Tesla sticks by Model 3 target, warns spending could rise in 2018

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Tesla then said it should be producing 2,500 Model 3s weekly by the end of the first quarter of this year, and 5,000 Model 3s weekly by June.

The electric auto maker said its quarterly loss came in at $675 million, or $4.01 per share, marking its largest quarterly loss ever. But Tesla also importantly said it was still on track with its most recently stated production targets for Model 3 - targets that are still aggressive despite being delayed twice.

The Palo Alto vehicle company partly blamed the worst-ever figures on the high costs related to the production of its Model 3 electric sedan, the Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday.

The quarterly loss and new details about Model 3 production come at a sensitive time. Tesla burned through $3.4 billion past year.

Reflecting the mixed fourth-quarter report, shares of the Palo Alto, California-based company, which are up 10 percent since the start of the year, were barely changed in extended trading.

Tesla employees told CNBC they did not expect the company would be able to hit its revised production goals in 2018, citing ongoing challenges at the Gigafactory where Model 3 batteries are made.

But here on Earth, Tesla is still struggling to produce the Model 3, its first mass-market electric vehicle.

Last year, Model 3 production hit a roadblock due to supply issues relating to its batteries.

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More notable recent Tesla, Inc. Tesla said it is deferring some capital expenditure payments for the Model 3 to the first quarter of 2018.

The company had recorded a loss of $121m for the same period past year. The company's shares jumped 3 percent to close at $345 Wednesday after Space X productively instigated its Falcon Heavy rocket with Musk's cherry red Roadster as its cargo.

While working on the Model 3, Mr. Musk has continued to seek new barriers to break in other areas.

Tesla's energy generation and storage revenue was up 127% year over year. "This project is already generating substantial benefit by meeting high summer demand when supply is limited and by instantaneously responding to unplanned interruptions or frequency drops in the grid", Tesla wrote.

- The Tesla big battery installed in South Australia a year ago had been is "exceeding its performance targets significantly", and as a result of this success had boosted orders for the company's commercial scale energy storage systems.

Musk briefly addressed the semi truck on the phone call today as well, saying that a run rate of 100,000 units a year would be a reasonable expectation four years from now (although given previous years-out projections for the Model 3, it's safe to take that with a grain of salt). "The competitive strength of Tesla is not going to be the auto, it's going to be the factory", Musk said.

The strongest argument in Musk's favor might be that the best current drivers also lack LiDAR arrays - humans, which depend primarily on standard passive optical sensing when doing their own driving.