The Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) Model S has officially spread nationwide, with at least one registered car in every state. Mississippi, not known for an abundance of wealthy liberal techies, was the last holdout, reports Jessica Caldwell for Edmunds (h/t Travis Okulski at Jalopnik). It only took 18 months for the Model S to reach all 50 states, and for the last eight of those months it was hovering at 49, waiting to make a sale in the very deep South.
Tesla is changing public perception
This is a symbolic victory for a company with plans to expand fairly aggressively into Europe and China (though probably not aggressively enough to justify a PE multiple that has crossed the 300x mark in the past), but it still says a lot about Tesla’s efforts to expand infrastructure, make its cars affordable to upper middle class buyers, and to change public perception generally. Clearly the car company doesn’t want to be confined to major urban areas, so seeing a Model S registered in Mississippi is more exciting than another sale in San Fran.
If Tesla wants to drive sales in the South and other rural areas it will need to continue building the charging stations that it offers to owners free of charge (pun intended), which both lowers the effective cost of the vehicle and makes them more convenient, and it will need to find a way to increase the distance their cars can go on a single charge, which probably means improving the battery.
But at this point, no one really doubts that Tesla is a serious car company with lots of room for expansion. Comments about doubling its market share in some countries says more about how small Tesla still is compared to auto powerhouses like GM and Ford than about its popularity, but when almost every other company in the sector looks mature, it’s the most exciting stock to watch.
Tesla stock up 5% ahead of earnings
Tesla stock was up 5% today (because of earnings expectations, the Mississippi sale wasn’t that exciting), and some analysts have predicted $756 million in revenues for the fourth quarter. If Tesla hit its goal of 25% gross margins, gross profits would be $189 million and $46.4 million in earnings ($0.33 EPS).