Elon Musk has promised he will make an “exciting” announcement tomorrow, but Tesla Motors issued two bits of news late last night to add to whatever we’ll learn about on Tuesday. First off, sales of the Model S have “exceeded the target provided in the mid February shareholder letter” by 250 units. Second, sales of the low-end 40-kWh Model S were so low that the model has been scrapped.
In February, Tesla said in a shareholder letter that it expected “about 4,500 deliveries in
Q1″ of 2013. It has instead sold 4,750 and it is thus “amending its Q1 guidance to full profitability, both GAAP and non-GAAP.” The company is now delivering 500 vehicles a week, up from 400 not too long ago. We now have to wonder it the original estimate of 20,000 sales in 2013 will also change.
“Only four percent of customers chose the 40 kWh battery pack, which is not enough to justify production of that version.”
It was just about two months ago that Tesla started delivering (what had been) the mid-level Model S, which has a 60-kWh battery. The top-of-the-line version uses an 85-kWh pack. As of this writing, the 40-kWH model remains listed on the Tesla website, but apparently, “only four percent of customers chose the 40 kWh battery pack, which is not enough to justify production of that version.” What about those four percent? They will get a 60-kWh model that “will be software limited to 40 kWh. It will still have the improved acceleration and top speed of the bigger pack, so will be a better product than originally ordered, and can be upgraded to the range of the 60 kWh upon request by the original or a future owner.” Originally, the 40-kWh model was supposed start deliveries in the middle of 2013.
Lastly, Tesla revealed that every 60-kWh Model S – where Supercharging was supposed to be an optional upgrade – has the Supercharging hardware built in. The company calls this a “small Easter egg” (it is based in Silicon Valley, after all) and says it “is taking a slight cost risk that ultimately all customers will want to buy the Supercharger upgrade and receive unlimited, free long distance travel for life. Even for those that never drive long distances, this will improve the resale value of their car to people that do.” This means that every Model S out there will have Supercharging, and Tesla has already said all future vehicles will have the fast-charging technology as well, so it is a technology the company believes in.
So, after all this, what will Musk’s big announcement be tomorrow?
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