Re: Tesla: the ultimate in man Maths
They first shipped the Roadster in 2008, they have taken over four years to ship 10,000 cars. They paid Lotus for a large number of "gliders" (the carbon fibre body, and Lotus tech chassis) they never used.
If they make $5,000 dollars per car on the Tesla S, assuming a $50,000 (plus taxes) and a margin of 10% 200,000 cars. That's 80 years at their current run rate.
Even if they could do what has taken them over four years to do, every year and ship 10,000 cars a year that's 20 years. Remember this is premium priced car with only one model and almost no distribution or service network. The Only premium car in the top 100 is the Mercedes E-Class and that sells 200k a year.
At 10k a year you are looking to outsell the Ford Fusion or sell twice as many as Mercedes does with the R-Class (mm, always lusted after an R63). It would have to sell on a par with Porsche Boxster/Cayman, and I just can't see it doing that.
A billion dollars isn't par-for-the course in car factories, it's ten times what McLaren has spent on it's new beautiful state of the art factory.
The biggest danger however - and I think they found this with the Roadster - is market saturation. Yes, there is a pent up demand for electric cars, but it's a limited pent up demand. It's very easy to saturate. They might have a waiting list at the moment but once the demand is sated they won't see on-going orders.
Ghosn has bet the farm on electric and they only sold 26k Leafs (way below predictions) and 10k Twizzys, again globally with sales and service networks. And they lose money on the Leaf. Last year there were 1,000 electric charging points put into London to service 1,000 cars sold. And that includes things like the G-Whizz.
It's very hard to see that the demand is there for electric cars, and even if there was it would be very unlikely for a new entrant to win against the established manufacturers.
This isn't a tirade against the electric car, I've driven both Tesla Roadsters and Nissan Leafs (Leaves..) and they are amusing and interesting but at the blind faith the investors have in Tesla.