Tesla’s 4Q loss widens to $81.5mln, sees 2012 revenue tripling image

Tesla Motors Inc., the Silicon Valley-based company that designs, manufactures and sells electric cars and electric vehicle powertrain components said its fourth-quarter net loss widened to $81.5 million, as electric Roadster sales end before the release of Model S sedans.

Revenue rose by 8.5 percent to $39.4 million. Analysts expected $38.5 million in revenue. Excluding some items, the loss was 69 cents per share, Palo Alto’s Tesla said Wednesday.

However, the losses were not unexpected as Tesla increased research and development spending, opened new showrooms, invested in equipment for the Tesla factory in Fremont and hired additional employees.

The U.S. based automaker, named for inventor Nikola Tesla, also said today it’s starting “a development program with Daimler for a new Mercedes-Benz vehicle with a full Tesla powertrain. This represents an increase in the scope and scale of our deepening relationship with Daimler,” Tesla said, without elaborating.

In addition, Tesla expects its 2012 revenue will be between $550 million to $600 million based on expectations that Tesla will deliver 5,000 Model S sedans. Its 2011 revenue was $204 million.

Last week the Silicon Valley-based automaker unveiled Model X at its design studio in Southern California. And … it looks like the Model X is the fastest selling Tesla ever with advanced sales north of $40 million, which – depending on your point of view — is equally impressive and meaningless, considering Tesla only offers two other models: the Tesla Roadster, and the sleek Model S.