Tesla’s financial woes continue even as the Californian company sets jaw-dropping records for sales of its electric Model 3 saloon across continental Europe and predicts the imminent arrival of autonomous ‘robotaxis’.
CEO Elon Musk predicted three months ago that Tesla would make a profit in the first financial quarter of this year. Instead, it posted one of its worst three-month results, losing $702 million (£545m).
Musk blamed delays in Model 3 production, as well as losses caused by a slip in residual values for its ageing Model S and Model X cars. Tesla has posted a profit in only four quarters since 2010 and has never had a profitable year.
Demand might be cooling in the US, but not for Europe, at least for the new Model 3. Across Europe, according to car industry analyst Jato Dynamics, 14,652 Model 3s were registered in March, an astonishing result that surpassed sales of the BMW 3 Series and the Audi A4 (estate and saloon). Of that number, 5315 were sold in Norway, Europe’s leading electric car market, giving the Model 3 a staggering 29% of the market.
Next year, Tesla will start selling an SUV version of the Model 3, the Model Y, and Musk recently predicted that it would ultimately become more popular than the Model S, Model X and Model 3 combined.
However, problems are mounting up for Tesla. As well as finishing the Model Y, it needs to find money to complete a new factory in Shanghai, China, scheduled to start later this year, as well as develop the new Roadster sports car and an electric truck, the Tesla Semi. A recent video from China showing an early Model S apparently spontaneously catching fire has also (literally) reignited safety fears surrounding its cars.