Tesla barely delivered more cars last quarter, but its stock still went through the roof

Prices as high as those doors.
Prices as high as those doors.
Image: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
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Tesla announced today (Nov. 3) that, in the third quarter, it delivered about as many cars to customers as it did the quarter before, and missed on its revenue target. But in after-hours trading, it seemed that investors were not too concerned: Tesla’s stock price was up about 9% at the time of publishing on the news that Tesla plans to deliver far more electric cars—and batteries—next quarter.

Tesla brought in $1.24 billion last quarter, which is about a third more than it did the same quarter a year ago, but slightly less than what Wall Street expected. It also only delivered 71 more cars than it did in the second quarter. However, the company reported that it was “ahead of schedule” on the construction of its “Gigafactory” car and battery production plant in Nevada, and that its next car, the Model 3, would be unveiled in March 2016. This seemed to be all investors needed to hear.

Tesla only launched its last vehicle—the crossover Model X—in September, and started delivering its first orders to customers after the quarter ended. But the company said development for the more affordable Model 3 was “on track.” Tesla also said in its earnings release that it plans to build between 15,000 and 17,000 vehicles next quarter, and deliver even more—between 17,000 and 19,000 vehicles.

The company also announced that it started production on its Powerwall home battery packs this quarter, through its new subsidiary, Tesla Energy, at its current factory in Fremont, California. Although the Gigafactory is still under construction, Tesla said it has since moved production of its Powerwalls to an automated production line within the new factory.

In a conference call to discuss the earnings, CEO Elon Musk gave very bullish comments on the home batteries. “By almost any metric, I imagine the most we could possibly make in 2016, we’ve already sold out of that,” he said.

Since the beginning of the current quarter, Tesla has also sent out its “autopilot” self-driving function to over 40,000 vehicles already sitting in consumers’ driveways.

Despite the relatively flat quarter in terms of deliveries, Tesla’s share price is now back near the level it was before Consumer Reports withdrew its recommendation on the Model S.