen right after the Model X, but it is more important to the world that we do a more affordable electric car. Hopefully, we will get to an electric supercar in 4 to 5 years.”

When Tesla does enter the supercar business, it could give Ferrari and Lamborghini a run for their money. It will likely cost under $200,000 and be able to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in much less than 3.9 seconds, the Roadster’s sprint time.

Musk also indicated at the end of August that he was considering creating a parent company to encompass the stocks of both Tesla Motors and his privately-held Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX), a rocket launch business.

SpaceX, which sent a spacecraft to supply the International Space Station and earned $440 million to help the U.S. government with more cargo missions, may go public next year.

No plans have begun for this holding company, but Musk has indicated that it could be on the table in the future.

Tesla has come a long way from its conception in 2003 by a group of electric vehicle engineers. It took the company five years to get its first model off the ground and four more years to release its newest, less-expensive vehicle. And now that it’s gained traction, there’s little to stop its rapid acceleration of success.

That’s all for now,

Brianna Panzica

follow basic@brianna_panzica on Twitter

Energy & Capital’s modern energy guru, Brianna digs deep into the industry with accurate and insightful updates into the biggest energy companies and events. She stays up to date with the latest market moves and industry finds, bringing readers a unique view of current energy trends.

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