Tesla expects to be profitable by the end of 2016, and Wall Street is psyched

Things are looking up for Tesla.
Things are looking up for Tesla.
Image: Reuters/Rashid Umar Abbasi
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Tesla is getting ready to go into insane mode.

Despite extending its losses in 2015 and coming in at the low end of its forecast for fourth-quarter deliveries of its Model S and Model X electric cars, the Elon Musk-led company says it plans to be profitable by the fourth quarter of 2016 and will deliver between 80,000 and 90,000 cars this year, which would nearly double the number of Teslas currently on the road.

The projections helped send Tesla shares 12% higher in after-hours trading.

Tesla said it delivered just 206 Model Xs in the last quarter, its first full quarter since the crossover Model X’s debut in September. But it plans to be producing 1,000 Model Xs a week by the second quarter of this year.

Overall, the company delivered 17,478 Model S and Model X cars in the fourth quarter (it was forecasting a range of 17,000 to 19,000) and reported a $320 million loss on sales of about $1.2 billion.

There are now 107,000 Teslas on the road in 42 countries, the company said.

Beyond the large increase in vehicle production this year, Tesla plans to open 80 new retail stores, install about 300 new Supercharger charging stations, and expand sales of its Powerwall home-battery system.

On top of all that, it expects to launch its next car, the $35,000 Model 3, on March 31, with plans to start delivering it in 2017. No rest for the weary, it seems.

It remains to be seen whether Tesla will be able to make good on its rather grand plans for the year, but at least for now, Wall Street seems to be excited by the road ahead.