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Tesla motors to big sales, but widening losses

Tesla Model STesla Model S
Tesla Model SCourtesy of Tesla

Tesla Motors, the electric car company run by billionaire Elon Musk, said its first-quarter revenue grew by more than 50%. But the company’s losses also increased year-over-year. Here are the key points from Wednesday’s earnings release.

What you need to know: Tesla posted quarterly revenue of $939.9 million, a gain of nearly 52% over the same period last year. However, Tesla also reported a loss of $154 million in the quarter, or $1.22 per share, which is more than three times the $49.8 million loss the company posted in last year’s first quarter.

Excluding certain costs, Tesla reported $1.1 billion in profits. By that measure, it outpaced analyst predictions of $1.04 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

The company said Wednesday that its first-quarter numbers include a $22 million hit due to foreign currency headwinds while the cost of its revenues increased by 46% year-over-year, to $679 million. Tesla’s shares (TSLA) rose more than 2% in after-hours trading to $235.99.

The big number: As usual, most of Tesla’s revenue came from automotive sales, which were also up 52%, to $893 million. The company delivered 10,045 of its Model S vehicles during the first quarter, a 55% increase year-over-year. That total also tops the preliminary estimate of 10,030 cars Tesla put out last month.

In a letter to shareholders, CEO Musk and CFO Deepak Ahuja said Tesla expects to produce 12,500 vehicles in the current quarter while delivering between 10,000 and 11,000 vehicles. The company said it remains on pace to deliver roughly 55,000 cars in 2015. Some of that full-year delivery total is expected to come from sales of the new Model X SUV, which will start shipping at the end of the third quarter.

What you might have missed: Tesla made waves last month when it announced a new product line: battery products for homes and businesses for storing solar energy. The company didn’t offer much in the way of information about its new grid battery products in the press release Wednesday. Musk and Ahuja wrote in the shareholder letter that the potential market size for the batteries “is enormous and much easier to scale globally than vehicle sales.”

The company added that production of the batteries will begin at Tesla’s Fremont, Calif. factory before expanding at the beginning of next year to the Tesla Gigafactory, the $5 billion facility for producing lithium-ion batteries that is under construction in Nevada.

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