Tesla’s Pre-Earnings Report Card

Tesla Model S, photographed in Switzerland by James Lipman // jameslipman.com

All eyes are on electric car maker extraordinaire Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) ahead of the company’s second-quarter earnings release, which is expected to contain some impressive numbers. Expectations are high after Tesla began shipping the company’s flagship vehicle, the Model S, to China and the United Kingdom. By opening up two new markets to consumers for the company’s luxury electric vehicles, shipments and sales numbers — expected to release very soon — should skyrocket.

According to Bloomberg, estimates from numerous analysts project Tesla to announce deliveries of more than 7,500 Model S sedans. That number would represent a from a year ago, and outpace expectations. It’s also expected that earnings per share should be around 4.5 cents, which is actually a drop from last year’s second-quarter.

International Business Times also dug into Tesla’s expectations, and came away with a figure of $810.57 million in expected earnings. First-quarter earnings topped $713 million, and a boost of nearly $100 million between quarters would be quite an impressive feat. It also sheds some light in to just how important opening up foreign markets may be for Tesla.

Of course, there are several other factors playing into Tesla’s expected big quarter, including news that CEO Elon Musk was releasing the company’s patents, and effectively making Tesla an open source organization. This was met with mixed reviews from analysts, which considered it a gamble on Musk’s part. But with the pending gigabit factory, and a need to see other car makers invest in the charging network for electric vehicles, the move was considered brilliant by others.

It also didn’t hurt its image in the eyes of the public, who have grown fed up with ongoing patent battles in the tech industry, and a lack of innovation from automotive companies. Tesla was able to take a shot at both of those issues by releasing its patents.

TeslaModelS

Tesla has become a darling of the automotive industry, plowing ahead with its all-electric vehicle business model while the big incumbents have opted to slowly phase in vehicles of its own. Ford (NYSE:F) has made some headway, by introducing its EcoBoost technology, along with other EV and hybrid vehicles. As a result, the company saw an uptick in sales and earnings this quarter.

General Motors (NYSE:GM) has not been as fortunate. GM is suffering on the heels of an absolutely horrible start to the year, in which the company recalled millions upon millions of vehicles for a variety of issues, but most notably, the famed ignition switch failure.

As the large domestic auto makers have seen marginal success and others have floundered, Tesla has done nothing but pick up steam and improve its profile in the eyes of the public and investors. That fact, along with the expected positive results by opening up the Chinese and British markets, have analysts champing at the bit to see the numbers.

There is also room for caution, as The Motley Fool spelled out. The major three things they have said to keep an eye on are increased operating expenses, constraints associated with Tesla’s lithium-ion batteries, and a likely gap in the number of cars the company produced compared to how many were actually delivered. It’s mentioned that this happens because Tesla doesn’t count income until a car is actually delivered, and with a long supply line running to Asia, things can get backed up.

Regardless of possible issues, the fact remains that Tesla is projected to deliver on expectations. Share prices will likely see a bump, and the company will continue making headway going into the third-quarter. If auto analyst Alan Baum of Baum & Associates is correct in what he told Bloomberg, which is that he believes the rest of the year will prove to be even more successful for Tesla, the rest of the automotive world had better watch out.

“This was probably the most difficult quarter of the year for them, given how many vehicles were in transit to so many new markets,” he said. “They’ve modestly increased production, but August and September is when it begins to step up before really accelerating through the end of the year.”

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