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Tesla's CEO Discusses Q4 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Feb. 20, 2013 8:45 PM ETTesla, Inc. (TSLA)14 Comments
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Tesla Motors, Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) Q4 2012 Results Earnings Call February 20, 2013 5:30 PM ET


Jeff Evanson – VP, Global Investor Relations

Elon Musk - Chairman, CEO, and Product Architect

Deepak Ahuja - Chief Financial Officer

George Blankenship - Vice President, Worldwide Sales and Ownership Experience


Ben Kallo - Baird

Ben Schuman - Pacific Crest Securities

Patrick Archambault - Goldman Sachs

Aaron Chew - Maxim Group

Amir Rozwadowski - Barclays

John Lovallo - Merrill Lynch

Dan Galves - Deutsche Bank

Elaine Kwei - Jefferies

Andrea James - Dougherty & Company


Good day, ladies and gentlemen. And welcome to the Tesla Motors’ Fourth Quarter 2012 Financial Results Q&A Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a question-and-answer session. Instructions will follow at that time. As a reminder, this conference call is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the call over to your host, Mr. Jeff Evanson. Please go ahead.

Jeff Evanson

Thank you, Patrick, and good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to Tesla Motors' fourth quarter financial results question-and-answer conference call. I'm joined today by Elon Musk, Tesla’s Chairman, CEO, and Chief Product Architect; and Deepak Ahuja, Tesla’s Chief Financial Officer.

We announced our financial results for the fourth quarter and full-year 2012 shortly after the close of the market today. The shareholder letter, financial results, and webcast of this Q&A session are all available at our Investor Relations website at ir.teslamotors.com.

Today's call is for your questions and we would like to keep the call to 45 minutes today. We will conduct the Q&A session live. (Operator Instructions) And I would like you to try to limit your questions to one question plus one follow-up question.

During the course of this call, we may discuss our business outlook and make

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Comments (14)

dc tesla profile picture
The price of gas in Europe and the smog in Beijing will drive sales. The car is a triumph in engineering. Won't be long before niche services like roadside restaurants have charging stations.
Driving in silence and without exhaust is what word processing is to a typewriter. It won't save money on the short, neither did recycling, and now its cost saving and environmentally wise. EV's are inevitable.
asH9 profile picture
oil companies will try to derail the genius approach Tesla has taken
orthophonist profile picture
It was wonderful to hear about some of the inefficiencies encountered as they ramped up the production rate and how the solutions to these problems will go straight to the bottom line in subsequent quarters. Truly fascinating inside stuff.
renim profile picture
i appreciate the transcript
David Schneider profile picture
I recently watched a CNBC story about Tesla. The cars are too overvalued at prices of 70k and up. There are Toyota Prius' that sell for 24k and are the same environmentally friendly as Tesla. I believe that the overvalued company will have problems going forward due to its competition. If a price adjustment occurs, then it may be a new ball game. Electric chargers also need to be more prevalent before customers feel comfortable driving on a long road trip and are not afraid of stopping in the middle of the road.
rockaway2193 profile picture
Comparing a Model S to a prius is laughable. Anyone that knows anything about cars would understand that the model S competes with the 5 series or E class, which is entirely different than a 24k prius. The car is a relative bargain, it has the performance of an M5 (which starts at about 95k USD), the comfort of a 7 series, and is significantly cheaper to run.
IPO Candy profile picture
True that. This is a high performance sedan. Back seat was a little cramped when I looked but it does compete with the BMW 5 series. Very different buyer profile than a prius.
asH9 profile picture
And the charging stations are free for life, there is also some sort of solar gizmo from SolarCity that will convert sunlight into charge for the home- $70K looks like a deal, if the facts hold up
stainlesssteel profile picture
Don't waste your time with this transcript.

It's full of errors. Not just subtle inaccuracies, but wild, not-even-trying mistranscriptions. Granted, Elon Musk is sometimes hard to understand. Still, rather than try decoding this nonsense, it's faster--and necessary for accuracy--to listen to the webcast of the Q&A conference call:


Examples: Actual conference call, then this transcript:

That gives you one sort of extreme example of how logistics kind of can go bonkers.

Let me give you one sort of extreme example of how we build bunkers.

And so they tooled up for some puny number of parts
And so it cooled up for some tuning number of parts

And then, we were caught flat footed
And then we quote right flat further

we actually have price breaks that occur at certain volume levels and at certain calendar points. In particular, for example, with our deal with Panasonic, that's a huge factor…as we pass certain calendar points and certain production volumes, the cost of the cells in our battery packs drops

we actually have a price break that occur at certain volume levels and at certain counter points. In particular for example, a deal with Panasonic that’s a huge factor as the volumes -- the cost of the sales in our factory drops

It's like, that seems to be lost in this whole debate.
It’s like, at least it’s going to last the whole day.

...this whole thing about like, you know, does the car work in the cold? And it's like, yeah, it works really well, actually, and we're gonna make it work even better over time. So, it does lose ten percent of its range in winter if it's very cold. But so do gasoline cars. People kind of forget about that too.

...this whole thing I would like to add some color. It’s like, yeah, it works really well actually and we are going to make it work even better over time. So if they use 10% of its range and whenever it’s very cold but so do gasoline cars, fuel cuts get above that too.
21 Feb. 2013
And perhaps:
"force measure" = force majeure? :)
Cassina Tarsia profile picture
Excellent point, stainlesssteel! I also listened to the original webcast, and fully agree with what you say. It is too bad that the transcript became so garbled that it is almost worthless.

I was much impressed, and encouraged by what was said - sounds like Tesla will do well this year ... at least so far. I do wish, though, that there had been more discussion about the upcoming Model X, and especially how the costs of machinery and up-scaling here would fit into the profit/loss picture.

Good webcast, though.
stainlesssteel profile picture
Note: since my original comment about 15 hours ago, Seeking Alpha has improved the transcription maybe about 80%. But there are still major errors and grammatical oddities that distort meanings. If you need to accurately quote and understand Elon--for example, writing an article or making investment decisions--as of 21Feb2013 3:40pm PT, the transcript is still not a reliable substitute for the original audio webcast.

Care to investigate the following, SA?

Examples format:
actual conference call
transcription 20Feb2013
transcription 21Feb2013

So, it does lose ten percent of its range in winter if it's very cold, but so do gasoline cars. People kind of forget about that too.

So if they use 10% of its range and whenever it’s very cold but so do gasoline cars, fuel cuts get above that too.

So it does lose 10% of its range if it’s very cold, but so do gasoline cars, fuel cuts get above that too.

A majority of people are actually…more than [unintelligible--thirty? fifty?] percent are ordering the 85 kilowatt-hour pack

a majority of people are actually, one-third percent are ordering the 85-kilowatt-hour pack


and of course,
force majeure
force measure
asH9 profile picture
How do the free charging stations affect the bottom line? What a buy!!
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