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Tesla’s Q1 2018 financial results and earnings call: what to expect

Tesla’s first-quarter financial results are set to be released after the closing bell on Wednesday, and expectations are high that the electric car and energy company would be posting some of its most extreme numbers to date. Here are our expectations for Tesla’s upcoming Q1 2018 financial report and earnings call.


According to Tesla, it was able to deliver 29,980 vehicles to customers in Q1 2018 — comprised of 11,730 Model S, 10,070 Model X, and 8,180 Model 3 — a figure that is comparable to the numbers the company posted for Q4 2017.

Considering that the lower-priced Model 3 accounted for a large fraction of the company’s electric car sales in the first quarter, revenue for Q1 2018 is expected to remain flat or even lower compared to the previous quarter.

Tesla’s Q1 2018 revenue would likely be somewhere in the $3.2 billion range, slightly down from the $3.3 billion it posted in Q4 2017, or an increase of roughly $500 million over revenue from one year prior.

Operating Losses and Gross Margins

While Tesla’s year-on-year revenue growth would likely be considerable, expectations are high that the company’s operating losses this quarter would hit new records. Tesla posted a $600 million loss for Q4 2017, and that number could easily get higher for the first quarter of 2018, considering the continued investment on the Model 3’s production ramp. Thus, an operating loss in the $700 million level would not be out of the picture for Q1. The electric car maker is also expected to post a $4.01 loss per share for the first quarter. 

Over the past couple of quarters, Tesla’s gross margins have gone down from the mid-20% level to sub-15% levels. The same downward trend could be present in Q1 2018 as well, due  to upfront investments in the Model 3 line that won’t really pay off until the car’s production reaches economies of scale.

As Model 3 production continues to close in on its goals, Tesla’s gross margins will likely see an improvement. If the company does manage to hit its target of manufacturing 5,000 Model 3 a week by the end of Q2 2018, Elon Musk’s prediction that the company will be profitable by Q3 or Q4 2018 might actually come true.

Tesla Energy

Tesla is also expected to post revenue figures for its energy projects. If any, the company’s earnings from its battery storage and solar business will be a good guideline on Tesla Energy’s organic growth since the company acquired SolarCity back in 2016. Profits from Tesla’s massive South Australia Powerpack farm could also be revealed by the company.

Model Y and Tesla Semi

While the upcoming Q1 financial results and earnings call would likely focus on the company’s numbers related to the Model 3 ramp, there is also a good chance that Tesla would provide some updates on the facilities that would support the manufacture of the Model Y and the Tesla Semi — two upcoming vehicles that are expected to start production next year.

Tesla will be posting its Q1 2018 financial results after the market closes on Wednesday, May 2, 2018, followed by a live Q&A session at 2:30 p.m. PST (5:30 p.m. EST).

Tesla’s Q1 2018 financial results and earnings call: what to expect
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