Tesla Death Watch 2: Money for Nothing and Your EVs for $120k

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

CNET reports that Tesla Motors Chairman (but not founder) Elon Musk sat down with Mike Malone for a little public chinwag. Malone is the author of "Infinite Loop: How Apple, the World's Most Insanely Great Computer Company, Went Insane." So you'd think he'd make Musk squirm. How big is the EV market? How much profit per car? How much are you guys spending? Nope. "During his interview on stage… [Musk] talked about his three long-time passions: the Internet, renewable energy, and space exploration… Clearly a pioneer in these fields, Musk has bold predictions for these markets. One is that he will put a man on Mars by 2030. Though he admitted that might not come true by then." And now, let's follow the money! "Before the IPO.. Musk said he will raise a series E round of financing to bring the company to profitability and begin production on Tesla's luxury electric sedan codenamed White Star, by 2010. The goals will be reached by selling a roughly 10 percent stake in the company in the series E round, and through a Department of Energy loan of between $100 million and $200 million, Musk said. A future IPO would raise on the order of $100 million." If he's successful, settle back and get comfortable; it's going to be a long ride.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Y2kdcar Y2kdcar on May 20, 2008

    The code name for the electric luxury car seems oddly appropriate, considering that White Star was the cruise line that commissioned the Harland and Wolff shipyards to build the Titanic.

  • BuckD BuckD on May 20, 2008

    I'm already tired of the Tesla Deathwatch. I almost want Tesla to go out of business just so I don't have to see a listing of the post anymore. How about TTAC gets all meta and starts up a Tesla Deathwatch Deathwatch?

  • MgoBLUE MgoBLUE on May 20, 2008

    I'm surprised at how small those numbers are. Who IPO's for $100M these days? Tesla has to already be $500M+ deep. What's another $100M gonna get 'em? A ticker symbol? I did not know the DOE gave out loans. I'm going to give 'em a call to see how much I qualify for. Thanks RF!

  • Hunter Hunter on May 22, 2008

    MgoBLUE, it just says the IPO would be "on the order of" $100M. So, it could be anywhere under $1B and still fit that description; other sources I've read put the likely figure at about $250M, which seems more reasonable...that plus the DOE loan could more than double their capital. Last I heard they were around $300M in, not quite the half billion you guess. guyincognito, while it's true that it costs around $1B to develop most cars these days, a great deal of that cost is tied up in the internal combustion drivetrain. You take a few thousand moving parts out of the vehicle and replace them with under 10 (and don't forget the Tesla drivetrain and battery development are already done), and the development cost drops off quite a bit. Not that I'm claiming Tesla can get the Whitestar out on this much funding (the big expense is going to be this new plant in Albuquerque) but I would bet that when (if) it's all said and done they won't have spent nearly the kind of development money that a major spends on a new model.