Tesla Motors is apparently preparing to go public, and as part of that effort has been circulating an "IPO roadshow" video that shows how future vehicles could be built using the company's electric-car technology. A preliminary prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission indicates that Tesla Motors has sold 1,063 Tesla Roadsters and secured 2,200 reservations for its super-sporty Model S. Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were major early investors in Tesla Motors.
Tesla Motors showed off potential future vehicles built on the company's
electric-car technology, including a minivan and an SUV, as it prepares to
launch an IPO.
An "IPO roadshow"
circulating online details Tesla Motors' strategy, including the use
of an "adaptable common platform" and "common powertrain" to eventually, should
the broader market opportunity exist, create electric vehicles such as a sedan,
cabriolet, van or some sort of SUV. The
company currently markets a sporty Tesla Roadster
and is taking
reservations for the even sportier, and still zero-emission, Tesla Model S. As
far as sports cars go, your Tesla will be absolutely smoked by, say, a Bugatti Veyron
, but the
knowledge that you're leaving less of a carbon footprint will make it all
Comparisons to internal-combustion cars notwithstanding, Tesla Motors is
angling to position itself as a forefront player in the growing electric-car
movement. An IPO seems imminent, according to the rumor mill, perhaps within
the next week.
preliminary prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission
June 15 indicates that, as of March 31, Tesla Motors had sold 1,063 Tesla
Roadsters to individuals in 22 countries. By that same date, some 2,200
customers had reserved their Model S, which the company suggested will have "a
significantly broader customer base than the Tesla Roadster." The Model S will
apparently begin volume production in 2012, with a target of approximately
20,000 vehicles per year, and sell for $49,900 in the United
States with a federal tax credit.
That prospectus also talks about how the company's underlying technology can
be applied "to a variety of vehicle applications," including selling components
such as battery packs and chargers to other auto manufacturers. Part of the
plan involves using "the Model S platform to cost efficiently launch new
electric vehicle models subsequent to the start of production of the Model S."
Despite that note of heady optimism, the paper contains a long list of risk
factors, including the fact that Tesla Motors has "a history of losses and we
expect significant increases in our costs and expenses to result in continuing
losses for at least the foreseeable future." Also, "our production model for
the non-powertrain portion of the Model S is unproven, still evolving and is
very different from the non-powertrain portion of the production model for the
Those issues could potentially be compounded by Tesla Motors head Elon Musk,
the co-founder of PayPal, admitting in the course of divorce proceedings that
he is, in fact, broke. "About four months ago, I ran out of cash," reads the
Musk quote circulating online, including
on The New York Times' DealBook blog
. The admission has raised questions
about his ability to keep Tesla Motors solvent, particularly once it goes
Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were major early investors in
Tesla Motors, which first revealed its prototype for the Model S in March 2009.
The zero-emission vehicle can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in under 6 seconds
and hit a top speed of 130 miles an hour, and features a 17-inch touch screen
with 3G connectivity and Google Maps.
"This is just the first of many mainstream cars we're developing," Musk said
in a statement at the time, before going on to compare the ownership cost of
the Model S to that of "a gasoline car with a sticker price of $35,000" once
the lower cost of electricity versus the likely future cost of gasoline was
taken into account.