July 25, 2012 / 9:28 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 2-Electric-car maker Tesla to start repaying US loans

* Q2 loss widens to $1/share from 60 cents/share

* Tesla says it can boost production, repay debt

* Production boost “won’t require significant capital” -CEO

By Paul Lienert

July 25 (Reuters) - Tesla Motors said on Wednesday it plans to begin repaying by December more than $400 million in low-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The California-based electric-car maker also said it could boost annual production of its recently introduced Model S sedan to 30,000 cars or more to meet higher-than-anticipated demand.

Tesla posted a net loss in the second quarter widened as it wound down sales of its first model, the $110,900 Roadster, and began ramping up deliveries of the new Model S.

Revenue of $26.7 million was down 54 percent from $58.2 million a year earlier.

Tesla’s loss was $105.6 million, or $1.00 per share, compared with a net loss of $58.9 million or $0.60 per share a year ago.

Analysts had expected a per-share loss of $0.94 and revenue of $30.9 million.

The fledgling car maker, based in Palo Alto, California, in June began selling premium versions of the four-door Model S, at prices ranging up to $105,400.

CEO Elon Musk, in a conference call with analysts late Wednesday, said Tesla delivered 10 Model S sedans to customers in the quarter. The top-of-the-line Model S Signature Series, he said, has been “sold out for months,” and there is a waiting list of 10-11 months for other variations of the car.

A lower-priced version of the Model S, starting at $57,400, will be added this fall.

Musk said the company still expects to sell 5,000 Model S sedans by year-end and at least 20,000 next year, with provisions to add a second shift and increase annual production capacity to 30,000 to meet demand.

“That won’t require a significant capital investment” to increase the production rate, Musk said.

However, the company is considering raising “a small amount of money” to use as a cash cushion and to help fund development of new models, including the Model X crossover utility vehicle in 2014 and a smaller sedan code-named Gen III in 2015.

In the meantime, Tesla continues to phase out the older Roadster, which now is only offered outside the United States. The company said it sold 89 Roadsters in the second quarter, with about unsold 140 cars left in inventory, and expects to close out sales by the end of the year.

Tesla said automotive sales in the second quarter totaled $22 million, with another $5 million in revenue from development services, primarily for Daimler AG. Tesla is supplying batteries for Daimler’s Smart Elecric Drive, and helped develop Toyota Motor Corp’s RAV4 EV.

Tesla, which was backed initially by a group of Silicon Valley venture capital firms, raised $226.1 million in an initial public offering two years ago. Its stock closed Wednesday at $28.95, down 2.98 percent.

In addition, Tesla qualified three years ago for $465 million in low-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Energy. On Wednesday, the company said it drew down $71 million from the DOE loan facility in the second quarter and intends to draw the remaining $33 million “in the next few months.”

Tesla on Wednesday maintained its full-year revenue guidance of $560 million to $600 million, well above analysts’ consensus estimates of $480 million.

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