back to article Tesla has made a profit. Repeat, Tesla has made a profit – $143m in fact

Tesla shares are up almost a fifth in after-hours trading after the 'leccy car maker posted a surprising profit for the third quarter. Financial analysts were increasingly losing patience with the company, which lost over $1bn in the first half of the year and struggled to control costs while also solving the real-world …

  1. alain williams Silver badge

    Smart Summon used "more than one million times"

    People get upset at Microsoft telemetry - why not any fuss when Tesla is looking to see how/where you use their cars ?

    1. Splurg The Barbarian

      Re: Smart Summon used "more than one million times"

      Often wondered why people seem to be OK with this. Tesla know where every car they've sold is at any point and what speed, when its used etc. Speaking to an owner, you can disable it but your GPS won't work. How true that is I don't know.

      Its also funny peoples reactions to this. I saw someone on a forum, when having Tesla's data tracking pointed out to them, respond with

      "when people say that I tell them its not a car, its a computer on wheels, so of course they will. What's the problem?"

      The fact that folk think it's normal for computers & computer related companies is very worrying.

      1. jmch Silver badge

        Re: Smart Summon used "more than one million times"

        "Tesla know where every car they've sold is at any point and what speed, when its used etc"

        That's true. Having said that, if you have an Android phone, Google knows where you are all the time not just in your car. Not sure how much data Apple gets but I would hazard they know where iPhones are located unless users turn location services off (otherwise how would 'find lost/stolen phone' service work?). Your mobile phone operator also knows, within a general area, where you are at any given time, and with 5G (smaller cell areas), that location is getting more granular.

        A phone is more personal than a car (which could be driven by multiple people), and is with the owner almost all the time. Certainly many people seem a bit blasé about being constantly tracked, but trivially, if you want to be accessible at all times, someone has to know where you are.

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Smart Summon used "more than one million times"

        Tesla owners opt into the telemetry because all of the really nice features are not available if you opt-out. While they might not be sending ads the tablet glued to the dash, all of that data is "discoverable" by subpoena. Where you go, when, how fast/aggressive do you drive, how long are you spending at each location, etc. Think about how easy it is for them to know where you live, work, where your kids do to shop, where you do your weekly shop, if you have a little something on the side, where close family lives based on regular routine trips are, if you have a fondness for the cinema, ad nauseum. I bet your insurance company would love to see the metrics on your driving. They may also question your regular visits to the pub or night clubs.

        Any company with lots of personal information is going to monetize that information. There are no saints in the world. It also means there is a huge data set that could be very valuable on the black market. People buying Tesla aren't exactly poor, are they?

        You have so little privacy left that protecting it should be a priority.

    2. ds6 Bronze badge

      Re: Smart Summon used "more than one million times"

      That's why I refuse to buy a Tesla until it's open sourced, as Elon said they would eventually do. I also wouldn't mind if the telemetry was heavily anonymized and delivered in bulk at say the end of the month, but that isn't how it goes.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Smart Summon used "more than one million times"

        Anonymizing driving data means very little. Anonymizing data in general means little without a rigorous differential-privacy scheme with good thresholds, and driving data is particularly difficult because for so many people it's both habitual and distinctive.

        Even I, with a very irregular driving pattern (I work from home and so sometimes go a week without starting the car, but other times drive long distances or make daily trips for several days in a row), likely have a distinctive driving pattern - simply because it's an outlier.

        Aggregate data for areas with a decent number of Tesla vehicles might be reasonably difficult to de-anonymize, but I'd still be concerned.

        1. ds6 Bronze badge

          Re: Smart Summon used "more than one million times"

          When I say "anonymize" I more readily mean clumping data sources together and stripping as much metadata as possible.

          For driving locations, I would be fine with generating a heatmap based on mass grouped datasets, eg. Model 3 users drove around a lot in LA. Anything more I believe to be entirely irrelevant to anything except tracking individual driving patterns and improving GPS navigation. Of course, there still is a problem of single drivers being in weird locations like you said, but I normally take a stance against all telemetry so it's not like I've ever put that much thought into it.

          For tracking statistics, you could keep vehicle-local controls that trigger thresholds to eg. indicate safe vs aggressive driving, and pass on a limited subset or set with reduced accuracy on to the server. This (and any delivered data) should not be bundled together, eg. so that location information cannot be mapped to driving style.

          And of course the user should be able to disable all of this as they see fit, as no matter how anonymized every system has a risk factor.

    3. sawatts

      Re: Smart Summon used "more than one million times"

      Also a reason why they are one of the least stolen brands of car?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Smart Summon used "more than one million times"

      You can turn off telemetry on Teslas (two options). However people who buy Tesla cars actually trust Tesla more than they trust Microsoft.

      Sending data back to Tesla means that everyones vehicles have a chance to get better over time, new features can be rolled out quicker and it is one of the only cars which gives regular OTA updates some of which is based on this feedback.

      They don't sell you advertising, they don't try to upsell products based upon your data, they don't appear to be part of a government conspiracy so I guess owners take the risk that the data will be used for what it was intended for. It's also anonymised.

      If they screw around with it, many will turn data collection off.

      see https://www.teslarati.com/tesla-model-3-data-autopilot-cameras-fsd-push/

      1. MiguelC Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: If they screw around with it, many will turn data collection off.

        If it ever becomes public that they screw around with it, many will turn data collection off.

    5. JohnG

      Re: Smart Summon used "more than one million times"

      The difference is that Tesla owners can turn off the telemetry sent to Tesla but Microsoft's customers cannot. Microsoft has a number of options to reduce the telemetry being sent (presumably intended to give users a false impression that their privacy has been respected) but other telemetry is still collected and can only be blocked using third party software.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Smart Summon used "more than one million times"

        Or, at any rate, they're presented with an option that claims to disable telemetry. Beyond that you have to trust them, unless you're willing to do some rather extensive investigation.

        Of course, this situation is not peculiar to Tesla.

  2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Leasing versus sales

    Sales down, profits up. What does this tell us about the business model? And why is a car company selling solar panels? Apart from Musk bailing out another of his companies?

    Tesla blamed the drop in revenue on a tripling of leased vehicles compared to the same period last year.

    You know things are looking down when leasing rates spike: leasing is less cash now with the leasing company sharing the risk.

    1. Andy Bell

      Re: Leasing versus sales

      Clue - its not a car company. It is a company using cars as a vehicle - pun intended - to drive alternative energy adoption. In 20 years there won't be Tesla cars but a whole solar capture and storage industry.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Leasing versus sales

        Looks like you drank more than one bottle of Musk Aid™

      2. Steve Crook

        Re: Leasing versus sales

        > In 20 years there won't be Tesla cars but a whole solar capture and storage industry.

        Yes. He has plans to destroy a particularly nice part of Kent (Seasalter) with an enormous solar array and battery based storage facility as part of his world domination plans.

        1. MyffyW Silver badge

          Re: Leasing versus sales

          I suppose you could always build a Dungeness "C" reactor and tell Musk to take his solar powered wizardry back to California.

        2. Geoff Campbell
          Boffin

          Re: Leasing versus sales

          Remind me, high far above mean sea level is Seasalter?

          GJC

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Leasing versus sales

          "He has plans to destroy a particularly nice part of Kent"

          Really? And so the Tesla bashing continues.

          So this solar farm, using non Tesla solar panels, but a company nothing to do with Tesla or Musk, and will need planning at a local level by elected officials and at a national government level needs battery storage and Tesla is the most likely contender due to its technology and costs. The decision which supplier to use rest solely with the Solar Farm/energy company.

          That in your mind equates to Elon Musk *wants* to destroy a nice part of Kent. Musk/Tesla haters really do look for any slight tenuous association to bash him or the company. Makes you wonder why?

      3. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Leasing versus sales

        " In 20 years there won't be Tesla cars but a whole solar capture and storage industry."

        They make cars so they are a car company, QED. There are many other companies that don't get the same press that sell solar, battery backup, etc. Companies that have been doing it far longer, have better worldwide service and more options for their products.

        If you have purchased a Tesla vehicle, you better hope they stay in the car business. Without Tesla as an ongoing concern, their cars become nearly impossible to service legally (DMCA and other laws), there will be no parts and no updates to the SatNav. Many things may just stop working. There certainly won't be a Supercharger network, although somebody may buy that up, and a car with a proprietary plug is going to be hard to charge without that support.

        1. Geoff Campbell
          Thumb Down

          Re: Leasing versus sales

          Goodness, where to start with that crock of shite?

          No, I can't be arsed. Let's just say that you're wrong on pretty much every point you make, and leave it at that, shall we?

          GJC

    2. ISYS

      Leasing versus sales

      Leasing is perfectly sensible when talking about cars - Remember, when you are talking about big price items buy things that go up in value e.g. house and lease things that go down in value e.g. car

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Leasing versus sales

        Remember, when you are talking about big price items buy things that go up in value e.g. house and lease things that go down in value e.g. car

        I guess that depends on how it's structured. Sell someone a car and you can book the sale price as revenue. Lease them the car, and it gets more complicated, ie if Tesla sells the car to a leasing company, or Tesla is the leasing company. If the later, then revenue's booked over time and that entity ends up holding a depreciating asset that'll eventually come back and need to be flogged off.

        But normal for car companies given a lot of customers seem to want to lease rather than own a vehicle, and has turned most manufacturers into finance companies to support leasing. It also ends up with some oddities, like the ECB lending BMW & Mercedes Finance money by buying their bonds, so the finance arms can then buy the cars. Which makes trying to figure out the financials a lot more fun..

      2. Benson's Cycle

        Re: Leasing versus sales

        Leasing is a scam intended to avoid taxes, encourage people to exchange cars after a relatively short period, and get people to spend more than they can really afford. That is why car companies like it.

        If people actually had to buy cars they would buy older ones when starting out, look after them and keep them longer. Makes that were cheap to keep on the road would sell at a premium. Car companies would eat up a lot less of the GDP.

        Houses do not always go up in price unless there is deliberate market distortion by governments as happens in the UK. They don't really go up in value; they cost money in maintenance and the actual utility value is pretty constant. So people buy them on long term loans with a mild gamble.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Leasing versus sales

          Once a car is bought the money is gone and people may be less likely to consider the cost a few years later.

          Lease car are a continual reminder of the cost and any damage has to be paid for at the end of the term.

          So it seems flippant to state people who buy cars look after them more than people who lease them.

          In fact many new car owners still replace them after 3 years anyway.

          The lease cars all get a second life on the used car market, its not like they get taken away and crushed is it?

          A scam? Really. You'll need to provide some actual evidence for that one.

          And I bought a Tesla out of my own pocket rather than get a subsidised lease option through work.

          1. Benson's Cycle

            Re: Leasing versus sales

            I assume you are American.

            The scam aspect is that the leaser looks at the headline number and then gets into the showroom and discovers he or she needs gap insurance, paint protection insurance, and recommended treatments for the interior so as not to incur large end of lease charges. Hence the "from £499 month" for a Tesla. The joke becomes people who lease large off road vehicles and then do not dare take them off road because of the end of lease costs.

        2. Chris Parsons

          Re: Leasing versus sales

          Too bloody true. We paid £7000 for our 2007 Saab in 2010 and it's still going strong; comfortable, reliable, reasonably economical and a hell of a lot cheap than leasing anything comparable.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: Leasing versus sales

            I like to keep my vehicles for a long time too, and to buy used when the right one is available. I just bought a 1993 Toyota Truck1 which runs just fine; I haven't even gotten around to tuning it up or even changing the fluids yet. Just left it sitting in the driveway for a couple of months, came back, and it started right up.

            But I also have to admit that autos are complex mechanical beasties that will inevitably require more maintenance over time as parts (which are, after all, subject to considerable stresses even in careful driving, to say nothing of chemical effects) wear out. Not everyone is prepared to deal with that.

            1The actual model name used in the US at the time. I love it. In the mid-1980s my parents bought what was then sold as the Toyota Van. It's a pity they never sold a car that was just called the Car.

    3. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

      Re: Leasing versus sales

      You know things are looking down when leasing rates spike

      Many lease cars now. It can be the most economically advantageous method, even if you've got the cash to buy outright.

      You also forget a significant factor: Company cars. Many countries are offering significant incentives to companies to offer electric vehicles to their employees, and most company cars are leased (AFAIK). In the UK, there are significant advantages to this. This leasing rate spike could simply be down to a spike in the number of Teslas being acquired as company cars.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Leasing versus sales

        Many lease cars now. It can be the most economically advantageous method, even if you've got the cash to buy outright.

        They can be economic for end users because they can walk away from them as soon as they don't need them any more. They're less successful for manufacturers which turn to them when there's a glut. Hence the hit on Tesla's bottom line. For manufacturers, renting aka MaaS (mobility as a service) is the new hotness.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Leasing versus sales

        When BIK is 0% next year (followed by 1% then 2%) then using EVs for a company car becomes amazingly cheap way of driving a car. If people understand this then surely most people who can practically use one will be wanting an EV as a company car?

      3. Dabbb Bronze badge

        Re: Leasing versus sales

        "Many lease cars now. It can be the most economically advantageous method, even if you've got the cash to buy outright."

        Get a calculator and a half of clue.

        It is absolutely undeniably THE most expensive way to buy a car.

        1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

          Re: Leasing versus sales

          I did get a calculator and a clue just a couple of months ago. For myself, over 4 years:

          - leasing the car worked out cheaper than either PCP or HP unless the vehicle was worth at least £10k more at the end than expected

          - leasing the car was slightly cheaper than getting a loan for the car value unless the car was worth at least £5k more than expected at the end

          - leasing was slightly more expensive than buying with cash, but came out similar of you put the cash in a savings account and used that to pay the lease

          This is obviously going to vary depending on the deals available, but it was the case for my specific situation.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Leasing versus sales

            The lease companies are buying the cars full price from Tesla. They are not losing money on that transaction.

            Therefore, they are making more money out of the leasee than a straight purchase. Especially as the Tesla has almost no maintenance/servicing required.

            Some manufacturers give massive discounts to leasing companies, so it might be different for them.

            1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

              Re: Leasing versus sales

              This was for a Tesla Model 3, leased without maintenance over 4 years compared with PCP, HP, personal loan and cash buying, on the assumption that I wouldn't keep the vehicle beyond 4 years.

              I did the comparison for both personal and company purchase/leasing. For personal, the conclusions above were valid. For company, it was even more cost effective to lease due to the offset of 50% VAT for the lease payments.

              As I said, this will change depending on deals available, but I calculated it all and leasing was the cheapest option.

            2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: Leasing versus sales

              The lease companies are buying the cars full price from Tesla. They are not losing money on that transaction.

              Why would a lease company pay sticker price? From the looks of Tesla's 8K, Tesla is doing the leasing directly and mentions lease contracts have tripled. They're broken out in the 8K and biggest number is naturally for Model 3s. It mentions securitizing leases, and ideally it wouldn't be losing money.

              Therefore, they are making more money out of the leasee than a straight purchase. Especially as the Tesla has almost no maintenance/servicing required.

              That's an assumption. Flog a Tesla for £40k and that's revenue booked now. Lease it, and as an example-

              https://www.parkers.co.uk/tesla/model-3/saloon-2016/car-leasing/

              £3,499 up front, then 24x £418 so £13,481 revenue after 2 years. Then the car's returned to the lease company, which needs to flog it for £26k+ to make a profit. Ok, that makes some assumptions, like how much the lease company buys the car for, but there's a risk with the resale price.. Especially as it'd be ex-warranty, and prices for used EVs seem low given potential costs for things like battery replacements. Plus of course growing competition and the loss of EV subsidies for Teslas.

              It's also not true that Teslas are maintenance or service free, or that's a potentially dangerous idea (much like 'Autopilot'). It still has wear items, fluids and things that should be checked for wear/safety. The RichRebuilds YT channel shows an interesting feature of regenerative breaking, ie because the brakes are used less, there can be increased corrosion. That can be mitigated by using the brakes regularly. But perhaps the biggest challenge is the lack of Tesla (or EV in general) garages to perform servicing & repair tasks.

              1. Benson's Cycle

                Re: Leasing versus sales

                The regenerative braking problem has been around for a long time. I had to have the front brakes dismantled and reassembled on a Prius due to lack of use,and at only 40 000 miles.

                1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                  Re: Leasing versus sales

                  Leasing an EV might be a good move right now. The market is exploding with around another 30 models due out in 2020. You could lease one now for a few years and buy one at the end from a menu with more choices and much more mature technology.

                2. Giles C

                  Re: Leasing versus sales

                  40000 miles, I have never had brakes last that long on any car.

                  My bmw needs pads every 15k and normally do the discs every other pad change, and as for the kit car a set of pads is about 10k with the disks At about 15k

                  If you are always motorway driving then they will last longer, but they should be checked when servicing and also as part of the mot every year.

                  1. Benson's Cycle

                    Re: Leasing versus sales

                    This just says a lot about how you, Giles C, drive.

                    My current Toyota, which nowadays rarely goes on motorways, has done just under 45000 miles and the pads were 70% worn at the recent service. If I wasn't about to replace it, they and the discs would be changed at about 55000. The Prius, which I also replaced at about that mileage, had pads less than half worn.

                    But then I don't drive on the brake lights of the driver in front, I don't overtake on double white lines and have to slam the brakes on at the last moment or, in short, I'm not a BMW driver.

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Leasing versus sales

                    How many EVs or Hybrids have you had Giles?

                    A Tesla can easily go over 100,000 miles on a set of pads/discs. They are more likely to need changing due to salt corrosion than wear. It's down to not needing to use them.

                    In fact advice is to use them every so often just to clear away debris and check them due to how little use they get.

              2. 96percentchimp

                Lack of EV garages

                "perhaps the biggest challenge is the lack of Tesla (or EV in general) garages to perform servicing & repair tasks."

                Would you say this is a problem that will change over time as more garages develop the skills and experience to service EVs, or will manufacturers use the opportunity to lock users into Apple-style service practices that restrict them to maintenance branded/licensed dealers?

                1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                  Re: Lack of EV garages

                  "Would you say this is a problem that will change over time as more garages develop the skills and experience to service EVs,"

                  EVs in general, yes. Tesla, maybe not. Tesla doesn't sell service docs and many of the black boxes in the car are registered to that car and can't be replaced without reprogramming that only Tesla can do. There are some shops that have reverse-engineered some stuff on a Tesla, but that's borderline illegal in countries with DMCA laws. If Tesla were to claim that a shop had circumvented software protections no matter how pants it was, that's a "crime".

                  I'm not aware of any other EV manufacturer withholding parts or service information although some may charge a fortune for a programming interface/Service software.

              3. MachDiamond Silver badge

                Re: Leasing versus sales

                "Especially as it'd be ex-warranty, and prices for used EVs seem low given potential costs for things like battery replacements. Plus of course growing competition and the loss of EV subsidies for Teslas.

                If it's Tesla doing the leasing, I expect that they are going to inspect returned cars thoughly, repair any defects and offer them for resale with a respectable warranty. With all of the tracking on the cars, Tesla knows how the car is being driven and a very good idea of the state of the battery health. There are likely some serious prohibitions in the lease. If the car is run on a track, the lease may voided and a fine due.

                There are garages that are specializing in EVs or at least are going in that direction. Many industrial estates prohibit auto servicing businesses due to the mess, but they might not be worried about an EV shop. Spilled electrons just evaporate and the chalk outline of the mechanic that failed to safe the battery scrubs off easily.

                Tesla's walled garden for many parts and service instructions makes them much harder to get serviced. Rich has a video where he looks into buying a crashed Model 3 and what it would require to rebuild it and if it was worth doing that or just buying a used one. He was testing to see if Tesla was indeed being more open with selling parts. Turns out they weren't. The superficial parts could be purchased at eye watering prices, $880 for a headlight, but underlying bits were not.

                1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                  Re: Leasing versus sales

                  He was testing to see if Tesla was indeed being more open with selling parts. Turns out they weren't. The superficial parts could be purchased at eye watering prices, $880 for a headlight, but underlying bits were not.

                  Yup, I like Rich's channel and it's been great to see what's under the hood of a Tesla. Which also highlights some of the misconceptions around EVs, ie they're not necessarily simpler than ICEs and have their own unique quirks. They also contain plenty of fluids for cooling & lubrication, so can create mess.. but not as much waste oils as ICE oil changes. And I guess the biggest hazard is from the batteries, but there seems a healthy market in re-purposing Tesla's battery modules. And I do like his rat rod :)

                  As for parts, I'm not sure if Rich's efforts and publicity have encouraged Tesla to be more open with 3rd party garages, or it may be aftermarket companies are producing/supplying more parts. As for headlight costs.. That sadly seems common for auto makers and I've seen other channels (I like Rob Ferreti) running the numbers for parts in his fleet. Tesla though originally said it wanted to support the maker community, but needs to be more open with supporting servicing. Again that's not uncommon for automakers, ie BMW/Merc etc restricting stuff to it's authorised service centres.

              4. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Leasing versus sales

                "It's also not true that Teslas are maintenance or service free"

                That wasn't stated. It was stated that there is almost no maintenance and servicing. The brakes, as you have stated, just need to be used every now and then as they will generally not need changing for 100k+ miles. Using the brakes does not qualify as maintenance and servicing.

                Sure it has wear items, mainly tyres. and it needs washer fluid when it runs out. Washer fluid is a consumable rather than a service item (for most people). Tyres are the one part that will fall into servicing.

                Completely agree that checks should be made every now and then, not really a garage job anyone even slightly competent can do the basics. However It would be wise to get it on a ramp every so often to check underneath, or better yet when you get the tyres change get them to give it a check then - assuming they have it on a ramp.

                And 'autopilot' a dangerous idea? Really, are there still people saying that? Can you imagine how many millions of miles have been travelled with autopilot, and seeing as every single crash that occurs with autopilot gets reported there are hardly any. Similar with battery fires which don't seem to be much aof a problem, even though everyone said they would destroy the EV industry. Even smart summon which has been used a million+ times has only had a few incidents reported (the majority of which were the fault of humans not the vehicle).

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Leasing versus sales

      It doesn't say that sales are down, only that income is down. This is due to the cost of the cars they sell being less than when it was mainly Model S and X and high end 3s.

      However if they are selling more and making a profit then the income doesn't really matter. Once the Shanghai plant is pumping out cars and there are plenty of buyers then the profitability could be very attractive.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Leasing versus sales

      As for a car company selling solar...

      Well talk about vertical markets from a consumer perspective. A customer can buy a solar roof, a battery storage unit, a battery electric vehicle and travel to a supercharger to fill up.

      It makes the whole energy supply and use clean, cheap and simple. Less dirty power, less expensive utilities, no visiting fuel stations.

      If the price of solar and battery storage became, say, max 5 year break even and could handle all daily commuter EV charging and 50% of house electrics then they could see a really big take up of the whole ecosystem.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Leasing versus sales

        "Well talk about vertical markets from a consumer perspective. A customer can buy a solar roof, a battery storage unit, a battery electric vehicle and travel to a supercharger to fill up."

        It sounds just as good as Socialism. It all falls down when you shop and find a local solar installer that is half the cost. Since they are local, it's easier to get service too. Many other companies besides Tesla make battery backup systems. The Tesla box may be the prettiest, but it's one of the least capable and most expensive units I've seen. Every week there are more subsystem components for building custom battery systems to fit the customer. There are a couple of contractor YouTube channels that are fascinating.

        Why would you travel to a Supercharger to fill up? With all of this solar and battery backup, why wouldn't you just plug in at home? It takes all of 30 seconds and you will be all topped up come morning. Fast chargers are only needed if you have no place at home/work to charge or are on a long trip. How often do you drive more than 250 miles in a single day?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Leasing versus sales

          It's called choice. You can get great service and choice from a local installer and they will do a great job.

          Or you can go to Tesla and get a package of it all, working together with a single app for the car and battery (as for least capable, that is absurd, it may be expensive but it is also capable). Your choice.

          As for a supercharger - For exactly what you said , long trips or multi-day excursions. You don't need to do it often to appreciate how good the Tesla supercharger network is. Even just a couple of times a month . Regular charging at home/work is what is great about an EV. Always having a full tank in the morning. But addressing the anxiety about long trips was key to getting take up of Tesla cars when there was limited alternatives around.

    6. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Leasing versus sales

      "Sales down, profits up. What does this tell us about the business model? "

      It says that costs are being cut and they are more efficient. Dollar income are down because more leasing less buying, that's not teh same as shifting less units.

      "You know things are looking down when leasing rates spike: leasing is less cash now with the leasing company sharing the risk."

      erm... what??

      Leasing means that instead of getting all your income in a lump sum, you get less of it now and more of it later. Yes, "leasing is less cash now" is right, but you still get more cash later. The only 'risk' is of having ex-lease used cars that they can't shift, but given that these will anyway be officially serviced and checked and resold through their own network, i doubt they will have any problems shifting them.

      I'm not rooting for or against Tesla here, it's what the numbers are. If you think they're doing crap, go ahead and short their stock.

  3. Swiss Anton

    More Tax?

    Will Tesla be paying more (as in some) tax, now that they have made a profit? I not holding my breath.

    1. hardboiledphil

      Re: More Tax?

      Not likely if they've got a billion dollars of losses to offset it against. Looks more positive that they would pay tax in the future though.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: More Tax?

        Don't forget the loan notes that are becoming due...

        They'll need all that Cash In Hand (and more) to settle them.

        Tesla's are not my cup of tea. But... I would not be driving my EV if it was not for what Tesla are doing.

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: More Tax?

          "I would not be driving my EV if it was not for what Tesla are doing."

          EV's are showing up because it's time for electric vehicles. There has been a robust DIY community for some time. The original Tesla Roadster came out of that in a similar way Apple was born from a DIY computer group.

          I think it was Heinlein that coined the phrase, "you can't railroad until it's time to railroad". A complex machine is only possible after all of the major bits have been worked out. All it takes is for a good engineer to get the idea to glue them all together and for it to be economically feasible as a product.

          The EV1 from GM may be more responsible for your having an EV than Tesla. It's been possible to make an EV for decades. 15 years back and it would have been stupid expensive to build for the same range.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: More Tax?

            "I think it was Heinlein that coined the phrase, "you can't railroad until it's time to railroad". A complex machine is only possible after all of the major bits have been worked out. All it takes is for a good engineer to get the idea to glue them all together and for it to be economically feasible as a product."

            You're spot on with that. But I would hazard a guess that it took a Musk and a Tesla to kickstart the traditional ICE car makers to take EVs seriously now rather than kicking the can down the road a again and again. If it hadn't have been Musk and Tesla, someone else likely would have done it, but maybe a few years later. I doubt main-streaming EVs would have happened yet if it was left only to the "big boys".

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: More Tax?

            Oh come on, surely the EV1 was exactly the reason why it needed a company like Tesla to put their head above the parapet with bold moves to get a new EV car company going.

            If GM hadn't screwed over EV1 owners with the EV1 debacle there may well have been a steady progression in EVs by big auto. Alas GM made sure the EV idea was dead an buried for a few decades.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: More Tax?

      They are showing a quarterly profit more frequently, but they still have a long way to go. In the US, Tesla customers lose what's left of the Federal government tax credit at the end of the year. GM is just behind Tesla. Other EV makers products still have the full $7.500 credit. If somebody is looking at the Kona EV and the Model 3, that $7.500 will make a huge difference.

      Tesla hasn't posted a yearly profit, ever. They have a big hole to dig out of and the interest is mounting everyday. Because profit is shown on the P&L and interest on the Balance Sheet, the interest accrued can easily exceed any profits.

  4. Thoguht Silver badge
    Trollface

    Why should anyone want to pay for expensive self-driving technology when apparently rats can now be taught how to drive?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >Why should anyone want to pay for expensive self-driving technology

      Shirley you mean self crashing technology ?

      q.v. Boeing 737max

  5. RGE_Master

    You could say it was a S3XY profit

    1. defiler Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Came here to say something similar. Only disappointment is that I'm late to the party.

    2. FlossyThePig

      I remember reading the Muskrat wanted to use the moniker "Model E" but Ford had that name tied up so it became "Model 3" with a three horizontal line logo.

  6. macjules Silver badge

    "Models Y S X and 3"

    I see what you did there Musk you S3xy thing.

    Now, would you please stop proposing to hurl 60,000 Starlinks into low orbit ..

    ^ Beaten to it :(

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Now, would you please stop proposing to hurl 60,000 Starlinks into low orbit ..

      To be fair it's only 42,000:

      https://spacenews.com/spacex-submits-paperwork-for-30000-more-starlink-satellites/

      And why do you want him to stop?

      LEO surface area (assuming LEO = 2000km above Earth's surface [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low_Earth_orbit]) ~8.81x10^8 square km, which for 42k satellites gives ~20,976 sq.km per satellite.

      So it's not like there's a shortage of space (ba dum tshhh) up there.

      1. sawatts

        Re: Now, would you please stop proposing to hurl 60,000 Starlinks into low orbit ..

        Makes terrestrial based astronomy a nightmare.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Now, would you please stop proposing to hurl 60,000 Starlinks into low orbit ..

          Does it though? Really. I mean there's more planes in the sky at any one time than these things, and they leave contrails.

          Sure you get some jumpy astronomers but I don't believe serious ones without an axe to grind are that bothered.

        2. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

          Re: Now, would you please stop proposing to hurl 60,000 Starlinks into low orbit ..

          Startlinks are tiny, basically cubesats (I think it's something like 3 cubesat units per Starlink). They're not hulking great multi-ton comms satellites of old. I can see them adding a wrinkle or two, but also the orbits should be well known and published so as to allow them to be ignored.

      2. macjules Silver badge

        Re: Now, would you please stop proposing to hurl 60,000 Starlinks into low orbit ..

        Low orbit ... ISS .. lots and lots of Starlinks in same orbit.

        1. Qumefox

          Re: Now, would you please stop proposing to hurl 60,000 Starlinks into low orbit ..

          Low earth orbit is 160km to 2000km. Starlink orbits around 500km. The ISS orbits at 250km.

          Starlink is zero danger to the ISS.

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Now, would you please stop proposing to hurl 60,000 Starlinks into low orbit ..

            But.. but.. gravity?

            So I thought one issue with LEO satellites was keeping them in their orbit, so assuming that's true, there might be lots of cubesats with degrading orbits passing through the orbits of other LEO stuff.

      3. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Now, would you please stop proposing to hurl 60,000 Starlinks into low orbit ..

        "So it's not like there's a shortage of space (ba dum tshhh) up there."

        There already is a shortage of space and filling it with more fast moving debris so tribes in the middle of the Amazon can have internet is silly.

  7. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Joke

    Transcripts...

    "The earnings call transcript is available here."

    ... and the transcripts of the self-driving car tests are available here!

  8. c1ue

    Q3 profitable due to an over $150M decrease in operating expenses vs Q1 or Q2. Plus ongoing $100M+ revenue from regulatory credits, $134M in Q3.

    More importantly, their gross margins - even when "profitable" - are 5%-ish. That's worth more stock value?

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Tesla fanboys look for any bright spot they can find. It is still way down from its 52 week high, and as volatile as it is it wouldn't take much bad news to erase these gains.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You don't need to be a 'fanboy' to decide the worth of an investment. The jumps came out of hours so the trades were done by more than just armchair Tesla fans.

        Any company can erase gains by bad news, duh, that's not investment science. Investors are looking at when stock feels undervalued.

        The Tesla stock looked undervalued and Tesla had been underestimated so it was a sound investment and an easy way to take advantage of the gains.

        There's many shorters who are trying to rapidly undo these gains in a panic by posting on forums stating it due for a rapid crash. Are you also one, not sure why you'd be marked at the stock readjusting if you don't have some vested interest.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Oh please, Tesla was massively overvalued before the jump, it is simply more overvalued today than it was yesterday. It has a long way to go to become profitable enough to even begin paying down all the money that has been borrowed in the past.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Clearly you are clueless, but it is to be expected.

  9. jaffa99

    Hardly

    They'll be about a billion dollars in the red this year, add that to the $13 billion of losses over the past 17 years and it's clear Tesla are far from profit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hardly

      Lucky the Chinese GovCO built and paid for GF3 eh?

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Hardly

        "Lucky the Chinese GovCO built and paid for GF3 eh?"

        Yep. If Tesla defaults, they get a shiny new EV factory with lots of trained staff. It makes me wonder if the Chinese government is hoping they might have to reposes the plant before too long.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who knew, China can build factories faster and better than the US!

    Don't you love the fact that Tesla is claiming credit for being ahead of schedule, when it is all down to Chinese government, workers and building and work practices, they can build skyscrapers in weeks in China, this huge factory may beat Tesla's US workforce and OH&S and planning and development red tape, but that's precisely ZERO surprise.

    I doubt any "template" they have copied from the Chinese will work in Europe.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Who knew, China can build factories faster and better than the US!

      Really, we're you saying that when the factory was announced? When pretty much everyone was saying it was impossible. When senior industry veteran analysts were saying that it took big auto 5 years+ to get a factory up and running in China.

      I believe Tesla had a big part to play in the time it took, it would have been a massive project with a great deal of specification and planning. The Chinese workers have done an amazing job to make it happen in that length of time, all credit to them and their expertise.

      This will be a star project for the Shanghai development area. I don't think the Chinese government did a whole lot other than facilitate the project and allow critical certifications to be expedited. Hats off to them for taking quick decisions and sticking with it.

  11. EBG

    what do the numbers really mean ?

    The link's paywalled. Margins, especially gross margins, are not the same as profits.

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