Tesla Motors to boost production of electric cars to a few million a year by 2025

Tesla Motors Inc plans to boost production of electric cars to "at least a few million a year" by 2025 from fewer than 40,000 last year, chief executive officer Elon Musk said yesterday, Reuters reported.

Speaking at an industry conference in Detroit, Musk said Tesla might not be profitable until 2020. Also Tesla sales in China were unexpectedly weak in the fourth quarter for which he blamed the wrong notion of city-dwelling Chinese consumers that they might have difficulty charging their electric cars.

"We'll fix the China issue and be in pretty good shape probably in the middle of the year," he said.

Tesla shares were down 7 per cent in after-hours trade to $190.22 from a close of $204.25 on the Nasdaq. The company's stock, during 2014 rose around 48 per cent.

Musk, who last year said Tesla would start adding "autopilot" features on its Model S sedan, predicted that the company would be first to market with a fully self-driving car, but likely not until after 2020.

While Tesla might  have a driverless car ready in five years, the vehicles might not receive regulatory approval for another two to three years after that, he added.

He further said the company's long-delayed Model X sport utility vehicle would be launched this summer, even as the lower-priced, higher-volume Model 3 was on track for a 2017 introduction.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported Musk, as saying the company might become profitable by 2020 when annual sales reached 500,000.

Tesla shares fell 7.7 per cent to $188.50 at 7:17 am New York time, before the start of regular trading.

Musk also elaborated on the idea that he was not chasing profitability in the short term, adding the company was investing in growth and new models and probably would not make much money on a net basis until sales reach 500,000 cars a year after this decade.

''I expect we'll achieve profitability in 2020,'' said Musk, who added that Tesla will be making a ''few million cars'' annually by 2025. He added, on an adjusted basis, the company should remain profitable before 2020.

According to Mayann Keller, Stamford, Connecticut-based, independent automotive consultant, although such sales volumes were higher than any he had discussed before, the prospect of not earning a profit until 2020 might frustrate investors.