Tesla Could Raise $178 Million with Stock Offering

June 16th, 2010

I don’t know how they compute such things, and reports set the figure at anywhere from $167 to $185 million, but Tesla plans to make its first IPO on June 29, an offering that is “highly anticipated,” says an L.A. Times source.

The funding is to develop the Model S electric sedan (above), a very exciting car which promises 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds and 160-300 miles on a single charge. After the federal tax credit, the S will sell for around $50,000. Put my order in now, Elon.

Most of you know the Tesla story by now. Despite continuing losses, the company has attracted serious money from its CEO Elon Musk, plus some venture funds, plus a 10 percent investment stake by Daimler AG, plus a $465-million loan from DOE to help build the Model S assembly plant plus, most recently, an agreement with Toyota to buy an additional $50 million in stock (a 3.6 percent stake in the company).

Some details on Musk (new to me) from the L.A. Times story:

Tesla is controlled by Musk, a PayPal Inc. co-founder who made millions when he sold the online payment business in 2002. Musk then invested in Tesla and Hawthorne-based Space Exploration Technologies Corp., which is developing the Falcon 9 booster, an 18-story-tall private rocket that recently had a successful debut launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

It isn’t the best time in the world to do an IPO. Markets are jittery, Europe’s in a tizzy over debt, and 30 companies have postponed their offerings since May 1. General Motors intends to do an IPO sometime this fall.

Still, Tesla has a lot going for it. Loved by Greenies and performance car buffs alike, the company has put itself on the map as the only one selling EVs in any volume (over 1,000 Roadsters so far) and generating (mostly) admiring media interest.

A recent Autoblog story (Nikkei sourced) claims that Tesla and Toyota have agreed “to develop a prototype based on a current Toyota model using Tesla’s lithium-ion-battery-based system.” That could be the iQ?

Hooking up with Toyota could give Tesla the one thing that it will take—beyond money—to really get the company off the ground, and that is scale. Toyota can build cars cheaply and in quantity. And they know something about distribution.

Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page have invested in Tesla. So has the government of Abu Dhabi. Would you put your chips in this company?

—jgoods

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  1. Oliver
    June 16th, 2010 at 14:43 | #1

    Tesla is a great car…. If you like plugs.

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