EV pioneer Tesla Motors announced its fourth quarter and 2013 results after market close today. Most recently, share price is up 14 percent after hours to $220. The shareholder letter is here.

Tesla Motors (TSLA) beat analyst profit estimates but fell short of revenue forecasts.

  • The electric car pioneer had Q3 revenues of $615 million. This quarter's revenue did not include any ZEV credit sales but did include $15 million in regulatory credits.
  • The automaker sold a record 6,892 Model S vehicles during the period and expects to ship 35,000 Model S units in 2014.
  • Tesla's gross margin of 25.2 percent is in line with expectations. By the end of this year, the automotive supplier expects gross margin closer to 28 percent.
  • The supercharger network has been built across most of the U.S. and northwest Europe.
  • GAAP losses of $16 million for the quarter on revenue of $615 million
  • Expecting over 55 percent vehicle delivery growth in 2014 and 28 percent automotive gross margin by Q4

Highlights from the investor letter

  • The Model S was the top-selling vehicle in North America among comparably priced cars.
  • Toward the end of the year, Tesla expects sales in Europe and Asia combined to be almost twice that of North America.
  • Tesla believes an automotive gross margin of 28 percent, excluding ZEV credit sales, is "a reasonable target for Q4 2014."
  • Tesla claims that 80 percent of its customers are using their Model S as their primary vehicle.

2014 Expectations

  • Tesla expects to deliver over 35,000 Model S vehicles in 2014, representing more than 55 percent growth over 2013. Production is expected to increase from 600 cars/week presently to about 1,000 cars/week by end of the year as Tesla expands its factory capacity and addresses supplier bottlenecks. Battery cell supply will continue to constrain production in the first half of the year, but will improve significantly in the second half of 2014.
  • First-quarter production is expected to be about 7,400 vehicles.

The Giga factory

Musk in the shareholder letter:

Very shortly, we will be ready to share more information about the Tesla Giga factory. This will allow us to achieve a major reduction in the cost of our battery packs and accelerate the pace of battery innovation. Working in partnership with our suppliers, we plan to integrate precursor material, cell, module and pack production into one facility. With this facility, we feel highly confident of being able to create a compelling and affordable electric car in approximately three years. This will also allow us to address the solar power industry’s need for a massive volume of stationary battery packs.