I know a couple of car guys that have never heard of Tesla (TSLA), let alone the Model S. I told them some of the things that the Model S could do and they were shocked to say the least. They were even more shocked when I told them that it was an electric vehicle. Also, Tesla is an American car company which these gentlemen I spoke to would never buy because of the current superior foreign vehicles. In Tesla's case with the leadership of Elon Musk, this is all about to change. The Model S is such a revolutionary car that it was just awarded Motor Trend's 2013 Car of the Year award. Yes, this award did not only put the Model S against other electric cars that the big automotive companies had to offer but it was up against the likes of the Porche 911. According to Motor Trend, Tesla' Model S is as smooth as a Rolls-Royce and more efficient then a Toyota Prius. Also, it is the first car to win Car of the Year that did not have an ICE (internal combustion engine) in the history of the award which dates back over 60 years.
According to George Blankenship, the same man who designed the Apple stores, when asked why everything that Tesla does is so hard he responded that they do the impossible. To back this claim up he went through a list at the Car of the Year event, he mentioned many of the things that were considered impossible until Tesla did them. With regards to the Tesla Roadster, a car that goes 0-60 in under 4 seconds and can drive over 200 miles on a single charge. These things were considered impossible as the time the Roadster debuted. They went from their first model which was a two-seated to a 4 door sedan with similar "impossible" specifications.
One thing that is considered impossible for electric cars is to travel long distances. The model S with its 265 miles per charge rated by the EPA actually can travel long distances. Imagine traveling from Philadelphia to Atlantic City on the weekend on a single charge and not have to worry about running out of charge. Now imagine being able to do that twice on a single charge. The current average for brand new cars sold in the U.S. is 23mpg on a 16 gallon tank. This information comes from TrueCar's website on miles per gallon for vehicles. This would mean that the average of brand new cars can travel a little over 350 miles per tank, just to give some comparison. Chances are a driver purchasing a Model S would not be an owner of one of these new cars so it is more likely that their older car gets less than that 350 miles.
Previously, an owner of an electric car would have to sacrifice looks to save money on fuel. This is another stipulation that Tesla took out to the woodshed. The exterior of the Model S has more comparisons to cars similar to a Jaguar and comes with one of the lowest drag coefficients of any car. Nothing about this car screams electric, which is something that is much needed for the EV crowd. The interior of the car is even better with an all-digital, button free and futuristic touch screen display. One big advantage that the Model S has is that the software in the Model S can be remotely updated. That means no more driving to the service center when your car needs an interface fix. This can all be done through the internet and streamed directly to your car.
The Model S is a great alternative to Audi, Lexus, and BMW. It has even beaten a BMW M5 in a drag race recently. Tesla's new Supercharger stations are another reason to stick with Tesla. The superchargers are currently positioned throughout California and Elon Musk has plans to make about 100 available throughout the country in 2015. In addition to the long distances that the Model S can travel, it also can charge at a rate of about 150 miles in 30 minutes using these Superchargers. The best thing about them? They are completely free to Model S owners. Imagine going on a road trip and driving 200 miles and deciding it is time to stop for lunch. In the time that you eat lunch, your car is charged up and ready to go for an additional 150 miles and all you had to do was pay for lunch!
Now for some insight on the stock and why everyone is reading this. Tesla recently had a secondary offering take place which in the words of Elon Musk "Tesla is actually on the verge of becoming cash flow positive and will not have to spend any of the money raised, at least until we embark upon a major new vehicle program." Musk posted this on Tesla Motor's Official blog shortly after the secondary was completed. The stock currently trades over 10% above this secondary offering of 28.25. Tesla is also on the verge of being cash flow positive and expects to make a profit in 2013. Their production has been ramping up from an initial start in June 2012. They only need to get to 400 cars per week by the end of their year to meet their production goal for the full year 2013. According to their most recent quarterly report they have 13,200 reservation holders. This means that if they keep their production goal of between 2500-3000 cars in the fourth quarter of this year, they will be able to make the Model S non-stop until at least June 2013. The one thing Tesla needs is brand awareness, and with their stores and all of the awards they have been winning they are doing great. This press should fuel new reservations which the down payments also give the company more cash on hand.
The stock has shown a lot of support in the $27 range the current average price target from analysts is about $40. Jefferies has the most recent rating on the company at buy with a $36 price target. A great deal of the risk is behind the company at this point and the major catalysts in the future will be any further news on the ramp up in production and news concerning Model X pricing and Gen III pricing. The Model X is expected to start production in 2014 and the Gen III which is their $30k model should be coming some time in 2015. If Tesla can get to 400 cars per week in December, watch this stock take off. Another risk was President Obama not being reelected to office because he supports green companies. The President is in for another 4 years and he could bring new incentives to purchasing EVs. The federal tax credit could be bumped up to $10000 from currently $7500. CEO, Elon Musk also has a round of incentives that require him to increase the Market Cap by $4billion. More details are listed in the quarterly report but if he can do that it means the shareholders will be greatly rewarded.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, but may initiate a long position in TSLA over the next 72 hours.