To get the company ready to build the Model 3, Tesla had to spend a lot of money. That was to be expected. After all, making cars is expensive, especially when a company knows it will have to fulfill several hundred thousand pre-orders right out of the gate. But the rate that Tesla spent money over the last year is still shocking.
Bloomberg reports that over the past 12 months, Tesla burned through $480,000 per hour. That works out to about $8,000 per minute or $133.33 every second. That’s so much money that Elon Musk could spend all day lighting $100 bills on fire one at a time, and he still might not be able to keep up with a cash burn like that.
Unfortunately for Tesla, it only has so much cash on hand. And if it keeps spending money at the rate it has been, it will run out of cash in August of next year. In fact, according to Bloomberg‘s calculations, Tesla will run out of cash on Monday, August 6 at 2:17 a.m. EST at this rate.
“Whether they can last another 10 months or a year, he needs money, and quickly,” said Kevin Tynan, a senior analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.
Part of the problem is that Tesla hasn’t been able to scale up production of the Model 3 as quickly as it thought it would. At the end of the third quarter, only 260 units had been built, way short of Tesla’s original goal of building 1,500 per week. And while initial reports suggest that reservation holders aren’t jumping ship just yet, that may change if the delays continue.
Until Tesla gets Model 3 production back on track, its options to raise cash appear limited. Assuming it pre-sells all 1,000 Founders Series Roadsters, that would give it an extra $250 million. But with a burn rate around $1 billion per quarter, the Roadster money won’t last long. Selling bonds could work, but Tesla already did that back in August, and Bloomberg doesn’t believe there will be as much interest the second time around.
Basically, Tesla really needs to find a way to start cranking out Model 3s.