Tesla Motors Inc. Faces Adversity, and GE Has Huge Potential In 3-D Printing

Will the loss of California's $2,500 electric vehicle rebate hinder sales of Tesla Motors Inc.'s Model S?

Daniel Miller
Daniel Miller
Apr 4, 2014 at 3:00PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was trading 155 points lower, or 0.94%, at 3 p.m. EDT despite the U.S. economy adding 192,000 jobs in March, which just a bit below expectations. The combined figures for January and February were revised upward by 37,000 jobs, which indicates the economy was a bit more resilient than initially thought to the winter weather-induced slowdown.

"This is a nice number, one of those Goldilocks numbers that is decent but not so good that it gets fears going about interest rates or the economy growing too quickly," said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel, according to Reuters.

With those calming words in mind, here are some companies making headlines in the market today.

Many have touted 3-D printing as a technology that can revolutionize the industrial manufacturing industry, among many other sectors. Consider General Electric (NYSE:GE) already on the bandwagon, especially after recent comments from GE's general manager for technology, Christine Furstoss.

"3D printing is not just used to prototype," Furstoss said, according to ZDNet. "But it's really important for us to use this technology to innovate and create products that could not be made in any other way."

General Electric aims to print more than 100,000 parts for aviation by 2020, which is just around the corner. General Electric last summer built its own rapid prototyping center in Louisville, Ky, which has reduced costs by 80% on average in the product development process.

"This is the opportunity we can't waste," Furstoss said, according to ZDNet. "It's about ecosystems, and learning, and we need to figure out what our role is, and if we are investing as much as we should be."

Three-dimension printing technology is especially important for General Electric investors to watch. That's mainly because the conglomerate is returning to its industrial roots after its GE Capital debacle during the financial collapse, and has a plethora of products and innovations that can be sped up and made more efficient, potentially improving its bottom line significantly and quickly.

Tesla's Model S. Source: Tesla Motors

One of Tesla Motors' (NASDAQ:TSLA) most important markets is California. Tesla's stock has soared recently due to its massive potential to revolutionize the automotive industry; but will the emptying of a key California government fund hurt sales of the Model S in the short term? It's a possibility, but I doubt it.

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The fund that provides $2,500 in rebates to state residents who purchase an all-electric vehicle has run dry, and that could sting when consumers are deciding whether to purchase a roughly $70,000 Tesla Model S.

Realistically, though, sales of the Model S shouldn't cool off. One reason is that a federal rebate program still pays up to $7,500. Aside from California, or even the U.S. market, Tesla continues to expand its presence in Europe and soon intends to have a more significant footprint in China, the world's largest vehicle market. Tesla CEO Elon Musk plans to expand coverage in the nation to six metropolitan areas in 2014 and could offer a viable vehicle option for China's government, which has been pushing electric vehicles as a way to reduce pollution.