Earlier this month Tesla announced a milestone. It finally made 5,000 Model 3s in a week.
Wednesday, investors found out the potential consequences to meeting that production goal. Tesla may have burned through even more precious cash.
Tesla burned through $739.5 million in cash last quarter as it geared up a factory to crank out more electric cars, leading to a $717.5 million net loss.
The company says it lost $4.22 per share as revenue grew 43 percent to just over $4 billion from April through June.
Adjusted for stock-based compensation, the company lost $3.06 per share. That was worse than Wall Street estimates. Analysts polled by FactSet expected a $2.88 loss per share.
The net loss more than doubled from the same quarter a year ago.
Tesla spent millions as it reached a goal of producing 5,000 Model 3 sedans per week by the end of June. Cash from Model 3 sales is key to holding off more borrowing. CEO Elon Musk has promised a net profit in the third and fourth quarters.
Rohan Williamson, a professor of finance at Georgetown University Business School, is not optimistic.
“The signals over the recent months should be concerning to investors,” Williamson said in an emailed statement. “The cash burn rate for the car business is very high and that is what we are seeing in Tesla. This is not surprising in general but the rate is particularly high” for Tesla.
The company’s last earnings report in May revealed it had eaten through $700 million in three months. That left its cash stockpile at $2.7 billion.
Analysts say demand for the Model 3 has waned recently because of long wait times. The Model 3 is aimed at a mass-market audience, but Tesla still hasn’t made any $35,000 base model cars available.
CEO Elon Musk made the bold promise earlier this year that Tesla would post its first quarterly profit in years this fall, a claim many analysts viewed skeptically.
Others are more optimistic.
“Based on what we’re seeing in the trajectory of production, we think they will be profitable” later this year, automotive analyst Jamie Albertine told CNBC last month.
Tesla recently laid off about 9% of its staff. Musk explained in June that the job cuts were part of a restructuring plan to eliminate “duplication of roles” and added that the layoffs should reduce costs and help the firm on its path to profitability.
Wednesday’s earnings report also comes as Musk has faced scrutiny for recent erratic behavior.
Earlier this month, he made an unfounded criminal accusation about one of the rescuers who helped save a group of young boys and their soccer coach from a flooding cave in Thailand.
During May’s conference call with analysts, Musk’s behavior was bizarre. He told analysts them their questions were boring, and spent a significant amount of time fielding questions from a YouTuber.
Tesla’s stock has fallen more than 13% over the past six months.