Tesla hits China straps – sales top $1bn

By Jamie Butters

Bloomberg – Tesla Inc.’s revenue from China last year tripled to more than $1 billion, indicating better traction in the market Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has predicted could eventually become the company’s biggest.

File photo: A Tesla S electric car and a charging station are displayed during the press preview day of the North American International Auto Show. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook/Files

China accounted for more than 15 percent of Tesla’s more than $7 billion of total revenue last year, according to a U.S. regulatory filing. Sales from the U.S. more than doubled to $4.2 billion.

After a splashy start in the world’s most populous country in 2014, the electric-car maker faced setbacks including slow deliveries, orders by customers that Musk dubbed “speculators” and concerns about charging that the CEO blamed on his local sales staff. China revenue fell by a third in 2015.

To help address driving range concerns, Tesla said it would introduce converters that allow owners to power their vehicles at state-run charging points. Worldwide, the company added 57 new stores last year and more than 200 supercharger stations. Hotel, shopping center and other destination charging points more than doubled to 4,140 locations.

The Palo Alto, California-based company doesn’t release vehicle sales or deliveries by country.

Tesla last year acquired SolarCity Inc., which had about 12,243 full-time employees as of the end of 2016, according to the Wednesday filing. Headcount plunged about 20 percent from the 15,273 workers the solar-panel installer employed a year earlier.

More than 97 percent of revenue for Palo Alto, California-based Tesla comes from its automotive businesses, with the rest coming from energy generation and storage.