Electric carmaker Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) announces earnings today after market close. While the results found in the quarterly press release will be interesting, some of the biggest nuggets of information will likely be found in the earnings call.
During the call, Tesla usually skips the prepared remarks most other companies begin calls with and starts directly with the question-and-answer session with analysts. Here are three questions that will hopefully be presented to Tesla CEO Elon Musk during the call.
What's the latest on the Model X?
Tesla's been spending heavily on research and development, with much of the cost going toward fine-tuning the design and readying the production capacity for its next electric vehicle: the Model X. With the company predicting the Model X to effectively double the potential sales for Tesla vehicles, investors are keenly interested in Tesla's progress with the vehicle.
The last update from Tesla on the Model X predicted a launch for the all-electric SUV in the spring of 2015. And what about the expected demand for the Model X? Musk emphasized during the company's Q2 call that demand for the vehicle is more than enough.
Let's just put the orders in context. There are no cars available for a test drive. There is no information about the cars in our stores because we're only selling the S. In fact, if somebody comes in who wants to buy the X, we try to convince them to buy the S. So we anti-sell it. And we don't really provide all that much information or details about the car or provide a definitive date on when you can get it. Despite all that, there's huge demand from around the world for the X.
Furthermore, Tesla surprised investors in the second-quarter earnings call when it said it expected its annualized delivery rate of vehicles to exceed 100,000 by the end of 2015, split between the Model S and Model X.
Investors should expect Tesla to remain just as bullish on the Model X in the Q3 report.
Are Gigafactory plans on target?
Tesla's most ambitious project under way is the construction of the Gigafactory, a factory purposed to build enough lithium-ion batteries to support sales of 500,000 vehicles per year by 2020, a huge jump from Tesla's forecast for 35,000 sales this year.
The latest update from Tesla was that the company expected the factory to go live in 2017, simultaneously with the launch of its lower-cost car that will be called the Model 3.
Look for Tesla to maintain its current timeline for Gigafactory construction and the launch of its Model 3.
What does the demand look like for the Model S lineup?
Tesla said in its second-quarter letter to shareholders that total demand for the Model S continues to grow faster than production. Even in Tesla's "most established markets" (North America and Europe), Tesla's demand continued to grow, the company said. In fact, Tesla said it still believed these markets were still underpenetrated.
Look for Tesla to maintain the same sort of optimism about demand for its vehicles.
One particularly interesting item to look for related to demand for the Model S will be initial orders for its new P85D, or the performance dual-motor version of its 85 kWh Model S. Announced in October, deliveries for the P85D begin in December.