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Tesla Charges Ahead: What Investors Need to Know

By Tamara Walsh - Apr 1, 2013 at 8:40PM

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The electric-car maker announced that it would post its first quarterly profit since going public in 2010.

Tesla Motors (TSLA 7.33%) wasn't trying to fool anyone this April Fools' Day when the electric-car maker announced that it would post its first quarterly profit since going public in 2010. This is a big deal for the EV start-up, and investors know it. Following the news, investors pushed shares of Tesla up as much as 22% on Monday. But just how important is this for the company and its stakeholders?

Big things to come
Tesla, which in the past has struggled to win investor confidence, updated its first quarter guidance to reflect full profitability on both a GAAP and non-GAAP basis. Meanwhile, analysts had previously projected a loss of $0.07 per share for the EV maker's first quarter, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Ramping up production of its Model S sedans has been critical to Tesla's success thus far. This is because Tesla only books revenue once it has delivered the car to a customer. The company delivered more than 4,750 of its Model S vehicles in the quarter ended March 30, which was ahead of the 4,500 units Tesla had originally expected to deliver in the period.

In the company's press release, CEO Elon Musk said:

I am incredibly proud of the Tesla team for their outstanding work. There have been many car start-ups over the past several decades, but profitability is what makes a company real. Tesla is here to stay and keep fighting for the electric car revolution.

This is no doubt an exciting time for Tesla. In addition to becoming profitable, Tesla also this year announced that it would be paying back its $465 million Department of Energy loan five years early. Tesla has achieved many milestones since launching production of its zero-emissions Model S car in 2012. As a result, shares of Tesla are up nearly 12% year to date.

This is an exciting time, not only for the company, but also for Tesla shareholders. Going forward, 2013 is shaping up to be a big year for the upstart automaker.

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