x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Tesla hopes for electric performance

Both Aabar Investments and Adwea have a stake in the success of Tesla Motors' new electric saloon. Watch video.

Elon Musk, the Tesla chief executive, drives a Model S, the company's first full-size electric car, in Fremont, California. Stephen Lam / Reuters
Elon Musk, the Tesla chief executive, drives a Model S, the company's first full-size electric car, in Fremont, California. Stephen Lam / Reuters

Abu Dhabi investors will be pinning their hopes on a strong sales performance for Tesla Motors' eagerly anticipated new electric car, tipped to revolutionise the market for green motoring.

Both Aabar Investments and the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA) own stakes in Tesla, which welcomed customers to its factory in California on Saturday to show off a sleek new saloon car.

Having been loss-making for many years, Tesla is hailing its new S Model as the electric car that will drive the company back into the black.

"We need your help," the Tesla chief executive Elon Musk told customers being given a tour of the car maker's factory, appealing to enthusiasts to promote the new car as much as possible.

Perhaps best known for its US$100,000 (Dh367,000) high-speed, two-seater roadster, Tesla is popular among environmentally conscious celebrities. The new Model S saloon is the company's attempt to break into the more mainstream market.

Abu Dhabi investors have a significant interest in the fortunes of the car maker as it tries to transform the market.

Aabar Investments holds a 3.63 per cent stake in Tesla Motors, while ADWEA is also a shareholder with 7 per cent. Both are majority owned by the Abu Dhabi Government.

Tesla is listed on the Nasdaq exchange in New York and has a market capitalisation of $2.5 billion.

Despite achieving revenues of $58.2 million in the second quarter, up from $28.4m a year earlier, the company reported a loss of $58.9m, compared with a loss of $38.5m for the same period last year.

The shares have been very volatile this year and fell 8 per cent in the two days leading up to the launch of the new saloon model.

Driving on to a stage in a red Model S, Mr Musk, a co-founder of eBay, said while many people thought of electric cars as unrealistic "unicorns", the car maker would begin delivering the new model next year to those customers who had pre-ordered.

He also announced the brand would introduce a faster Model S that goes from zero to 100kph in under five seconds.

The Model S, which will start at $57,400, will be offered with three different battery versions designed to have ranges of 257km, 370km or 483km, respectively.

The company also plans to unveil a Model X 4x4 prototype in December, due to hit the forecourts in late 2013.

* with Reuters

rjones@thenational.ae