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Apple investors are eager for a marriage with Tesla Motors

During Apple Inc.’s annual meeting at its Cupertino, California, one company was mentioned quite a number of times by the tech giant’s shareholders. During the meeting, an investor told Apple chief executive Tim Cook, “Quite frankly, I’d like to see you guys buy Tesla.”

The comment was then followed by laughter in and then some applause. Cook tried to sidestep the question by saying that Apple doesn’t really have a relationship with Tesla, and then shifted the topic to CarPlay, the company’s in-car information and entertainment system.

He said that he’d love Tesla to pick up CarPlay, which would mean that every major auto brand is committed to the system. Despite that remarks, investors still brought up Tesla during the meeting. In fact, one shareholder said that he has been a fan of Apple since 1984, but that that there is something else he is in love with that’s not Apple – a Tesla Model S.

Read the entire article Apple investors are eager for a marriage with Tesla Motors

Veronica Wu quits as President of Tesla China

Veronica Wu, president of Tesla China, is resigning from her post as Tesla Motors Inc.’s chief for the country, disclosed company official Richard Lan. Her resignation came just after nine months since replacing Kingston Chang in March. Prior to joining Tesla in December 2013, Wu was with Apple Inc.

To fill operational leadership vacuum in Chine, Tesla said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg that Tom Zhu has been appointed to assume the post. He currently leads Tesla’s charging network development in China. He joined Tesla in April and was a co-founder at Kaibo International.

Tesla said that it remains confident in the Chinese market and will continue to “focus on providing an amazing experience to all customers.” Wu’s stint as Tesla’s China came as the carmaker commenced deliveries of its Model S sedans in the country in April.

Read the entire article Veronica Wu quits as President of Tesla China

Cheaper gasoline hurts Tesla Motors shares

Gasoline has been on its cheapest in over four years, and it is hurting shares at Tesla Motors. Lesser gasoline price – which according to AAA has fallen to 68 days to an average of $2.67 per gallon – may have reduced the need for electric vehicles, especially those that commands prices of $100,000 and up.

According to Lundberg Survey Inc., gasoline prices at stations in the two weeks ended Dec. 5 dropped to its lowest since September 2010. Ole Hui, an analyst at Mizuho Securities Asia Ltd. remarked the low oil prices will make people think that they can buy a conventional car, as it would be “more beneficial that way.”

He noted that there is now less incentive for customers to buy EVs. InsideEVs.com expects Tesla to report flat US sales at 1,200 Model S sedans in November. The carmaker has seen its sales in the US drop this year as it commenced exporting the Model S to other markets.

Read the entire article Cheaper gasoline hurts Tesla Motors shares

Toyota sells part of stake in Tesla Motors

Toyota Motor Corp. has sold a part of its stake in American electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors Inc., according to a report by the Nikkei financial newspaper. Toyota made a $50-million investment in Tesla in May 2010, just a month before the EV maker launched its initial public offering.

While the size of its current stake in Tesla remains a mystery, Toyota said at the time of the investment that it would have a 2.5-percent holds in the American company. During its IPO, Tesla set a price of $17 per share. That surge nearly 14 times to $235.29 as of October 23, 2014, in New York.

Tesla and Toyota has agreement in which the EV maker supplies batteries and motors for the electric versions of the RAV4 that went on sale in 2012. The supply agreement, however, will be terminated by the end of 2014 after the Japanese carmaker just sold 20,000 units

Read the entire article Toyota sells part of stake in Tesla Motors

Tesla Motors Inc. intends to plans to double its workforce in Hong Kong to over 100 people by the end of the year as the United States-based EV maker expands in the former British colony. The Hong Kong government said in a statement on its Web site that Tesla has already tapped a country director for Hon Kong.

Since the Chinese territory is only less than 10 miles wide, Tesla drivers will need to charge their cars only once a week. Veronica Wu, vice president for Tesla’s China operations, said in the statement that Hong Kong could become the place to showcase the success of EVs to the rest of Asia, adding that the carmaker wants the Chinese territory be the “Norway of Asia.”

She noted that the Hong Kong Government is open EVs and is committed to supporting sustainability. Thanks to government subsidies that accounts for over the half of an EV’s price, Norway holds a huge chunk (6 percent) of the electric vehicle market, according to Bloomberg Intelligence report in May.

Read the entire article Tesla to double Hong Kong workforce by end of year

Tesla Motors Inc. finally resolved a trademark dispute in China with Zhan Baosheng, who had registered rights to the name in the country before the carmaker entered the market. In an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg, Tesla said it and Zhan reached an agreement to settle their dispute “completely and amicably.”

The agreement also includes the transfer of Web site names registered in China like tesla.cn and teslamotors.cn to EV maker. Zhan’s firm -- Cengceng Inc. -- is a skin-care company. Tesla said that Zhan agreed to have authorities in China complete the process of canceling the trademarks he had registered or applied for, at no cost to the carmaker.

The EV maker said the actions -- when taken collectively -- remove any doubt on Tesla’s “undisputed rights” to its trademarks in China. Tesla’s struggles with its trademark in China mirrors similar experiences in the country by Apple Inc. and Burberry Group Plc.

Read the entire article Tesla Motors resolved trademark problem in China

Tesla Motors is planning to expand its network of fast-charging stations in Europe to allow owners of its Model S electric sedan to be able to cruise across the region by the end of 2014. The EV maker based in California recently opened three fast-charging stations along highways in Germany to facilitate travel from the country to neighbors Switzerland and Austria.

That increases the number of stations in Europe to around 23. Tesla will not end there as it plans to put up more fast-charging stations across the region throughout this year.

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk said that the addition of fast-charging stations in Europe shows how important the market is for the EV maker. Tesla, which currently has at least 36 sales outlets from Sweden to Italy, is intending to open over 30 new service centers and stores in Europe, expecting a surge in sales of the Model S in the region.

Read the entire article Tesla Motors to add more fast-charging stations across Europe this year

Standard & Poor's has given Tesla Motors Inc. below investment grade corporate debt rating of B- (junk), saying that the carmaker represents a vulnerable investment. S&P said the outlook for the rating is “stable.” The debt rating, which is way below investment grade, is unsolicited as the rating firm doesn't have a rating agreement with Tesla.

S&P, however, said there was enough investor interest to warrant with the rating. S&P said that Tesla has liability for $2.9 billion in convertible bonds. Companies usually are given junk-bond ratings if it has been determined that there is an increased risk of default.

This could be good news for investors, since junk bonds usually entail higher returns as junk-rated companies need to pay higher interest rates for access to investors’ capital.

Read the entire article S&P assigned B- corporate credit rating to Tesla Motors

Tesla Motors Inc. plans to open over 30 new service centers and stores in Europe, expecting a surge in sales in the region and Asia. Tesla said in a statement that it expects combined sales in Europe and Asia this year to be almost twice those in North America. The electric-car maker plans to launch right-hand-drive versions of its Model S sedan in the United Kingdom and offer leasing and financing programs in Europe.

"Growing international sales is a crucial part of the plan for the Tesla, but it won't be easy," said Ed Kim, vice president of industry analysis for consultant AutoPacific Inc. "Both in China and Europe, many potential customers may not have access to charging infrastructure that's as good as here in North America."

Tesla expects more than 55-percent climb in global sales in 2014 and disclosed plans to invest up to $5 billion to build what it dubs a "gigafactory" in the United States. The facility would allows the carmaker to produce cheaper versions of its cars, allowing it to double its global market share to about 1 percent, remarked Adam Jonas, a Morgan Stanley analyst.

Read the entire article Tesla to open 30 service centers and stores in Europe

Tesla Motors closed 2013, its first year as a full-fledged carmaker, posting $74 million in net losses on the back of $2 billion in revenue and 22,477 cars sold. Tesla is expecting a more challenging 2014 as it seeks to quicken production, add new offerings and expand globally. Tesla is seeing its cost structure increasing "significantly" as its r&d and production-line costs for the Model X crossover are starting to come online.

"We do need a new final assembly line, which we hope to transfer to in the third quarter or thereabouts," Tesla chief executive Elon Musk remarked last week during a conference call with analysts. "Also there's a new [body-in-white] assembly facility ... where the Model X is built."

He disclosed that they would have to build a separate line at its Fremont site in California when its smaller Gen III vehicle arrives in a few years.

Read the entire article Tesla expects more challenging 2014 as it sets higher sales goals

Owners of Tesla Model S sedans can now drive their vehicles from coast to coast for the first time, Tesla Motors Inc. chief executive and founder Elon Musk has remarked.  Musk said in 2013 that Tesla would set up "Superchargers" in most major cities in the United States and Canada to allow long-distance trips at no charge.

Tesla now has over 70 supercharging stations across North America, according to its "Tesla Supercharger network now energized from New York to LA, both coast + Texas!" Musk said in a Twitter post. "Approx 80% of US population covered," he added. Tesla needs to expand its network of charging stations as it seeks to address the limited driving range and long charge times of battery cars, which could discourage future buyers.

Without the supercharging stations, the Model S could only get their passengers as far as its battery range could go -- 265 miles 426 kilometers). In addition, the battery of the Model S could take as long as 9 hours to recharge.

Read the entire article Tesla Supercharger network now energized from New York to LA

Tesla Motors Inc. is planning to offer a service that will quickly swap a car's empty battery with a charged pack for added convenience. Tesla will hold press conference on June 20, 2013 at its design studio in Hawthorne, California to show "a way for the Tesla Model S to be recharged faster than you could fill a gas tank."

Chief executive Elon Musk tweeted that the event would feature a "live pack swap" demonstration at 8 p.m. Tesla’s plan to offer a battery-swapping capability for the Model S could be better than a similar scheme by Better Place Inc., a collapsed provider of electric car services Alan Baum, an automotive analyst at Baum & Associates, remarked that one problem with Better Place model for battery swapping was that “it wasn't cheap."

However, Tesla’s target market is those consumers with higher incomes, as the Model S is not so affordable at a starting price of $69,000. Baum said Tesla’s customers are "likely more willing to pay for a service like this that adds convenience." Tesla did not disclose more details on the battery swapping service.

Read the entire article Tesla Motors is planning to offer battery swap service

Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla Motors Inc., rejected concerns that that electric automaker is experiencing financial troubles. Musk noted that Tesla was making an advance payment on the US federal loan used to develop and produce its Model S sedan. Last week, Tesla reduced its revenue target for the full year 2012 due to the slower-than-expected rollout of the Model S.

At the same time, Tesla announced that it was raising $150 million through a share offering. Tesla likewise announced last week that it had fully drawn down its $465 million U.S. Department of Energy loan facility, and the loan agreement had been amended to defer the repayment of a fraction of the funds. Tesla agreed to make additional early payments starting 2013 and said it would collaborate with DOE officials to draft an early repayment plan.

Republicans have disparaged the Obama administration for the DOE’s support of new-technology firms, citing the difficulties of electric carmaker Fisker and electric battery maker A123 Systems Inc., and the collapse of solar panel maker Solyndra.

Read the entire article Tesla Motors not in financial trouble, CEO Musk affirms

Tesla Motors Inc. posted net losses of $105.6 million or $1 per share in the second quarter of 2012, compared to net losses of $58.9 million or 60 cents in the same period in 2011. The company logged a 54-percent drop in revenues to $26.7 million. The electric car maker had an 89-cent-per-share adjusted loss, which is smaller than the 94-cent-per-share deficit average 14 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg, and wider than the 53 cent-per-share loss in 2011.

Tesla’s losses in the second quarter came as the company ended the sale of its battery-powered Roadster. The electric car maker is now hoping that its Model S sedan, which started production in June 2012, could bring it to profit as early as 2013.

Tesla plans to accelerate the deliveries of the Model S in the second half of 2012. According to Tesla, it has received around 12,200 reservations for the Model S, up from 11,500 at the end of June. Tesla chief executive Elon Musk said that the accelerating pace of reservations makes the company confident that demand will surpass 20,000 Model S units for full-year 2013 deliveries.

Read the entire article Tesla Motors widens second quarter net losses to $105.6 million

US electric sports car maker Tesla Motors filed for an initial public offering of up to $100 million, a move that is considered a landmark in the resurgence of electric car technology.

Many carmakers had previously dismissed this technology as impractical but now, investor interest had been rising on battery-powered vehicles and green technology.

Tesla Motors, best known for its $109,000 all-electric Roadster, aims to take advantage of the renewed interest. Analysts say that Tesla's IPO, with underwriters including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank Securities, is expected to generate enthusiasm for IPOs generally.

Read the entire article Tesla Motors filed for an initial public offering of up to $100 million