How Much Did the Tesla Model S Cost to Develop?

November 2, 2011 in Snips

Tesla Motors has long attracted media attention for being the only company that is building a zero emission sports car. The latest news is that the first batch of Tesla Model S Sedans, scheduled to be delivered in 2012, have sold out. The company that has long been infamous for attracting a lot of investment for Research and Development (R&D) despite annual losses that stretch back several years, claims that it should begin to make a profit in 2013. How much did the company spend on R&D for the Model S?

According to this 2010 report, Tesla would break-even if it sold 20,000 cars at a price of $57,000 each. Rough, back of the envelope calculations thus suggest that Tesla spent over $1.5 billion to develop the vehicle. To put things in perspective, according to the IMF, there are 23 countries that have an annual GDP lower than that.