Tesla continues burning through cash, but sticks to production goals

2016 Tesla Model 3
Despite the successful launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket, not all is well in the land of Elon Musk. Tesla reported its fourth-quarter and full-year 2017 financial results on Wednesday, February 7, and they included the largest quarterly loss in the company’s history. But Tesla claims it can meet its previously stated production targets for 2018.

Tesla did post record revenue ($3.3 billion), buoyed by customer deposits for its new semi truck and Roadster sports car. But the automaker still lost $771 million in the fourth quarter. Tesla also reported a negative free cash flow of $276.7 million, and a net loss of $2.24 billion for 2017. In 2016, Tesla reported a $773 million net loss.

This additional quarterly loss underscores the need for Tesla to ramp up production of the Model 3. Tesla delivered just 1,550 of them in 2017, owing to production bottlenecks. Musk has said that he wants Tesla to build 500,000 cars a year beginning this year, and the more affordable Model 3 is expected to make up the bulk of that output.

Tesla said it is on track to meet a previously stated goal of building 5,000 cars per week by the end of the second quarter. That milestone has already been pushed back twice. Tesla said in July 2017 that it would be making 5,000 cars a week by the end of that year, then said it would hit that target by the end of the first quarter of 2018. In January, Tesla quoted second-quarter 2018 as the new goal, and it’s still sticking to that.

Tesla spent $787 million on capital expenditures in the fourth quarter, which was below its projections, but said spending would be “slightly more” this year, according to Reuters. The automaker anticipates expenditures to expand production capacity at its Fremont, California, assembly plant, and Reno, Nevada “Gigafactory” battery plant, as well as for development work on the semi truck, the Model Y SUV, and a factory in China.

Thanks to robust Model S and Model X demand, Tesla delivered 103,122 cars in 2017. That’s a significant increase over the roughly 76,000 cars it delivered in 2016, and marks the first time Tesla has delivered more than 100,000 cars in a year. But the full-year financial results show that 2017 was a mixed bag for the world’s most talked-about automaker.

Product Review

A Mercedes so sophisticated, it connects to your watch to plan your massage

The mid-size luxury SUV segment is a must-win competition, and the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE is the newest contender. With active suspension, driver assist, and even a connection to your watch, this is more than an SUV, it’s a mobile device.

Tesla’s next-generation Superchargers will arrive in 2019

Tesla is planning on starting the roll out the next generation of Superchargers starting in 2019. According to Elon Musk, they will be within range of at least 95 percent of people in "active markets."

Tesla owners will soon be able to summon a repair van in a few taps

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted out plans to expand the Tesla mobile app so Tesla owners can request on-demand service for common problems from Tesla Ranger mobile service vehicles in just a few taps.

Startup Rivian exits stealth mode with a bold promise to electrify off-roaders

Electric car startup Rivian has finally turned off stealth mode and provided details about what it's been working on since 2009. It will build battery-powered off-roaders instead of taking on Tesla and others in the luxury EV segment.

Mini’s most extreme hot hatchback will hit the streets in 2020

The Mini John Cooper Works GP concept first seen at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show will go into production in 2020, Mini has confirmed. The John Cooper Works GP is the ultimate performance version of the basic Mini Cooper.

Jaguar can take the next F-Type in one of two completely different directions

Jaguar needs to decide what the future has in store for the F-Type. Its options include turning the next-generation model into an electric car aimed at the Tesla Roadster or pelting it into the ring with a twin-turbocharged V8 from BMW.

With lessons learned from racing, Mercedes-AMG takes GT R sports car to next level

Mercedes-AMG keeps finding ways to make its GT sports car even more hardcore. If you thought the GT R variant was as good as it got, get ready for the GT R Pro, which will race into the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Volvo will be at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, but it won’t bring any cars

Volvo has declared that it won't unveil any new models at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, and that its display at the show won't feature a single car. Instead, Volvo plans to focus on mobility services.

How a village in Italy caught 58,000 speeding drivers in just 10 days

A village in Italy knew it had an issue with cars speeding through it, but data from a newly set-up speed camera left residents utterly gobsmacked. In just the first 10 days, the camera recorded more than 58,000 speeding offenses.

Here’s how Uber plans to improve its service for riders in wheelchairs

Uber is working to improve its service for disabled riders. Its latest initiative sees it teaming up with a specialist transportation firm to provide more wheelchair-accessible vehicles with wait times of less than 15 minutes.

The hamster-friendly 2020 Kia Soul will rock out at the Los Angeles Auto Show

Kia has released a teaser image to preview the next Soul. Scheduled to make its debut at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, the 2020 Soul will keep the outgoing model's boxy proportions but it will wear a sharper design.

Oops! Teen driver loses license just 49 minutes after passing his test

A German teen lost his driving license just 49 minutes after passing his test. Cops spotted the guy doing more than twice the road's legal speed limit, resulting in a driving ban and a fine.
Emerging Tech

Dangle no more: Window-washing drone for towers could replace human cleaners

The maker of a window-washing drone for tall buildings claims it can do the job 20 times faster than humans and is much safer than using workers in cradles that dangle on the side of buildings.

From EVs to forbidden fruit, car lovers have a lot to be thankful for this year

Thanksgiving is about food, football, family, and great deals. For us, it's also about cars. The members of Digital Trends' car team are taking a minute to reflect on what we're thankful for in 2018.