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Tesla Model X Crossover reveal and Roadster dropped by year end

Sun, 29 May 2011

Tesla Roadster Production ends in December

We revealed back in November that Tesla intends using the Model S platform to produce a Crossover come SUV to appeal to a more mainstream market than their current ‘Lotus with batteries’ Tesla Roadster.

Having officially sown that seed, Tesla has now revealed that the Tesla Model X will be revealed – in prototype form, of course – by the end of 2011. At pretty much the same time as production of the Tesla Roadster comes to an end.

Which is a bit odd. Tesla did originally say they would end production of the Roadster in 2011, but back-tracked when everyone asked how the could survive with no revenue and said they would continue production of the Roadster in to 2012 until the Model S came on stream. But they’ve changed their minds -again. So how does that work?

How it works is a fair question. Because although Tesla has 4,600 order for the Model S saloon – all with a minimum $5k (refundable) deposit placed - deliveries of the Model S won’t start until at least the middle of 2012.

Which leaves a gap of at least six months with no apparent revenue.

But although Tesla is a car maker, it has a Silicon Valley ethos to business so a lack of revenue is no problem. You just drag a chunk more money in from your trusting investors.

Which explains the announcement that a prototype of the Model X will be revealed by year end and that there will also be a convertible on the same platform.

Because that means you’ve got something to show to back up the plan to issue 5.3 million shares to the public to fund development of the Model X and, we assume, the Model S Convertible, salaries, rent, biscuits for the canteen…

Tesla do say that there will also be revenue in early 2012 from selling inventory of the Tesla Roadster. Which does beg the question, “Are Tesla struggling to shift the Roadster?”

We’d thought that Tesla were building to order as there have only been 1,650 Roadster sold worldwide since Tesla started. But it would seem not if they have ‘stock’ cars to sell after production has ended.

That’s stock of a car that has sold less than 10% of the annual sales target for the forthcoming Model S – in its entire life.

It’s an interesting business model.

By Cars UK