Tesla’s Secret Financing Plan: Selling Battery Futures


The Green Car Advisor picks up on something that most other people missed from Tesla’s newsletter earlier this week. Tesla is offering its customers the chance to pay $12,000 now for a battery pack seven years from today.

In his newsletter to Tesla fans, CEO Elon Musk notes that the company’s battery currently costs $36,000, but it should last 100,000 miles or about 7 years. The company is offering the $12,000 battery today as what Green Car Advisor describes as a “battery futures” opportunity.

At the Green Sheet, we’ll call it a crap shoot. Do you think Tesla will be around in 7 years? Do you think that batteries will cost more than $12,000 in 7 years? If you own a roadster and said yes twice, then by all means invest.

This could be part of the company’s dubious plan to be profitable by mid-year. The purchases would likely be booked as deferred revenue*, so they wouldn’t affect profitability, but they would help bring much-needed cash to the company.  In that way, the plan becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: Buy the battery for seven years from now to keep the company in business today, so that you can pick up your battery seven years from now. With business plans like this, it’s no wonder the company is in such great shape.

*Unless Elon tries to sneak them into revenue…