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Tesla Announces Biggest Quarterly Loss To Date

Tesla Announces Biggest Quarterly Loss To Date

Tesla vehicles are being assembled by robots at Tesla Motors Inc factory in Fremont, California, U.S. on July 25, 2016. | REUTERS/Joseph White

Elon Musk's Tesla has announced its biggest quarterly loss to date a day after the billionaire entrepreneur's car was sent into outer space. The electric vehicle and energy storage company's losses exceeded half a billion dollars in the final three months of 2017.

According to Musk, the company lost $675.4 million in the three months ending on Dec. 31, 2017. This is a massive increase compared with a loss of $121 million for the same period last year.

The losses can be attributed to the automaker spending heavily to roll out its next generation of electric vehicles namely the Model 3 sedan, a semi truck, and the new Roadster. The Model 3, in particular, has been a headache for the company plagued by "production bottlenecks," delivery delays, and stringent regulations.

The company has struggled to keep up with is production targets for the Model 3 but said it would probably build about 2,500 Model 3s per week by the end of the first quarter. After which, it would then push to reach its goal of 5,000 vehicles per week by the end of the second quarter.

The main source of revenue for Tesla has been its luxury Model X and Model S, 101,312 of which were delivered in 2017. This is an increase of 33 percent compared to last year but still not enough to keep the company above water.

Since its acquisition of Solar City, the company has also been busy fulfilling solar power and battery projects, most notably in Australia. The company recently made headlines after a partnership with the South Australian government to equip 50,000 homes with solar power and battery packs to create what it calls a "virtual power plant" powered solely by renewable energy.

Musk is expected to collect a $55.8 billion (£40 billion) bonus - probably be the largest ever - if he can build Tesla into a $650 billion company over the next decade. Until that happens, however, he will be working without pay.

Nevertheless, Musk is confident that he can make the company into a success. He recently announced production was getting back on track telling analysts, "If we can send a Roadster to the asteroid belt we can probably solve Model 3 production."