Tesla will have a "very meaningful announcement about a step change in supercharger technology coming later this year," Musk said. That was the angle the company originally had intended to give to The New York Times, he said, then added, "Who knows? Maybe we will ultimately do it with them."
Expanding into Europe and China
Tesla plans to start marketing its cars more in Asia and Europe, Musk said. Currently, it has focused mostly on North America.
A media preview event in Europe last October was "received very, very well," said George Blankenship, Tesla's vice president of sales and ownership experience. "The interesting thing about Europe is we're getting a nice response in reservations, and we don't even have any display cars there yet."
About 25 percent of car reservations are outside North America, he said. Tesla plans to open its first store in China this spring.
New reservations for Teslas hit a new record in the fourth quarter, "driven by holiday traffic to our stores, multiple Car-of-the-Year awards, the start of European marketing, and visibility of customer cars on the road and related word-of-mouth enthusiasm," the company said in a statement.
Tesla added more than 6,000 new reservations from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2012. During the quarter, the company also announced a U.S. price increase for new reservations made after the end of the year. The Model S base price now is $59,900, up from $57,400.
There also were cancellations, however, as the company asked a large number of reservation holders to convert to firm, nonrefundable orders. Net reservations at year's end were more than 15,000, up from about 13,000 in the previous three months.
Company workers put in long hours to meet demand late last year, he said. The average work week in December was 68 hours, Musk said. It has not fallen to 50 hours per week, he added.
The wait time for the cars is about five months, Musk said. But for some, it's even longer. The company has a new red car coming out and it is in high demand, he explained.
"It is an awesome red," Musk said. "We've got a lot of interest in that."
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500