Elon Musk’s reveal of Tesla Inc.’s electric Semi truck and Roadster sports car Thursday night helped push Tesla’s stock up nearly 4% early Friday, but some analysts remained skeptical of the company’s ability to deliver on its promises.
Heading into Thursday’s event, Cowen analyst Jeffrey Osborne said, many investors hoped to hear about the electric automaker’s ability to emerge from the “production hell” delays engulfing its Model 3 compact sedan.
But Thursday’s event “offered no new nuggets of information to ease these investor concerns,” Osborne said. “In fact, [it] raised more questions than answers.”
When Musk launched the Model 3 — Tesla’s first mass-market product — in July, the company was anticipating a production rate of 20,000 Model 3s a month by the end of December. In the three months through September, though, Tesla produced only 260 Model 3s — about three cars a day. That’s well behind a normal auto-industry production pace of about one car per minute.
The company has blamed manufacturing “bottlenecks,” without saying what those bottlenecks were. It has promised a quick fix, and has contested a report in the Wall Street Journal that said the assembly line remained incomplete by early September, with some parts normally installed by robots being done by hand.
Other analysts, while impressed by the unveiling of the Semi and the Roadster, also expressed reservations that were tied to Model 3 production.
Production of the truck and the sports car are aimed at 2019 and 2020, respectively.
The specs for the new Semi “exceeded our expectations,” Oppenheimer analyst Colin Rusch said in a note to investors.
Musk claimed at the event that the Semi has a range of 500 miles and could go from zero to 60 mph in five seconds, compared with 15 seconds for a diesel truck. He also said it would climb a 5%-grade hill at 65 mph, compared with a diesel’s speed of 45 mph.
The Roadster, meanwhile, has a a top speed of 250 mph and can rocket from zero to 60 mph in 1.9 seconds — the first production car to perform the feat in less than 2 seconds, Musk said.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc.told CNBC on Friday that it plans to test Tesla’s electric truck and that it has preordered 15 of them. Some analysts said that because Tesla probably sought the input of fleet operators in developing the semi, there might be multiple orders waiting when it launches.
But “given the current difficulty Tesla is having with Model 3 production,” Rusch said, “we remain on the sidelines looking for acceleration on Model 3 production and proof of Model S and Model X sales growth in 2018.”
By 9:10 a.m. Pacific Time on Friday, Tesla shares had lost much of their early gains. They were up 1.1% at $316.05.
Times reporter Russ Mitchell contributed to this report.