A rational perspective from a Tesla “bull”:
I have been bullish on Tesla for a long time, have been long its stock for most of the time throughout the last five years, and I continue to think that Tesla will be worth significantly more five years from now. But in the short term, there are some clear concerns that could cause some volatility to transpire in Tesla's shares.
Tesla (TSLA) is an extraordinarily innovative company that has achieved amazing results in several sectors in a relatively short time frame. Let's face it, if it weren't for Tesla, EVs would still be limited to the likes of the Leaf and the Prius. The company also has achieved some remarkable feats in power generation and energy storage. Tesla is a company that looks to the future and shows us that things could be done smarter, more efficiently, and better than the current status quo can offer. But despite Tesla's drive to continuously move forward and push the envelope on what's possible, the company remains plagued by numerous problems.
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Unfortunately, so far, the production process has proven to be anything but highly efficient and profitable. And the longer Tesla continues to struggle with various "bottlenecks," automation issues, and other problems associated with the Model 3 assembly, it will continue to burn through cash at an alarming pace. What's Tesla's gross margin on the Model 3 right now? Once again, the exact number remains a mystery, but judging by the company's recent performance and estimates, gross margin on the Model 3 is close to zero, low single digits, or possibly even negative in a worst-case scenario.
When will Model 3 production improve to where the company is producing a profit, or is at least close to producing a profit on the vehicle? This too remains a mystery, but it must happen relatively soon if Tesla is to remain a viable business enterprise. My optimistic view is that the company will have most of the Model 3 issues figured out by the end of this year and will have a Model 3 gross margin close to 20% by early 2019.
Leaf SL MY 9/13: 66K miles, 50 Ahrs, 5.2 miles/kWh (average), Hx=70, L2 charges to 100% > 1000, max battery temp < 95F, min discharge point > 20 Ahrs