How Tesla Plans to Revolutionize the Electric Car
PALO ALTO, Calif. (TheStreet) -- Tesla Motors(TSLA) headquarters is a stark contrast to other auto manufacturers. Its design and layout is more like that of a tech startup, than an automotive giant like Ford(F) or General Motors(GM) .
Perhaps that's why Tesla, which cites Apple(AAPL) as part of the inspiration for its retail experience, is attempting to turn the car industry on its head, similar to Apple in the smartphone and tablet markets.
I recently had a chance to sit down with Deepak Ahuja, Tesla's CFO, to discuss a wide array of initiatives. These included Tesla's chances of selling more than 20,000 Model S vehicles next year, the state of the electric vehicle market, how the falling oil prices, the company's power train deals, as well as several other topics.
Chris Ciaccia: How achievable is a 20,000 unit run rate by 2013? Is there anything that could prevent this, whether it be macro headwinds, or poor product response by the customer?
Deepak Ahuja, Tesla CFO: As you know from your experience in the automotive industry, a 20,000 unit target that we have set for ourselves is quite modest. It represents 1%, or even less than 1% share of the premium vehicle market in that price range. I think we have set for ourselves, even before we started getting all of these reservations, our target was 20,000 units and we have tried to make it modest in our minds. The reservations we've been continuing to receive, we have over 10,000 at this point without a single test drive.
We feel very confident that the car
Ciaccia: Tesla's vehicles do not have an internal combustion engine and oil prices have dropped from around $110 per barrel to around $85 per barrel. Have you seen any push back from customers perhaps canceling because they don't see the benefit of having an electric vehicle anymore? If oil prices continue to decline, does that materially hurt Tesla's business?