Electric Car Battery Swapper goes bankrupt but Tesla Stock Surges 13% with a plan to produce 50,000 cars per year

Better Place, the electric vehicle battery swap innovators from Israel that were once regarded as pioneers of an exciting new concept, has filed for liquidation. Founded in 2007, Better Place was valued at $2.25 billion in 2011 and had secured solid investment until it began struggling when its founder Shai Agassi resigned towards the end of 2012. Last year alone the company was said to have lost $459 million, with just $6.9 million in sales. In total, Better Place’s losses reached a staggering $812 million.

Tesla’s stock soared 13 percent, giving the company a market value of $12.75 billion. The jump appeared to be driven by a report that Goldman Sachs analysts hosted a “field visit” to Tesla’s plant in Fremont, Calif. Analysts left impressed by rising sales in Europe and China that could eventually more than double Tesla’s 21,000 car sales target for this year.

Tesla sees China as the key demand driver. The company expects that global demand for Model S could exceed their initial expectations of 40K-50K units annually.

Longer term, Tesla Motors envisions selling around 500K units through a combination of the Gen 3 sedan (around 200K units), Gen 3 SUV (about 150K units), Model S/X (roughly 90K units) and the next Gen Roadster.

* Tesla to start delivering the Model X in 2015
* gen 3 production by 2017
* begin 2014 at a production rate on the Model S of between 23,000 and 25,000
* production team now is aiming to get current production (20,000 units) onto a single shift (currently body assembly and finished assembly are running 2 shifts), then to be able to increase production (if needed) to 40K by returning to 2 shifts
* Tesla sees kWh costs (batteries) to decline to under $100 over the next 10 years, which is down about 75% over today

The main goal of the production team currently is to get production levels of 20K on a single shift across most processes (currently body assembly and finished assembly are still running on a 2 shift basis) and then ramp up to 40K units in 2 shifts. For the ramp up beyond 40K, the Tesla Motors will require only $25-$50mn of additional capex to take the volumes to 50K units annually.

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