Tesla delays Model 3 delivery dates for anxious would-be drivers

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SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk owns the rocketing 2008 Tesla Roadster, which is shooting for a solar orbit that will reach all the way to Mars.

The electric-car maker's stock dropped 9.7 per cent this week, the biggest one-week slide in seven months. The Palo Alto, California-based automaker is struggling to meet production targets for its first mass-market vehicle, the Model 3 sedan.

With few surprises in the fourth-quarter report and an outlook by Tesla of business-as-usual, analysts maintained price targets and ratings on Tesla. But Dr. Nahum Arav, a Virginia Tech physicist who works with NASA, told MACH in an email that his rough calculations show that as of 3:40 p.m. ET today the auto had traveled about 450,000 miles from Earth, or roughly twice the distance from Earth to the moon. NASA's ephemeris calculator for the Roadster states, "Over time, prediction errors could increase more rapidly than the formal statistics indicate due to unmodeled solar pressure, thermal re-radiation, or outgassing accelerations that are not now characterized". "The Tesla brand is increasingly vulnerable".

A USAF Space Command representative said that if any offer was made, it was likely not a formal one and therefore not a matter of record.

The next problem for Tesla is to start making some money.

Model 3 went into production in July 2017.

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Delivery dates have been pushed further into the future for "many" reservation holders, and "customers who waited in line in March 2016 to place deposits for the first Model 3s will have to be patient even longer", Bloomberg reported February 8.

Some Tesla customers, however, are not happy about the delay. Running down the list of achievements he included the launch of its first mass market vehicle, the Model 3, the introduction of an all-electric big rig heavy-duty truck and its next-generation Roadster.

On the earnings call, Musk took responsibility for the production ramp miscalculations. The package requires Tesla, which is worth a little less than $US60 billion now, to grow in $US50 billion leaps to a staggering $US650 billion market capitalisation over the next decade.

Don't worry about Musk getting by on his modest pay. The information was posted in Tesla's financial results and shareholder letter. But Musk said on Wednesday he has no plans to step aside as CEO.

"While management was confident another capital raise would not be necessary, we remain cautious as we expect cash burn to return to about $1 billion in the first quarter of 2018", Langan wrote in a research note. It's also on the hook to build charging stations for its network of semi trucks.

Musk had said Starman and the Roadster would enter a heliocentric orbit passing by Earth and Mars for a million or even a billion years.

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