Pta-born Elon Musk's historic space launch


Another quirky touch in images released by Musk's SpaceX, the pioneering space transport contractor behind the monster rocket, was a plaque on the sports car's dashboard that read "Don't Panic", a salute to Douglas Adams' novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Sure enough, it was.

And, most importantly, the names of more than 6,000 SpaceX employees, etched on a plaque on the attachment fitting between the Falcon Heavy upper stage and the Tesla. Here are three of the most telling insights from Tesla's fourth-quarter shareholder letter.

Tesla was burning through $8,000 a minute a year ago, according to Bloomberg calculations, and the slower ramp-up of the Model 3 means there's less cash coming in the door.

In 2017 alone, Tesla lost nearly $2 billion, despite reporting a revenue of roughly $12 billion.

Musk said the Model 3 production hell resulted from the company being a little bit overconfident, and a little too complacent about the company's ability to make batteries. Thus, when the Model 3 production hits its full pace, the limit to production would lie in how many trucks can dock after going to and from each factory.

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Tesla opened 12 new store and service locations, for a total of 330 locations around the world at the end of 2017. The company also told some consumers who reserved the base version of the $35,000 auto that their expected delivery dates would be pushed back.

But Tesla said, "Model 3 net reservations remained stable in Q4". (Reports show 28,320 units for the two models were delivered in the fourth quarter.) By contrast, Tesla only delivered 1,550 Model 3 units during the quarter, almost half of the average estimate. Running down the list of achievements he included the launch of its first mass market vehicle, the Model 3, the introduction of an all-electric big rig heavy-duty truck and its next-generation Roadster.

Last summer, Tesla said its deposit-backed net Model 3 reservations were at about 455,000. The Model 3, in particular, has been a headache for the company plagued by "production bottlenecks", delivery delays, and stringent regulations. It may eventually aim for Model Y capacity of 1 million, as it designs the Model Y factory to avoid the issues around Model 3.

For now, this isn't happening. He called 2017 a big year for Tesla.

Model X. Image source: Tesla.

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Alleviating that constraint will get it to the 2,000 to 2,500 production rate.

As our sales network continues to expand to new markets in 2018, we believe orders should continue to grow. Tesla plans to adjust its mix of available options to maximize margins.

Full-year revenues jumped 55% year-on-year to US$11.8bn and Tesla said it expects 2018 sales to "significantly exceed" those achieved in 2017.

When investing geniuses David and Tom Gardner have a stock tip, it can pay to listen.

One said: "It might even have just been another satellite in orbit. Maybe more, but that's the right - roughly the right number, I think".

Active Volume Stock: Royal Dutch Shell plc (NYSE:RDS-A)
Information in this release is fact checked and produced by competent editors of Stocks Pen; however, human error can exist. Zooming in closer, company stock has been 12.45% for the quarter, -0.37% over the past month, and -5.21% over the past week.