Tesla Motors has beaten analyst expectations in its first quarter results and ramped up production as demand for its mass-produced Model 3 electric car has sky-rocketed.
Tesla posted revenue of $1.15bn (£793m) for the first quarter of 2016, a 22 per cent increase from the same period in 2015, while sales climbed 45 per cent year on year.
The electric car giant lost $0.57 per share, lower than expected losses of $0.58 per share, according to a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate.
Tesla delivered 14,810 vehicles in the first quarter of 2016 – almost the same as the company forecast in its April announcement. While Tesla announced it hadn't made any cash from its Model S electric car, the popularity of leasing increased again in the quarter, as did the percentage of Tesla direct leases.
The company leased 1,405 cars to customers in the first quarter, worth $149m of aggregate transaction value.
Tesla's share price dropped by more than four per cent during Wednesday trading, ahead of the results announcement.
Why it's interesting
Looking forward, Tesla said it expects to produce around 20,000 vehicles in its second quarter. Now that "supply chain constraints" have been resolved at the car maker, Tesla is eyeing a production rate of 2,000 vehicles per week in the second quarter.
The company has also said it is "confident" it can deliver 80,000 to 90,000 new Model S and Model X vehicles in 2016, due to the growing demand for the Model S and Model X, the improved rate of production projected for the second quarter and the production increases planned for the back half of 2016.
Demand for Tesla's Model 3 vehicle was revealed in April, with pre-orders already worth $14bn recorded from eager car fans, adding up to around 325,000 vehicles.
Today, Tesla announced its vice president of production, Greg Reichow, and its vice president of manufacturing, John Ensign, will leave the company before the launch of the much-hyped Model 3 vehicle.
What Tesla said
Tesla management said in a statement:
The overwhelming demand for Model 3 and our improving financial results in the first quarter represent a strong start to 2016. We are looking forward to bringing Model 3 to market as together we advance the world’s transition to sustainable transportation.
The overwhelming demand for Model 3 confirms that compelling all-electric vehicles have mass-market appeal. In the first week of taking deposits for Model 3, we received more than 325,000 reservations despite no advertising or paid endorsements. This implies about $14bn in future sales, making the Model 3 introduction the biggest consumer product launch ever.
"Since then, reservations have continued to grow to surpass even our expectations. With Model 3, our mission of accelerating the transition to sustainable transportation is more achievable than ever," they added.