Tesla’s Q1 Financials Highlights & Lowlights



My household used to say I had an obsession with Tesla and Elon. I purchased a Mannequin 3 as “funding analysis.” To not point out it was protected, cool, and it appeared the nice people have been making a distinction for as soon as. I’ve written many items supporting Elon and Tesla’s imaginative and prescient for a sustainable planet in opposition to the darkish forces of unsustainable fossil gasoline exploitation when issues appeared bleak.

But, I’ve drifted away from Tesla and Elon during the last 18 months. The politics, the lawsuits, the greed, the corporatism, it turned the identical outdated, standard that I’ve cynically seen elsewhere. It takes a gargantuan stage of hypocrisy to champion for a sustainable planet and align your self with the very forces eager to burn all the things to the bottom for extra energy and more cash. Elon is the face of Tesla. What Elon says and does displays how Tesla is perceived. Which is a pity when Elon promotes conspiracy theories, disinformation, and cozies as much as folks like Tucker Carlson. That diminishes Tesla’s mission and all of the laborious work folks do at Tesla. Elon on [last week’s] earnings name, studying the transcripts, sounded sane with no social media filter connected. It’s that Elon I supported and championed. It’s that model of Tesla I wished to see succeed. Hero worship is fraught with the danger that your heroes find yourself being odd with odd weaknesses, warts and ugliness revealed.

Listed here are the 2 hyperlinks I shall be referencing via this piece as I look at Tesla’s newest quarter:

(I hope to additionally write about Ford, GM, and BYD quickly.)

TSLA the inventory could also be overvalued within the brief time period. My prediction, earlier than two extra rounds of Tesla worth cuts in April, mentioned that Q1 gross margins would fall, primarily based on the severity of the value cuts and the dearth of corresponding enhance in gross sales to make up for the shortfall. Investopedia notes availability of substitutes, urgency, and length of worth change all impression the value elasticity of demand. We’ll look at all three in relation to Tesla’s earnings.

“Value Elasticity of Demand = Share Change in Amount Demanded ÷ Share Change in Value” —Investopedia

Tesla the corporate is now a $100 billion per yr manufacturing large annualized. There are credible plans to develop car and stationary vitality gross sales. There are credible actions in place to proceed lowering prices and growing scale. All of that is good for shifting to a sustainable economic system. We will contemplate Tesla the corporate as an possibility’s wager, with sure initiatives with low probabilities of success however big revenue potential. The Regulation of Massive Numbers comes into play if you cope with sums like $100 billion. At that stage, it’s laborious to develop. Progress charges diminish. That’s anticipated.

Tesla YoY income development charges from the Shareholder Deck, web page 21.

Tesla’s personal YoY income development fee chart reveals Q1 rising at near 40%. The precise income numbers from web page 4 present YoY complete income elevated by 24%. The final level within the chart for Q1 2023 ought to present a deeper dive. We will see development charges have been slowing down from Q1 2022. The automotive enterprise grew income 18% yr over yr. Progress charges have been pulled larger by providers and vitality era and storage.

Wait … you would possibly ask how did Tesla’s income go up however earnings went down? Nice query. From web page 4, working bills have been down 1% YoY, which is spectacular for a quick rising firm. Web page 23 reveals complete price of revenues elevated from $13.296 billion to $18.818 billion from Q1 2022 to Q1 2023. Complete revenues went from $18.756 billion to $23.329 billion. In case you do the mathematics, price of revenues went up greater than revenues. In % phrases, price of revenues went up a larger % than revenues (41.5% vs 24.4%). Which explains why working margins dropped from This fall.

Tesla working margin chart from Shareholder Deck, web page 21

Working margin is famous as 11.4% on web page 4, once more a steeper dive than proven above. 11.4% is barely above the auto trade in This fall. Tesla offered extra automobiles, balanced in opposition to every car costing extra to supply, particularly from underutilization of recent factories.

Tesla’s rationalization of profitability. Observe the primary line from margin headwind from underutilization of recent factories (Austin/Berlin). Shareholder Deck, web page 5.

One of many charts that caught my consideration was free money circulate for the quarter.

Tesla working and free money circulate by quarter.

Free money circulate was famous as $441 million on web page 5. Automotive regulatory credit have been famous as $521 million on web page 23. Meaning free money circulate would have been adverse for the quarter excluding credit.

Notable issues on the earnings name

  • Elon: Mannequin Y turned the best-selling car of any type in Europe and the best-selling non-pickup car in america.
  • Elon: So we do consider we’re, like, laying the groundwork right here, after which it’s higher to ship a lot of vehicles at a decrease margin, and subsequently, harvest that margin sooner or later as we excellent autonomy. (Observe: keen to slash income now to make a wager they make extra on autonomy afterward. Or decrease income now and better income later, which if you low cost again to the current, means Tesla is price much less.)
  • Elon: Cybertruck supply occasion in Q3 (Observe: Elon later clarifies it’s round finish of Q3.)
  • Elon: Our vitality storage deployment reached almost 4 gigawatt-hours in Q1. There’s nonetheless some option to go to succeed in the [indiscernible] fee of 40 gigawatt-hours per yr.
  • Elon: Dojo can develop into sellable service and potential for order of magnitude enchancment in the price of coaching.
  • FSD Beta crossed 150 million miles
  • Elon: In conclusion, we’re taking a view that we wish to preserve making and promoting as many vehicles as we are able to.
  • ZK: Observe that Q1 was our third quarter in our multi-quarter plan to maneuver to a extra regionally balanced mixture of construct and deliveries. As I’ve talked about beforehand, this ends in decrease deliveries and manufacturing inside 1 / 4 resulting from a better quantity of vehicles in transit on the finish of the quarter and has an related impression on quarter-ending free money flows. This was notably prevalent in Q1 for S and X as we start exporting vehicles for worldwide deliveries. (Observe: Continues transfer to stability deliveries via quarter, S and X exporting internationally.)
  • ZK: This enterprise is rising as a proportion of the companies of the corporate’s income and reached its highest stage but in Q1, pushed by an growing fee of deliveries for our Megapack merchandise. We’re additionally making progress on storage profitability, producing our highest gross revenue but within the quarter. (Observe: Follows up on what Elon mentioned on rising vitality storage to 40 GWh a yr.)
  • ZK: Our method is to develop volumes as shortly as attainable in each our car and vitality companies. We plan to proceed to take a position closely into our future plans, which embrace the Cybertruck next-generation platform, in-house cell manufacturing, vitality storage enterprise, and our autonomy and AI-enabled merchandise.
  • Q: How steadily do you evaluation pricing? ZK: We evaluation the place we stand globally on a weekly foundation, and definitely, I can’t get into the small print of the the explanation why sure choices are made.
  • Elon: Tesla Power to be larger than auto on complete gigawatt-hours deployed. (Observe: This clarifies statements from earlier calls that vitality could be larger than automobiles — particularly, utilizing what metric.)
  • Drew: Gave a bunch of detailed information on 4680 cells, discount in prices, ramp-up time, and manufacturing scaling. Some fascinating notes on their easy, low-cost course of to get lithium carbonate.
  • Lithium costs have dropped quite a bit. Tesla at most ache level for commodities in present price construction.
  • Elon: Expects to open up new auto markets all over the world to develop Shanghai exports.
  • Elon: However the development may be very clearly in the direction of full self-driving, in the direction of full autonomy. And I hesitate to say this, however I feel we’ll do it this yr. (Observe: I consider Elon has been saying that since 2017. Elsewhere on the decision, he notes progress is occurring.)
  • Karn (VP, Provide Chain): Lithium carbonate costs have softened from $85,000 a ton six months in the past to 26% of that at present.
  • Elon: We’re constructing our lithium refinery functionality at Corpus Christi and our cathode refinery exterior Austin.
  • ZK: In regards to the different half of the miss in Q1 was attributed to issues which are nonrecurring. So I discussed these in my opening remarks. It’s a guaranty adjustment for vehicles that have been beforehand produced however not a part of the pedigree of vehicles we’re constructing now and a few Autopilot-related deferrals as we make some expertise modifications right here that this deferral ought to get acknowledged as soon as a few of the software program catches up. (Observe: Zach Ok answering a query why gross margins went under 20%. Zach Ok can get happening on a coherent reply. Kudos to him.)
  • Elon: So, if there’s a really excessive Fed fee, or rates of interest are very excessive, that’s — each time the Fed elevate the rates of interest, that’s equal to growing the value of a automobile.
  • Then the opposite issue is at any time when there’s uncertainty within the economic system, folks will usually postpone new — massive, new — capital purchases like a brand new automobile. (Observe: Elon alludes to Length of Value Modifications and Urgency from our Value Elasticity dialogue.)
  • Elon: So, we’re adjusting course — and we’re interested by it actually on daily basis, seven days per week. Each seven days, we acquire that e mail, and so is the remainder of the workforce. (Observe: Concerning how steadily they have a look at costs to handle demand vs provide.)
  • Drew: So, as you could have seen, we opened our first V4 submit in Europe and our Magic Dock submit in North America in Q1.
  • Drew: For instance, in Europe, 50% of all of our Supercharging stations are open to all EVs, and we’ve been ready to do this with none enhance in wait instances in any respect for anyone.
  • ZK: And I feel that what occurs to margins over the following couple of quarters, that solely issues within the context of what which means for our potential to reinvest into 2024 and 2025.
  • ZK: And now we have loads of area earlier than that turns into one thing that now we have to revisit our funding plans.
  • Karm: Definitely, we wish all EVs to succeed, too. We simply wish to say that we’re not like some malicious assaults to attempt to destroy everyone.
  • Elon: So — however I feel it’s useful to have the suggestions loop with service as a result of which means we really feel the ache of service, after which we are able to tackle the design to make the automobile want much less service. And I feel that offers us the proper incentive construction — like, as a result of the very best service isn’t any service, the automobile doesn’t break.
  • Elon: And so the one option to truly succeed, for a newcomer to succeed, is to have a product that’s so compelling that persons are keen to pay a premium over the incumbent product. And within the absence of electrification and autonomy, I don’t assume a newcomer can succeed. (Observe: listen, EV newcomers.)


There was no point out of the Roadster on the decision. No point out of the Semi. No point out of the Photo voltaic Roof. No point out of photo voltaic. Barely a point out of Tesla Insurance coverage or the convenience at which Tesla vehicles get totaled. Neglect captive physique outlets or ease of repairs. Tesla is a car, vitality storage, and vitality distribution firm, with outsized bets on autonomy, software program, and AI. The relentless drive to be higher is essential.

In case you crash present margins for an indefinite larger future margin, discounting again, the inventory is price much less. Wall St. acknowledged that reality and adjusted TSLA’s inventory worth decrease. True FSD has a option to go. Elon repeated on the decision FSD had a very good probability to occur this yr, as he has yearly. I’m not a believer it occurs within the subsequent 5 years. Zach Ok, CFO, appears to consider it occurs quickly.

On the final aspect of worth elasticity, substitution, competitors is eager in Europe and China. It’s increase within the US. Good exterior fashions will lower Tesla’s worth elasticity. Will an costly Cybertruck, a Corridor of Famer as Elon mentioned, convey again Tesla’s development charges? In all probability not, however it ought to be good for margin. Tesla shall be dealing with harder YoY comparisons subsequent yr. Semi, Cybertruck, an up to date Powerwall, and Megapack should fulfill these on the lookout for new merchandise over the following 12 months.

On the “Mannequin 2” platform, Tesla must be cautious to not Osborne its solely 4 automobiles. They’ve sufficient money to take a position for future development and merchandise whereas they get via this lull.

On worth reductions, I anticipate extra from Tesla. The Fed is elevating rates of interest, some product/political fatigue appears seemingly, and deflation has a harmful tendency to make folks anticipate decrease costs. Our new Mannequin 3 Commonplace Vary has gone down in worth $4,000 since we purchased it 24 days in the past. Extra depreciation and hurting earlier house owners doesn’t construct buyer loyalty. In reality, they repel it.

I’m most optimistic about Tesla vitality storage and providers this yr. Each are rising quicker than car gross sales, and each generate constructive gross margins.

This particular person makes a very good case why Tesla is price nearer to $26 (I disagree with that quantity).

On the opposite aspect, Cathie Wooden says Tesla might be price $2,000 in 2027. (I strongly disagree with that quantity, implying Tesla could be price greater than $5 trillion in 5 years. That’s Saudi Aramco form of worth, which is able to go down as peak oil hits more durable.)

Someplace between $26 and $2000 is Tesla’s present price. My wager (I’ve a number of small-dollar, bear name spreads on Tesla expiring subsequent month) is the value stays the place it’s or goes decrease till Might. The final time we most likely noticed a giant firm with over $100 billion in income act like a startup was Amazon. The identical Amazon that gave delivery to AWS, which is now Amazon’s massive cash maker. A few of Tesla’s present worth is an possibility that certainly one of its massive bets pays off. A few of that diminishing present worth is having Elon take enterprise dangers that few others would dream of taking.

It’s at all times entertaining with Tesla and TSLA, the last word meme inventory with a really severe firm at its core.

Thanks for studying.

Sincerely yours,


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