The company lost $1.1 billion in cash in the last quarter, executives are leaving the company in droves, it’s facing production issues with its Model 3 and, as I recently discussed, Elon Musk insulted analysts on the latest earnings call by dismissing their questions – regarding the company’s survival – as “boring” and “boneheaded,” (just after shareholders approved his obscenely large pay package).
Now, in addition to all that, the company has to compete with BMW leasing its $50,000 i3 electric vehicle for only $54 a month. That’s not a typo. Bloomberg recently confirmed you could lease an i3 for less than your monthly cable bill.
Lest you think BMW is making money on that lease, I assure you it’s not. The entire EV sector is losing money.
It’s a race to the bottom… Everyone in the space (including Tesla) is competing against each other, resulting in laughably low monthly leases.
But it’s not just the i3. You can lease a 2018 Honda Clarity for $199 a month. A Chevy Volt costs about $100 more each month.
The electric vehicle space is difficult. Vehicle prices are high and there isn’t enough demand for manufacturers to make money (even with generous government subsidies).
EV sales made up just 0.6% of total sales last year. And 80% of battery-electric car customers in the US lease instead of buying (not including Tesla, which doesn’t divulge that info)… partly because the resale value is horrid – an i3 is worth only 27% of its original price after three years.
But the old guard auto manufacturers, like GM and BMW, can sell other, profitable vehicles to plug the gap.
General Motors loses about $9,000 every time it sells a Chevy Volt (a $36,000 car). Fiat loses an absurd $20,000 on each electric Fiat 500 it sells.
And Tesla, the highest-selling EV company, is the granddaddy loss maker of them all. Which is why the company lost a staggering $2 billion on $8.5 billion in sales last year.
Still, Musk maintains his cult leader status amongst shareholders, who believe he will walk across water and change the world.