Tesla’s profitable fourth quarter sets the pace for the EV sector

Recent Tesla news has focused on the electric vehicle manufacturer’s change in model naming conventions and the upcoming Model Y. January is also an earnings statement month for Palo Alto, California-based Tesla, however, and the company released its fourth-quarter 2018 statement this week. As it did in the previous quarter, the EV company reported a profit for the final 2018 period.

The fact that Tesla strung together two consecutive profitable quarters bodes well not only for the car company but also for the full field of electric vehicle manufacturers now and in the near future.

Tesla’s success as a domestic and, with an upcoming factory in China, soon-to-be global automobile manufacturer makes it the flag bearer for all-electric vehicles. Virtually all other major manufacturers have committed to E -production, but that hasn’t stopped them from hedging their bets.

Just yesterday, for example, Volkswagen stated that its diesel cars are recovering sales stalled by the Dieselgate scandal. CNN quoted Volkswagen board member Jürgen Stackmann saying that diesel engines will “remain an important technology for years to come.” This statement comes from a company that last October stated its intention to use the new MEB EV architecture in up to 50 new electric models.

If Tesla were to fail, the effect on the overall electric vehicle industry would be to slow it down as the boards of directors and investors in other companies would likely refocus on short-term profits. As Tesla thrives, however, the pressure remains and even increases for global automotive manufacturers to continue long-tail EV development programs.

Focusing not on dollars and cents, but on factors that directly affect how soon more of us will be driving electric vehicles with or without the Tesla nameplate, here are highlights from Tesla’s 2018 fourth quarter report:

  • The Telsa Model 3 became the best-selling passenger car by revenue in the U.S. in the third and fourth quarters of 2018.
  • The Model 3 was the top-selling premium vehicle in the U.S. for the full year, including SUVs. European luxury cars have led the sales numbers in the U.S. for years, but in 2018 Tesla’s Model 3 took over.
  • Increased Model 3 production and continued gains in efficiency strengthen Tesla’s near-term outlook.
  • Tesla expects to begin making the Model 3 with a complete production line in Shanghai in late 2019.
  • EVs from all manufacturers outsold hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) in the U.S. in 2018.
  • By the end of 2020 Tesla expects to begin full production, most likely at its Nevada facility, of the Model Y small SUV, which will share 75 percent of the Model 3’s parts. Because SUVs significantly outsell passenger cars in the U.S., Tesla expects Model Y sales will exceed Model 3 numbers.
  • In the fourth quarter Tesla opened 27 new store and service locations, which now total 379 worldwide, and 69 new Supercharger locations, for a total of 1,421 stations around the world. Many of the new Supercharger stations have 20 to 50 charging stalls, reflecting a greater ability to meet growing demand.
  • Tesla is developing V3 Supercharger technology that will significantly speed up charging times. The V3 technology will be a convenience for customers by offering shorter wait times. V3 will also lower costs for Tesla because each station will be able to serve more customers.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

Fisker plans sub-$40,000 electric SUV with 300 miles of range for 2021

Fisker Inc. plans to launch an electric SUV with a base price of under $40,000, and a range of around 300 miles in 2021. The unnamed vehicle could compete with the Tesla Model Y, if it ever gets into production.
Cars

Amazon and Kia team up to simplify EV home-charging station installs

Kia Motors announced a new program with Amazon for electric vehicles. Customers planning to purchase a new Kia EV or PHEV can check out recommended Level 2 240-volt home charging stations and arrange installation in their homes.
Cars

Can electric cars be S3XY? Tesla says yes with the new Model Y crossover

Tesla introduced a crossover named Model Y at its design studio in Los Angeles. It's a more spacious alternative to the Model 3 it shares 75 percent of its parts with, and is a smaller sibling to the Model X.
Cars

Sibling rivalry: The Tesla Model Y takes on the Tesla Model 3

Tesla expanded its lineup with a fourth car named Model Y. It's an electric crossover positioned as a more spacious alternative to the Model 3. The two cars share about 75 percent of their components, but they're aimed at different buyers.
Cars

Tesla gives us a cryptic look at its cyberpunk, Blade Runner-inspired pickup

Tesla has started designing its long-promised pickup truck. The yet-unnamed model will come with dual-motor all-wheel drive and lots of torque, plus it will be able to park itself. It could make its debut in 2019.
Cars

Mercedes wants to turn your car into a comfortable shopping mall on wheels

Mercedes-Benz designed its MBUX infotainment system with e-commerce in mind. Motorists can upgrade compatible cars via an over-the-air software updating system, but the brand wants to take this technology to the next level.
Cars

2020 Cadillac CT5 luxury sedan gets turbocharged power, chiseled looks

The 2020 Cadillac CT5 replaces the CTS in the General Motors luxury brand's lineup. Cadillac will unveil the CT5 at the 2019 New York Auto Show in April. Until then, it's keeping most details under wraps.
Cars

Bentley’s 542-horsepower Continental GT V8 is the best kind of downsizing

The Bentley Continental GT V8 has fewer cylinders than its W12 sibling, but Bentley expects it to offer better gas mileage and more agile handling. The V8's top speed of 198 mph is also pretty darn fast.
Emerging Tech

Racing to catch a flight? Robot valet at French airport will park your car

Hate searching for parking at the airport when you need to catch a plane? Startup Stanley Robotics recently unveiled a new outdoor automated robotic valet system. Here's how it works.
Cars

Nvidia’s new simulator brings virtual learning to autonomous vehicle developers

Nvidia introduced a simulator for testing autonomous vehicle technologies. Drive Constellation is a cloud-based platform technology vendors can use to validate systems efficiently, safely, and much faster than with vehicles on real roads.
Cars

Tesla wirelessly gives the Model 3 a 5-percent increase in power

Tesla again showed the potential of its innovative over-the-air software updating system by making the Model 3 five percent more powerful via a firmware update. The Performance model gained 23 horsepower.
Cars

Fiat wants to transform the cheeky 500 city car into an urban Tesla

Fiat is finally preparing a new 500. Scheduled to make its debut in early 2020, the retro-chic city car will go electric in part to comply with looming emissions regulations.
Cars

Say goodbye to Uber for good: Here's how to cut ties with the ridesharing service

If you thought that deleting the Uber app would also delete your account, think again. You'll have to deactivate your account, then wait 30 days in order to do so. Here, we outlined how to delete your Uber account once and for all.