Form 10-K Tesla, Inc. For: Dec 31

February 8, 2021 7:28 AM EST

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tsla-10k_20201231.htm
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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

(Mark One)

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020 

OR

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from                      to                      

Commission File Number: 001-34756

 

Tesla, Inc.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

Delaware

 

91-2197729

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

 

 

 

3500 Deer Creek Road

Palo Alto, California

 

94304

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

(Zip Code)

(650) 681-5000

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class

Trading Symbol(s)

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common stock

TSLA

The Nasdaq Global Select Market

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:

None

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes      No  

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act.    Yes      No  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes      No  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).    Yes      No  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act:

 

Large accelerated filer

 

  

Accelerated filer

 

 

 

 

 

Non-accelerated filer

 

  

  

Smaller reporting company

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emerging growth company

 

 

 

 

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.    

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).    Yes      No  

The aggregate market value of voting stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant, as of June 30, 2020, the last day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, was $160.57 billion (based on the closing price for shares of the registrant’s Common Stock as reported by the NASDAQ Global Select Market on June 30, 2020). Shares of Common Stock held by each executive officer, director, and holder of 5% or more of the outstanding Common Stock have been excluded in that such persons may be deemed to be affiliates. This determination of affiliate status is not necessarily a conclusive determination for other purposes.

As of February 1, 2021, there were 959,853,504 shares of the registrant’s Common Stock outstanding.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Portions of the registrant’s Proxy Statement for the 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated herein by reference in Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K to the extent stated herein. Such proxy statement will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days of the registrant’s fiscal year ended December 31, 2020.

 

 

 

 


 

TESLA, INC.

ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K FOR THE YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2020

INDEX

 

 

 

 

 

Page

PART I.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 1.

 

Business

  

4

Item 1A.

 

Risk Factors

 

14

Item 1B.

 

Unresolved Staff Comments

 

27

Item 2.

 

Properties

 

27

Item 3.

 

Legal Proceedings

 

28

Item 4.

 

Mine Safety Disclosures

 

28

 

 

 

PART II.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 5.

 

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

 

29

Item 6.

 

Selected Consolidated Financial Data

 

30

Item 7.

 

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

 

31

Item 7A.

 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

 

49

Item 8.

 

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

 

50

Item 9.

 

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

 

107

Item 9A.

 

Controls and Procedures

 

107

Item 9B.

 

Other Information

 

107

 

 

 

PART III.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 10.

 

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

 

108

Item 11.

 

Executive Compensation

 

108

Item 12.

 

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

 

108

Item 13.

 

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

 

108

Item 14.

 

Principal Accountant Fees and Services

 

108

 

 

 

 

PART IV.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 15.

 

Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

 

108

Item 16.

 

Summary

 

125

 

 

 

Signatures

 

126

 

 

 

i


 

Forward-Looking Statements

The discussions in this Annual Report on Form 10-K contain forward-looking statements reflecting our current expectations that involve risks and uncertainties. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements concerning any potential future impact of the coronavirus disease (“COVID-19”) pandemic on our business, our strategy, future operations, future financial position, future revenues, projected costs, profitability, expected cost reductions, capital adequacy, expectations regarding demand and acceptance for our technologies, growth opportunities and trends in the market in which we operate, prospects and plans and objectives of management. The words “anticipates,” “believes,” “could,” “estimates,” “expects,” “intends,” “may,” “plans,” “projects,” “will,” “would” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words. We may not actually achieve the plans, intentions or expectations disclosed in our forward-looking statements and you should not place undue reliance on our forward-looking statements. Actual results or events could differ materially from the plans, intentions and expectations disclosed in the forward-looking statements that we make. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, the risks set forth in Part I, Item 1A, “Risk Factors” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and in our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We do not assume any obligation to update any forward-looking statements.

 

3


 

PART I

ITEM 1.

BUSINESS

Overview

We design, develop, manufacture, sell and lease high-performance fully electric vehicles and energy generation and storage systems, and offer services related to our sustainable energy products. We generally sell our products directly to customers, including through our website and retail locations. We also continue to grow our customer-facing infrastructure through a global network of vehicle service centers, Mobile Service technicians, body shops, Supercharger stations and Destination Chargers to accelerate the widespread adoption of our products. We emphasize performance, attractive styling and the safety of our users and workforce in the design and manufacture of our products and are continuing to develop full self-driving technology for improved safety. We also strive to lower the cost of ownership for our customers through continuous efforts to reduce manufacturing costs and by offering financial services tailored to our products. Our mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy, engineering expertise, vertically integrated business model and focus on user experience differentiate us from other companies.

Segment Information

We operate as two reportable segments: (i) automotive and (ii) energy generation and storage.

The automotive segment includes the design, development, manufacturing, sales and leasing of electric vehicles as well as sales of automotive regulatory credits. Additionally, the automotive segment is also comprised of services and other, which includes non-warranty after-sales vehicle services, sales of used vehicles, retail merchandise, sales by our acquired subsidiaries to third party customers and vehicle insurance revenue. The energy generation and storage segment includes the design, manufacture, installation, sales and leasing of solar energy generation and energy storage products and related services and sales of solar energy systems incentives.

Our Products and Services

Automotive

Model 3

Model 3 is a four-door mid-size sedan that we designed for manufacturability with a base price for mass-market appeal, which we began delivering in July 2017. We currently manufacture Model 3 at the Fremont Factory and at Gigafactory Shanghai.

Model Y

Model Y is a compact sport utility vehicle (“SUV”) built on the Model 3 platform with seating for up to seven adults, which we began delivering in March 2020. We currently manufacture Model Y at the Fremont Factory and at Gigafactory Shanghai.

Model S and Model X

Model S is a four-door full-size sedan that we began delivering in June 2012. Model X is a mid-size SUV with seating for up to seven adults, which we began delivering in September 2015. Model S and Model X feature the highest performance characteristics and longest ranges that we offer in a sedan and SUV, respectively, and we manufacture both models at the Fremont Factory.

Future Consumer and Commercial Electric Vehicles

We have also announced several planned electric vehicles to address additional vehicle markets, including specialized consumer electric vehicles in Cybertruck and the new Tesla Roadster and a commercial electric vehicle in Tesla Semi. We also plan to introduce in the future a lower-cost vehicle to leverage developments in our proprietary Full Self-Driving (“FSD”), battery cell and other technologies.

Energy Generation and Storage

Energy Storage Products

We began deliveries of the most recent generations of Powerwall, Powerpack and Megapack, which are our lithium-ion battery energy storage products integrated with inverters and control technology, in 2016, 2017 and 2019, respectively. Powerwall is designed to store energy at a home or small commercial facility. Megapack and Powerpack are energy storage solutions for commercial, industrial, utility and energy generation customers, which may be grouped together to form larger installations capable of reaching gigawatt hours (“GWh”) or greater. We also offer integrated systems combining energy generation and storage. Our energy storage products are currently assembled at Gigafactory Nevada.

4


 

We have also developed software capabilities for remotely controlling and dispatching our energy storage systems across a wide range of markets and applications, including through our real-time energy trading platform.

Solar Energy Offerings

We sell retrofit solar energy systems to customers and channel partners and also make them available through lease and power purchase agreement (“PPA”) arrangements and a subscription-based sale of solar power, which is currently available in limited U.S. markets. We purchase most of the components for our retrofit solar energy systems from multiple sources to ensure competitive pricing and adequate supply. We also design and manufacture certain components for our solar energy products.

In 2019, we commenced direct customer and channel partner sales of the third generation of our Solar Roof, which combines premium glass roof tiles with energy generation. We are ramping the volume production of Solar Roof at Gigafactory New York, and we are improving our installation capability and efficiency.

Technology

Automotive

Battery and Powertrain

Our core vehicle technology competencies include powertrain engineering and manufacturing and our ability to design vehicles that utilize the unique advantages of an electric powertrain. We have designed our proprietary powertrain systems to be adaptable, efficient, reliable and cost-effective while withstanding the rigors of an automotive environment. We offer dual motor powertrain vehicles, which use two electric motors to maximize traction and performance in an all-wheel drive configuration, and are introducing vehicle powertrain technology featuring three electric motors for further increased performance.

Among other things, we maintain extensive testing and R&D capabilities for battery cells, packs and systems, and have built an expansive body of knowledge on lithium-ion cell chemistry types and performance characteristics. In order to enable a greater supply of cells for our products with higher energy density at lower costs, we are currently using our expertise to develop a new proprietary lithium-ion battery cell and improved manufacturing processes.

Vehicle Control and Infotainment Software

The performance and safety systems of our vehicles and their battery packs require sophisticated control software. Control systems in our vehicles optimize performance, customize vehicle behavior, manage charging and control all infotainment functions. We develop almost all of this software, including most of the user interfaces, internally and update our vehicles’ software regularly through over-the-air updates.

Self-Driving Development

We have expertise in developing technologies, systems and software to enable self-driving vehicles using primarily vision and radar-based sensors. Our FSD Computer runs our neural networks in our vehicles, and we are also developing additional computer hardware to better enable the massive amounts of field data captured by our vehicles to continually train and improve these neural networks for real-world performance.

Currently, we offer in our vehicles certain advanced driver assist systems under our Autopilot and FSD options. Although at present the driver is ultimately responsible for controlling the vehicle, our systems provide safety and convenience functionality that relieves drivers of the most tedious and potentially dangerous aspects of road travel much like the system that airplane pilots use, when conditions permit. As with other vehicle systems, we improve these functions in our vehicles over time through over-the-air updates.

We intend to establish in the future an autonomous Tesla ride-hailing network, which we expect would also allow us to access a new customer base even as modes of transportation evolve.

Energy Generation and Storage

Energy Storage Products

We leverage many of the component-level technologies from our vehicles in our energy storage products. By taking a modular approach to the design of battery systems, we can optimize manufacturing capacity among our energy storage products. Additionally, our expertise in power electronics enables us to interconnect our battery systems seamlessly with global electricity grids while providing fast-acting systems for power injection and absorption. We have also developed the software to remotely control and dispatch our energy storage systems using our real-time energy trading platform.

5


 

Solar Energy Systems

We have engineered Solar Roof over numerous iterations to combine aesthetic appeal and durability with power generation. The efficiency of our solar energy products is aided by our own solar inverter, which also incorporates our power electronics technologies. We designed both products to integrate with Powerwall.

Design and Engineering

Automotive

We have established significant in-house capabilities in the design and test engineering of electric vehicles and their components and systems. Our team has core competencies in computer aided design as well as durability, strength and crash test simulations, which reduces the product development time of new models. Additionally, our team has expertise in selecting and working with a range of materials for our vehicles to balance performance, cost and durability in ways that are best suited for our vehicles’ target demographics and utility. We have also used our capabilities to achieve complex engineering feats in stamping, casting and thermal systems, and are currently developing designs that integrate batteries directly with vehicle body structures without separate battery packs to optimize manufacturability, weight, range and cost characteristics.

We are also expanding our manufacturing operations globally while exploring ways to localize our vehicle designs and production for particular markets, including country-specific market demands and factory optimizations for local workforces. As we increase our capabilities, particularly in the areas of automation, die-making and line-building, we are also making strides in the simulations modeling these capabilities prior to construction.

Energy Generation and Storage

Our expertise in electrical, mechanical, civil and software engineering allows us to design and manufacture our energy generation and storage products and components. We also employ our design and engineering expertise to customize solutions including our energy storage products, solar energy systems and/or Solar Roof for customers to meet their specific needs. We have developed software that simplifies and expedites the design process and maximizes the energy production of each solar energy system, as well as mounting hardware that facilitates solar panel installation.

Sales and Marketing

Historically, we have been able to generate significant media coverage of our company and our products, and we believe we will continue to do so. Such media coverage and word of mouth are the current primary drivers of our sales leads and have helped us achieve sales without traditional advertising and at relatively low marketing costs.

Automotive

Direct Sales

Our vehicle sales channels currently include our website and an international network of company-owned stores. In some jurisdictions, we also have galleries to educate and inform customers about our products, but such locations do not actually transact in the sale of vehicles. We believe this infrastructure enables us to better control costs of inventory, manage warranty service and pricing, educate consumers about electric vehicles, maintain and strengthen the Tesla brand and obtain rapid customer feedback.

We reevaluate our sales strategy both globally and at a location-by-location level from time to time to optimize our current sales channels. Sales of vehicles in the automobile industry tend to be cyclical in many markets, which may expose us to volatility from time to time.

Used Vehicle Sales

Our used vehicle business supports new vehicle sales by integrating the trade-in of a customer’s existing Tesla or non-Tesla vehicle with the sale of a new or used Tesla vehicle. The Tesla and non-Tesla vehicles we acquire as trade-ins are subsequently remarketed, either directly by us or through third parties. We also remarket used Tesla vehicles acquired from other sources including lease returns.

Public Charging

We have a growing global network of Tesla Superchargers, which are our industrial grade, high-speed vehicle chargers. Where possible, we co-locate Superchargers with our solar and energy storage systems to reduce costs and promote renewable power. Supercharger stations are typically placed along well-traveled routes and in and around dense city centers to allow Tesla vehicle owners the ability to enjoy quick, reliable and ubiquitous charging with convenient, minimal stops. Use of the Supercharger network either requires payment of a fee or is free under certain sales programs.

6


 

We also work with a wide variety of hospitality, retail and public destinations, as well as businesses with commuting employees, to offer additional charging options for our customers. These Destination Charging and workplace locations deploy Tesla Wall Connectors to provide charging to Tesla vehicle owners who patronize or are employed at their businesses. We also work with single-family homeowners and multi-family residential entities to deploy home charging solutions.

In-App Upgrades

As our vehicles are capable of being updated remotely over-the-air, our customers may purchase additional paid options and features through the Tesla app. We expect that this functionality will also allow us to offer certain options and features on a subscription basis in the future.

Energy Generation and Storage

We market and sell our solar and energy storage products to residential, commercial and industrial customers and utilities through a variety of channels. We emphasize simplicity, standardization and accessibility to make it easy and cost-effective for customers to adopt clean energy, while reducing our customer acquisition costs.

In the U.S., we offer residential solar and energy storage products directly through our website, stores and galleries, as well as through our network of channel partners. Outside of the U.S., we use our international sales organization and a network of channel partners to market and sell these products for the residential market. We also sell Powerwall directly to utilities. In the case of products sold to utilities or channel partners, such partners typically sell the product and manage the installation in customer homes.

We sell our commercial and utility-scale energy storage systems to customers through our U.S. and international sales organization and our channel partner network. In certain jurisdictions, we also sell installed solar energy systems (with or without energy storage) to commercial customers through cash, lease and PPA transactions.

Service and Warranty

Automotive

Service

We provide service for our electric vehicles at our company-owned service locations and through Tesla Mobile Service technicians who perform work remotely at customers’ homes or other locations. Performing vehicle service ourselves provides us with the capability to identify problems and implement solutions and improvements faster, and optimize logistics and inventory better, than traditional automobile manufacturers and their dealer networks. The connectivity of our vehicles also allows us to diagnose and remedy many problems remotely and proactively.

Vehicle Limited Warranties and Extended Service Plans

We provide a manufacturer’s limited warranty on all new and used Tesla vehicles we sell, which may include separate limited warranties on certain components, specific types of damage or battery capacity retention. We also currently offer extended service plans that provide coverage beyond the new vehicle limited warranties for certain models in specified regions.

Energy Generation and Storage

We provide service and repairs to our energy product customers, including under warranty where applicable.

Energy Storage Systems

We generally provide manufacturer’s limited warranties with every new energy storage product and offer certain extended limited warranties that are available at the time of purchase of the system. If we install a system, we also provide certain limited warranties on our installation workmanship. As part of our energy storage system contracts, we may provide the customer with performance guarantees that warrant that the underlying system will meet or exceed the minimum energy performance requirements specified in the contract.

Solar Energy Systems

For retrofit solar energy systems, we provide separate limited warranties for workmanship and against roof leaks, and for Solar Roof, we provide limited warranties for defects and weatherization. For components not manufactured by us, we generally pass-through the applicable manufacturers’ warranties. As part of our solar energy system contracts, we may provide the customer with performance guarantees that warrant that the underlying system will meet or exceed the minimum energy generation requirements specified in the contract.

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Financial Services

Automotive

Purchase Financing and Leases

We offer leasing and/or loan financing arrangements for our vehicles in certain jurisdictions in North America, Europe and Asia through various financial institutions. Under certain of such programs, we have provided resale value guarantees or buyback guarantees that may obligate us to repurchase the subject vehicles at pre-determined values. We also offer vehicle financing arrangements in certain markets for specified vehicle models directly through our local subsidiaries.

Insurance

In August 2019, we launched an insurance product designed for our customers, which offers rates that are often better than other alternatives. This product is currently available in California, and we plan to expand both the markets in which we offer insurance products and our ability to offer such products, as part of our ongoing effort to decrease the total cost of ownership for our customers.

Energy Generation and Storage

Energy Storage Systems

We currently offer certain loan, lease and/or PPA options to residential or commercial customers who pair energy storage systems with solar energy systems. We intend to introduce financial services offerings for customers who purchase standalone energy storage products in the future.

Solar Energy Systems

We offer various financing options to our solar customers. Our solar loan offers third-party financing to enable the customer to purchase and own a solar energy system. We are not a party to the loan agreement, and the third-party lender has no recourse against us with respect to the loan. Our solar lease offers customers a fixed monthly fee at rates that typically translate into lower monthly utility bills and an electricity production guarantee. Our solar PPA charges customers a fee per kilowatt-hour based on the amount of electricity produced by our solar energy systems. We monetize the customer payments we receive from our leases and PPAs through funds we have formed with investors. We also intend to introduce financial services offerings for our Solar Roof customers in the future.

Manufacturing

Manufacturing Facilities in the Bay Area, California

We manufacture and test our vehicles at our manufacturing facilities in the Bay Area in California, including the Fremont Factory and other local manufacturing facilities. We also manufacture and develop certain parts and components that are critical to our intellectual property and quality standards, such as Model S and Model X battery packs and our proprietary lithium-ion battery cells, at these locations.

Gigafactory Nevada near Reno, Nevada

We have integrated battery material, cell, module and battery pack production for Model 3, Model Y and our energy products in one location at Gigafactory Nevada. In addition, we manufacture vehicle drive units and our energy storage products there. Gigafactory Nevada allows us to access high volumes of lithium-ion battery cells manufactured by our partner Panasonic there while achieving a significant reduction in the cost of our battery packs. We continue to invest in Gigafactory Nevada to achieve additional output there, including through our agreement with Panasonic.

Gigafactory New York in Buffalo, New York

We use Gigafactory New York for the development and production of our Solar Roof and other solar products and components, energy storage components and Supercharger components, and for other lessor-approved functions.

Gigafactory Shanghai in China

We established Gigafactory Shanghai to increase the affordability of our vehicles for customers in local markets by reducing transportation and manufacturing costs and eliminating the impact of unfavorable tariffs. We continue to increase the degree of localized procurement and manufacturing there. Gigafactory Shanghai is representative of our plan to iteratively improve our manufacturing operations as we establish new factories, as we implemented the learnings from our Model 3 ramp at the Fremont Factory to commence and ramp our production there quickly and cost-effectively.

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Other Manufacturing

Generally, we continue to expand production capacity at our existing facilities. We also intend to further increase cost-competitiveness in our significant markets by strategically adding local manufacturing, including at Gigafactory Berlin in Germany and Gigafactory Texas in Austin, Texas, which are under construction.

Supply Chain

Our products use thousands of purchased parts that are sourced from hundreds of suppliers across the world. We have developed close relationships with vendors of key parts such as battery cells, electronics and complex vehicle assemblies. Certain components purchased from these suppliers are shared or are similar across many product lines, allowing us to take advantage of pricing efficiencies from economies of scale.   

As is the case for most automotive companies, most of our procured components and systems are sourced from single suppliers. Where multiple sources are available for certain key components, we work to qualify multiple suppliers for them where it is sensible to do so in order to minimize production risks owing to disruptions in their supply. We also mitigate risk by maintaining safety stock for key parts and assemblies and die banks for components with lengthy procurement lead times.  

Our products use various raw materials including aluminum, steel, cobalt, lithium, nickel and copper. Pricing for these materials is governed by market conditions and may fluctuate due to various factors outside of our control, such as supply and demand and market speculation. We strive to execute long-term supply contracts for such materials at competitive pricing when feasible, and we currently believe that we have adequate access to raw materials supplies in order to meet the needs of our operations.

Governmental Programs, Incentives and Regulations

Globally, both the operation of our business by us and the ownership of our products by our customers are impacted by various government programs, incentives and other arrangements. Our business and products are also subject to numerous governmental regulations that vary among jurisdictions.

Programs and Incentives

California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority Tax Incentives

We have agreements with the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority that provide multi-year sales tax exclusions on purchases of manufacturing equipment that will be used for specific purposes, including the expansion and ongoing development of electric vehicles and powertrain production in California.

Gigafactory Nevada—Nevada Tax Incentives

In connection with the construction of Gigafactory Nevada, we entered into agreements with the State of Nevada and Storey County in Nevada that provide abatements for specified taxes, discounts to the base tariff energy rates and transferable tax credits in consideration of capital investment and hiring targets that were met at Gigafactory Nevada. These incentives are available until June 2024 or June 2034, depending on the incentive.

Gigafactory New York—New York State Investment and Lease

We have a lease through the Research Foundation for the State University of New York (the “SUNY Foundation”) with respect to Gigafactory New York. Under the lease and a related research and development agreement, we are continuing to designate further buildouts at the facility. We are required to comply with certain covenants, including hiring and cumulative investment targets.

As we temporarily suspended most of our manufacturing operations at Gigafactory New York pursuant to a New York State executive order issued in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were granted a one-year deferral of our obligation to be compliant with our applicable targets under such agreement on April 30, 2020, which was memorialized in an amendment to our agreement with the SUNY Foundation in July 2020.

Gigafactory Shanghai—Land Use Rights and Economic Benefits

We have an agreement with the local government of Shanghai for land use rights at Gigafactory Shanghai. Under the terms of the arrangement, we are required to meet a cumulative capital expenditure target and an annual tax revenue target starting at the end of 2023. In addition, the Shanghai government has granted to our Gigafactory Shanghai subsidiary in 2019 and 2020 certain incentives to be used in connection with eligible capital investments at Gigafactory Shanghai. Finally, the Shanghai government granted a beneficial corporate income tax rate of 15% to certain eligible enterprises, which is lower than the 25% statutory corporate income tax rate in China. Our Gigafactory Shanghai subsidiary was granted this lower rate for 2019 through 2023.

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Gigafactory Berlin Pending Grant

We have applied for a grant with the German government to improve the design, chemistry, manufacturing technology and recycling of lithium-ion battery cells for Gigafactory Berlin. The grant was approved by the European Commission in January 2021 and its implementation will be subject to a grant agreement with the German government.

Gigafactory Texas – Tax Incentives

In connection with the construction of Gigafactory Texas, we entered into a 20-year agreement with Travis County in Texas pursuant to which we would receive grant funding equal to 70-80% of property taxes paid by us to Travis County and a separate 10-year agreement with the Del Valle Independent School District in Texas pursuant to which a portion of the taxable value of our property would be capped at a specified amount, in each case subject to our meeting certain minimum economic development metrics through our construction and operations at Gigafactory Texas.

Regulatory Credits

We earn tradable credits in the operation of our business under various regulations related to zero-emission vehicles (“ZEVs”), greenhouse gas, fuel economy, renewable energy and clean fuel. We sell these credits to other regulated entities who can use the credits to comply with emission standards, renewable energy procurement standards and other regulatory requirements.

Energy Storage System Incentives and Policies

While the regulatory regime for energy storage projects is still under development, there are various policies, incentives and financial mechanisms at the federal, state and local levels that support the adoption of energy storage.

For example, energy storage systems that are charged using solar energy may be eligible for the solar energy-related U.S. federal tax credits described below. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) has also taken steps to enable the participation of energy storage in wholesale energy markets. In addition, California and a number of other states have adopted procurement targets for energy storage, and behind-the-meter energy storage systems qualify for funding under the California Self Generation Incentive Program.

Solar Energy System Incentives and Policies

U.S. federal, state and local governments have established various policies, incentives and financial mechanisms to reduce the cost of solar energy and to accelerate the adoption of solar energy. These incentives include tax credits, cash grants, tax abatements and rebates.

In particular, Sections 48 and 25D of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code currently provide a tax credit of 26% of qualified commercial or residential expenditures for solar energy systems, which may be claimed by our customers for systems they purchase, or by us for arrangements where we own the systems. These tax credits are currently scheduled to decline and/or expire in 2023 and beyond.

Regulations

Vehicle Safety and Testing

In the U.S., our vehicles are subject to regulation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”), including all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (“FMVSS”) and the NHTSA bumper standard. Numerous FMVSS apply to our vehicles, such as crash-worthiness requirements, crash avoidance requirements and electric vehicle requirements. While our current vehicles fully comply and we expect that our vehicles in the future will fully comply with all applicable FMVSS with limited or no exemptions, FMVSS are subject to change from time to time. As a manufacturer, we must self-certify that our vehicles meet all applicable FMVSS and the NHTSA bumper standard, or otherwise are exempt, before the vehicles may be imported or sold in the U.S.

We are also required to comply with other federal laws administered by NHTSA, including the CAFE standards, Theft Prevention Act requirements, consumer information labeling requirements, Early Warning Reporting requirements regarding warranty claims, field reports, death and injury reports and foreign recalls, owner’s manual requirements and additional requirements for cooperating with safety investigations and defect and recall reporting. The U.S. Automobile Information and Disclosure Act also requires manufacturers of motor vehicles to disclose certain information regarding the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, optional equipment and pricing. In addition, federal law requires inclusion of fuel economy ratings, as determined by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency (the “EPA”), and 5-star safety ratings as determined by NHTSA, if available.

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Our vehicles sold outside of the U.S. are subject to similar foreign safety, environmental and other regulations. Many of those regulations are different from those applicable in the U.S. and may require redesign and/or retesting. Some of those regulations impact or prevent the rollout of new vehicle features. Additionally, the European Union has established new rules regarding additional compliance oversight that commenced in 2020, and there is also regulatory uncertainty related to the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.

Self-Driving Vehicles

Generally, laws pertaining to self-driving vehicles are evolving globally, and in some cases may create restrictions on self-driving features that we develop. While there are currently no federal U.S. regulations specifically pertaining to self-driving vehicles or self-driving equipment, NHTSA has published recommended guidelines on self-driving vehicles, and retains the authority to investigate and/or take action on the safety of any vehicle, equipment or features operating on public roads. Certain U.S. states have legal restrictions on the operation, registration or licensure of self-driving vehicles, and many other states are considering them. This regulatory patchwork increases the legal complexity with respect to self-driving vehicles in the U.S.

In markets that follow the regulations of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, some requirements restrict the design of advanced driver-assistance or self-driving features, which can compromise or prevent their use entirely. Other applicable laws, both current and proposed, may hinder the path and timeline to introducing self-driving vehicles for sale and use in the markets where they apply.

Other key markets, including China, continue to consider self-driving regulation. Any implemented regulations may differ materially from those in the U.S. and Europe, which may further increase the legal complexity of self-driving vehicles and limit or prevent certain features.

Automobile Manufacturer and Dealer Regulation

In the U.S., state laws regulate the manufacture, distribution, sale and service of automobiles, and generally require motor vehicle manufacturers and dealers to be licensed in order to sell vehicles directly to residents. Certain states have asserted that the laws in such states do not permit automobile manufacturers to be licensed as dealers or to act in the capacity of a dealer, or that they otherwise restrict a manufacturer’s ability to deliver or service vehicles. To sell vehicles to residents of states where we are not licensed as a dealer, we generally conduct the transfer of title out of the state. In certain such states, we have opened “galleries” that serve an educational purpose and where the title transfer may not occur.

Some automobile dealer trade associations have both challenged the legality of our operations in court and used administrative and legislative processes to attempt to prohibit or limit our ability to operate existing stores or expand to new locations. Certain dealer associations have also actively lobbied state licensing agencies and legislators to interpret existing laws or enact new laws in ways not favorable to our ownership and operation of our own retail and service locations. We expect such challenges to continue, and we intend to actively fight any such efforts.

Battery Safety and Testing

Our battery packs are subject to various U.S. and international regulations that govern transport of “dangerous goods,” defined to include lithium-ion batteries, which may present a risk in transportation. We conduct testing to demonstrate our compliance with such regulations.

We use lithium-ion cells in our high voltage battery packs in our vehicles and energy storage products. The use, storage and disposal of our battery packs are regulated under existing laws and are the subject of ongoing regulatory changes that may add additional requirements in the future. We have agreements with third party battery recycling companies to recycle our battery packs and we are also piloting our own recycling technology. 

Solar Energy—General

We are not a “regulated utility” in the U.S., although we are subject to certain state and federal regulations applicable to solar and battery storage providers. To operate our systems, we enter into standard interconnection agreements with applicable utilities. Sales of electricity and non-sale equipment leases by third parties, such as our leases, PPAs and subscription agreements, have faced regulatory challenges in some states and jurisdictions.

Solar Energy—Net Metering

Most states in the U.S. make net energy metering, or net metering, available to solar customers. Net metering typically allows solar customers to interconnect their solar energy systems to the utility grid and offset their utility electricity purchases by receiving a bill credit for excess energy generated by their solar energy system that is exported to the grid. In certain jurisdictions, regulators or utilities have reduced or eliminated the benefit available under net metering or have proposed to do so.

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Competition

Automotive

The worldwide automotive market is highly competitive and we expect it will become even more competitive in the future as we introduce additional vehicles in a broader cross-section of the passenger and commercial vehicle market and expand our vehicles’ capabilities.

We believe that our vehicles compete in the market both based on their traditional segment classification as well as based on their propulsion technology. For example, Model S and Model X compete primarily with premium sedans and premium SUVs and Model 3 and Model Y compete with small to medium-sized sedans and compact SUVs, which are extremely competitive markets. Competing products typically include internal combustion vehicles from more established automobile manufacturers; however, many established and new automobile manufacturers have entered or have announced plans to enter the market for electric and other alternative fuel vehicles. Overall, we believe these announcements and vehicle introductions promote the development of the electric vehicle market by highlighting the attractiveness of electric vehicles relative to the internal combustion vehicle. Many major automobile manufacturers have electric vehicles available today in major markets including the U.S., China and Europe, and other current and prospective automobile manufacturers are also developing electric vehicles. In addition, several manufacturers offer hybrid vehicles, including plug-in versions. 

We also believe that there is increasing competition for our vehicle offerings as a platform for delivering self-driving technologies, charging solutions and other features and services, and we expect to compete in this developing market through continued progress on our Autopilot, FSD and neural network capabilities, Supercharger network and our infotainment offerings.

Energy Generation and Storage

Energy Storage Systems

The market for energy storage products is also highly competitive, and both established and emerging companies have introduced products that are similar to our product portfolio or that are alternatives to the elements of our systems. We compete with these companies based on price, energy density and efficiency. We believe that the specifications and features of our products, our strong brand and the modular, scalable nature of our energy storage products give us a competitive advantage in our markets.

Solar Energy Systems

The primary competitors to our solar energy business are the traditional local utility companies that supply energy to our potential customers. We compete with these traditional utility companies primarily based on price and the ease by which customers can switch to electricity generated by our solar energy systems. We also compete with solar energy companies that provide products and services similar to ours. Many solar energy companies only install solar energy systems, while others only provide financing for these installations. We believe we have a significant expansion opportunity with our offerings and that the regulatory environment is increasingly conducive to the adoption of renewable energy systems.

Intellectual Property

We place a strong emphasis on our innovative approach and proprietary designs which bring intrinsic value and uniqueness to our product portfolio.  As part of our business, we seek to protect the underlying intellectual property rights of these innovations and designs such as with respect to patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and other measures, including through employee and third-party nondisclosure agreements and other contractual arrangements. For example, we place a high priority on obtaining patents to provide the broadest and strongest possible protection to enable our freedom to operate our innovations and designs within our products and technologies in the electric vehicle market as well as to protect and defend our product portfolio. We have also adopted a patent policy in which we irrevocably pledged that we will not initiate a lawsuit against any party for infringing our patents through activity relating to electric vehicles or related equipment for so long as such party is acting in good faith. We made this pledge in order to encourage the advancement of a common, rapidly-evolving platform for electric vehicles, thereby benefiting ourselves, other companies making electric vehicles and the world.

Human Capital Resources

As of December 31, 2020, our full-time count for our and our subsidiaries’ employees worldwide was 70,757. To date, we have not experienced any work stoppages as a result of labor disputes, and we consider our relationship with our employees to be good. Our key human capital objectives in managing our business include attracting, developing and retaining top talent while integrating diversity, equity and inclusion principles and practices into our core values.

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We want to attract a pool of diverse and exceptional candidates and support their career growth once they become employees. Our efforts begin at the entry level with development, apprenticeship and internship programs in local high schools, community colleges and four-year colleges. In addition, we seek to hire based on talent rather than solely on educational pedigree, and have provided thousands of job openings, including in our local communities, for capable workers from various backgrounds to learn valuable skills in critical operations such as in manufacturing, vehicle service and energy product installation. We also emphasize in our evaluation and career development efforts internal mobility opportunities for employees to drive professional development. Our goal is a long-term, upward-bound career at Tesla for every employee, which we believe also drives our retention efforts.

We also believe that our ability to retain our workforce is dependent on our ability to foster an environment that is sustainably safe, respectful, fair and inclusive of everyone and promotes diversity, equity and inclusion inside and outside of our business. From our outreach to Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions to sponsoring employee resource groups across numerous locations, including Asian Pacific Islanders at Tesla, Black at Tesla, Intersectionality, Latinos at Tesla, LGBTQ at Tesla, Veterans at Tesla and Women in Tesla, we engage these networks as key business resources and sources of actionable feedback. We are also working on diversity efforts in our supply chain to expand our outreach and support to small- and large-scale suppliers from underrepresented communities to emphasize this culture with our own employees.

Available Information

We file or furnish periodic reports and amendments thereto, including our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K, proxy statements and other information with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). In addition, the SEC maintains a website (www.sec.gov) that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically. Our website is located at www.tesla.com, and our reports, amendments thereto, proxy statements and other information are also made available, free of charge, on our investor relations website at ir.tesla.com as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file or furnish such information with the SEC. The information posted on our website is not incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

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ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS

You should carefully consider the risks described below together with the other information set forth in this report, which could materially affect our business, financial condition and future results. The risks described below are not the only risks facing our company. Risks and uncertainties not currently known to us or that we currently deem to be immaterial also may materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results.

Risks Related to Our Ability to Grow Our Business

We may be impacted by macroeconomic conditions resulting from the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the first quarter of 2020, there has been a worldwide impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. Government regulations and shifting social behaviors have limited or closed non-essential transportation, government functions, business activities and person-to-person interactions. In some cases, the relaxation of such trends has recently been followed by actual or contemplated returns to stringent restrictions on gatherings or commerce, including in parts of the U.S. and a number of areas in Europe.

We temporarily suspended operations at each of our manufacturing facilities worldwide for a part of the first half of 2020. Some of our suppliers and partners also experienced temporary suspensions before resuming, including Panasonic, which manufactures battery cells for our products at our Gigafactory Nevada. We also instituted temporary employee furloughs and compensation reductions while our U.S. operations were scaled back. Reduced operations or closures at motor vehicle departments, vehicle auction houses and municipal and utility company inspectors have resulted in challenges in or postponements for our new vehicle deliveries, used vehicle sales and energy product deployments. Global trade conditions and consumer trends may further adversely impact us and our industries. For example, pandemic-related issues have exacerbated port congestion and intermittent supplier shutdowns and delays, resulting in additional expenses to expedite delivery of critical parts. Similarly, increased demand for personal electronics has created a shortfall of microchip supply, and it is yet unknown how we may be impacted. Sustaining our production trajectory will require the readiness and solvency of our suppliers and vendors, a stable and motivated production workforce and ongoing government cooperation, including for travel and visa allowances. The contingencies inherent in the construction of and ramp at new facilities such as Gigafactory Shanghai, Gigafactory Berlin and Gigafactory Texas may be exacerbated by these challenges.

We cannot predict the duration or direction of current global trends, the sustained impact of which is largely unknown, is rapidly evolving and has varied across geographic regions. Ultimately, we continue to monitor macroeconomic conditions to remain flexible and to optimize and evolve our business as appropriate, and we will have to accurately project demand and infrastructure requirements globally and deploy our production, workforce and other resources accordingly. If current global market conditions continue or worsen, or if we cannot or do not maintain operations at a scope that is commensurate with such conditions or are later required to or choose to suspend such operations again, our business, prospects, financial condition and operating results may be harmed.

We may experience delays in launching and ramping the production of our products and features, or we may be unable to control our manufacturing costs.

We have previously experienced and may in the future experience launch and production ramp delays for new products and features. For example, we encountered unanticipated supplier issues that led to delays during the ramp of Model X and experienced challenges with a supplier and with ramping full automation for certain of our initial Model 3 manufacturing processes. In addition, we may introduce in the future new or unique manufacturing processes and design features for our products. There is no guarantee that we will be able to successfully and timely introduce and scale such processes or features.

In particular, our future business depends in large part on increasing the production of mass-market vehicles including Model 3 and Model Y, which we are planning to achieve through multiple factories worldwide. We have relatively limited experience to date in manufacturing Model 3 and Model Y at high volumes and even less experience building and ramping vehicle production lines across multiple factories in different geographies. In order to be successful, we will need to implement, maintain and ramp efficient and cost-effective manufacturing capabilities, processes and supply chains and achieve the design tolerances, high quality and output rates we have planned at our manufacturing facilities in California, Nevada, Texas, China and Germany. We will also need to hire, train and compensate skilled employees to operate these facilities. Bottlenecks and other unexpected challenges such as those we experienced in the past may arise during our production ramps, and we must address them promptly while continuing to improve manufacturing processes and reducing costs. If we are not successful in achieving these goals, we could face delays in establishing and/or sustaining our Model 3 and Model Y ramps or be unable to meet our related cost and profitability targets.

We may also experience similar future delays in launching and/or ramping production of our energy storage products and Solar Roof; new product versions or variants; new vehicles such as Tesla Semi, Cybertruck and the new Tesla Roadster; and future features and services such as new Autopilot or FSD features and the autonomous Tesla ride-hailing network. Likewise, we may encounter delays with the design, construction and regulatory or other approvals necessary to build and bring online future manufacturing facilities and products.

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Any delay or other complication in ramping the production of our current products or the development, manufacture, launch and production ramp of our future products, features and services, or in doing so cost-effectively and with high quality, may harm our brand, business, prospects, financial condition and operating results.

We may be unable to grow our global product sales, delivery and installation capabilities and our servicing and vehicle charging networks, or we may be unable to accurately project and effectively manage our growth.

Our success will depend on our ability to continue to expand our sales capabilities. We also frequently adjust our retail operations and product offerings in order to optimize our reach, costs, product line-up and model differentiation and customer experience. However, there is no guarantee that such steps will be accepted by consumers accustomed to traditional sales strategies. For example, marketing methods such as touchless test drives that we have pioneered in certain markets have not been proven at scale. We are targeting with Model 3 and Model Y a global mass demographic with a broad range of potential customers, in which we have relatively limited experience projecting demand and pricing our products. We currently produce numerous international variants at a limited number of factories, and if our specific demand expectations for these variants prove inaccurate, we may not be able to timely generate deliveries matched to the vehicles that we produce in the same timeframe or that are commensurate with the size of our operations in a given region. Likewise, as we develop and grow our energy products and services worldwide, our success will depend on our ability to correctly forecast demand in various markets.

Because we do not have independent dealer networks, we are responsible for delivering all of our vehicles to our customers. While we have improved our delivery logistics, we may face difficulties with deliveries at increasing volumes, particularly in international markets requiring significant transit times. For example, we saw challenges in ramping our logistics channels in China and Europe to initially deliver Model 3 there in the first quarter of 2019. We have deployed a number of delivery models, such as deliveries to customers’ homes and workplaces and touchless deliveries, but there is no guarantee that such models will be scalable or be accepted globally. Likewise, as we ramp Solar Roof, we are working to substantially increase installation personnel and decrease installation times. If we are not successful in matching such capabilities with actual production, or if we experience unforeseen production delays or inaccurately forecast demand for the Solar Roof, our business, financial condition and operating results may be harmed.

Moreover, because of our unique expertise with our vehicles, we recommend that our vehicles be serviced by us or by certain authorized professionals. If we experience delays in adding such servicing capacity or servicing our vehicles efficiently, or experience unforeseen issues with the reliability of our vehicles, particularly higher-volume and newer additions to our fleet such as Model 3 and Model Y, it could overburden our servicing capabilities and parts inventory. Similarly, the increasing number of Tesla vehicles also requires us to continue to rapidly increase the number of our Supercharger stations and connectors throughout the world.

There is no assurance that we will be able to ramp our business to meet our sales, delivery, installation, servicing and vehicle charging targets globally, that our projections on which such targets are based will prove accurate or that the pace of growth or coverage of our customer infrastructure network will meet customer expectations. These plans require significant cash investments and management resources and there is no guarantee that they will generate additional sales or installations of our products, or that we will be able to avoid cost overruns or be able to hire additional personnel to support them. As we expand, we will also need to ensure our compliance with regulatory requirements in various jurisdictions applicable to the sale, installation and servicing of our products, the sale or dispatch of electricity related to our energy products and the operation of Superchargers. If we fail to manage our growth effectively, it may harm our brand, business, prospects, financial condition and operating results.

Our future growth and success are dependent upon consumers’ demand for electric vehicles and specifically our vehicles in an automotive industry that is generally competitive, cyclical and volatile.

If the market for electric vehicles in general and Tesla vehicles in particular does not develop as we expect, develops more slowly than we expect, or if demand for our vehicles decreases in our markets or our vehicles compete with each other, our business, prospects, financial condition and operating results may be harmed.

We are still at an earlier stage and have limited resources and production relative to established competitors that offer internal combustion engine vehicles. In addition, electric vehicles still comprise a small percentage of overall vehicle sales. As a result, the market for our vehicles could be negatively affected by numerous factors, such as:

 

perceptions about electric vehicle features, quality, safety, performance and cost;

 

perceptions about the limited range over which electric vehicles may be driven on a single battery charge, and access to charging facilities;

 

competition, including from other types of alternative fuel vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and high fuel-economy internal combustion engine vehicles;

 

volatility in the cost of oil and gasoline, such as wide fluctuations in crude oil prices during 2020;

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government regulations and economic incentives; and

 

concerns about our future viability.

Finally, the target demographics for our vehicles, particularly Model 3 and Model Y, are highly competitive. Sales of vehicles in the automotive industry tend to be cyclical in many markets, which may expose us to further volatility as we expand and adjust our operations and retail strategies. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic may negatively impact the transportation and automotive industries long-term. It is uncertain as to how such macroeconomic factors will impact us as a company that has been experiencing growth and increasing market share in an industry that has globally been experiencing a recent decline in sales.

Our suppliers may fail to deliver components according to schedules, prices, quality and volumes that are acceptable to us, or we may be unable to manage these components effectively.

Our products contain thousands of parts that we purchase globally from hundreds of mostly single-source direct suppliers, generally without long-term supply agreements. This exposes us to multiple potential sources of component shortages, such as those that we experienced in 2012 and 2016 with our Model S and Model X ramps. Unexpected changes in business conditions, materials pricing, labor issues, wars, governmental changes, tariffs, natural disasters such as the March 2011 earthquakes in Japan, health epidemics such as the global COVID-19 pandemic, trade and shipping disruptions and other factors beyond our or our suppliers’ control could also affect these suppliers’ ability to deliver components to us or to remain solvent and operational. For example, a global shortage of microchips has been reported since early 2021, and the impact to us is yet unknown. The unavailability of any component or supplier could result in production delays, idle manufacturing facilities, product design changes and loss of access to important technology and tools for producing and supporting our products. Moreover, significant increases in our production, such as for Model 3 and Model Y, or product design changes by us have required and may in the future require us to procure additional components in a short amount of time. Our suppliers may not be willing or able to sustainably meet our timelines or our cost, quality and volume needs, or to do so may cost us more, which may require us to replace them with other sources. Finally, we have limited vehicle manufacturing experience outside of the Fremont Factory and we may experience issues increasing the level of localized procurement at our Gigafactory Shanghai and at future factories such as Gigafactory Berlin and Gigafactory Texas. While we believe that we will be able to secure additional or alternate sources or develop our own replacements for most of our components, there is no assurance that we will be able to do so quickly or at all. Additionally, we may be unsuccessful in our continuous efforts to negotiate with existing suppliers to obtain cost reductions and avoid unfavorable changes to terms, source less expensive suppliers for certain parts and redesign certain parts to make them less expensive to produce. Any of these occurrences may harm our business, prospects, financial condition and operating results.

As the scale of our vehicle production increases, we will also need to accurately forecast, purchase, warehouse and transport components at high volumes to our manufacturing facilities and servicing locations internationally. If we are unable to accurately match the timing and quantities of component purchases to our actual needs or successfully implement automation, inventory management and other systems to accommodate the increased complexity in our supply chain and parts management, we may incur unexpected production disruption, storage, transportation and write-off costs, which may harm our business and operating results.

We may be unable to meet our projected construction timelines, costs and production ramps at new factories, or we may experience difficulties in generating and maintaining demand for products manufactured there.

Our ability to increase production of our vehicles on a sustained basis, make them affordable globally by accessing local supply chains and workforces and streamline delivery logistics is dependent on the construction and ramp of Gigafactory Shanghai, Gigafactory Berlin and Gigafactory Texas. The construction of and commencement and ramp of production at these factories are subject to a number of uncertainties inherent in all new manufacturing operations, including ongoing compliance with regulatory requirements, procurement and maintenance of construction, environmental and operational licenses and approvals for additional expansion, potential supply chain constraints, hiring, training and retention of qualified employees and the pace of bringing production equipment and processes online with the capability to manufacture high-quality units at scale. For example, we are currently constructing Gigafactory Berlin under conditional permits. Moreover, we intend to incorporate sequential design and manufacturing changes into vehicles manufactured at each new factory. We have limited experience to date with developing and implementing vehicle manufacturing innovations outside of the Fremont Factory, as we only recently began production at Gigafactory Shanghai. In particular, the majority of our design and engineering resources are currently located in California. In order to meet our expectations for our new factories, we must expand and manage localized design and engineering talent and resources. If we experience any issues or delays in meeting our projected timelines, costs, capital efficiency and production capacity for our new factories, expanding and managing teams to implement iterative design and production changes there, maintaining and complying with the terms of any debt financing that we obtain to fund them or generating and maintaining demand for the vehicles we manufacture there, our business, prospects, operating results and financial condition may be harmed.

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We will need to maintain and significantly grow our access to battery cells, including through the development and manufacture of our own cells, and control our related costs.

We are dependent on the continued supply of lithium-ion battery cells for our vehicles and energy storage products, and we will require substantially more cells to grow our business according to our plans. Currently, we rely on suppliers such as Panasonic for these cells. However, we have to date fully qualified only a very limited number of such suppliers and have limited flexibility in changing suppliers. Any disruption in the supply of battery cells from our suppliers could limit production of our vehicles and energy storage products. In the long term, we intend to supplement cells from our suppliers with cells manufactured by us, which we believe will be more efficient, manufacturable at greater volumes and cost-effective than currently available cells. However, our efforts to develop and manufacture such battery cells have required and may require significant investments, and there can be no assurance that we will be able to achieve these targets in the timeframes that we have planned or at all. If we are unable to do so, we may have to curtail our planned vehicle and energy storage product production or procure additional cells from suppliers at potentially greater costs, either of which may harm our business and operating results.

In addition, the cost of battery cells, whether manufactured by our suppliers or by us, depends in part upon the prices and availability of raw materials such as lithium, nickel, cobalt and/or other metals. The prices for these materials fluctuate and their available supply may be unstable, depending on market conditions and global demand for these materials, including as a result of increased global production of electric vehicles and energy storage products. Any reduced availability of these materials may impact our access to cells and any increases in their prices may reduce our profitability if we cannot recoup the increased costs through increased vehicle prices. Moreover, any such attempts to increase product prices may harm our brand, prospects and operating results.

We face strong competition for our products and services from a growing list of established and new competitors.

The worldwide automotive market is highly competitive today and we expect it will become even more so in the future. For example, Model 3 and Model Y face competition from existing and future automobile manufacturers in the extremely competitive entry-level premium sedan and compact SUV markets. A significant and growing number of established and new automobile manufacturers, as well as other companies, have entered or are reported to have plans to enter the market for electric and other alternative fuel vehicles, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric vehicles, as well as the market for self-driving technology and other vehicle applications and software platforms. In some cases, our competitors offer or will offer electric vehicles in important markets such as China and Europe, and/or have announced an intention to produce electric vehicles exclusively at some point in the future. Many of our competitors have significantly greater or better-established resources than we do to devote to the design, development, manufacturing, distribution, promotion, sale and support of their products. Increased competition could result in our lower vehicle unit sales, price reductions, revenue shortfalls, loss of customers and loss of market share, which may harm our business, financial condition and operating results.

We also face competition in our energy generation and storage business from other manufacturers, developers, installers and service providers of competing energy systems, as well as from large utilities. Decreases in the retail or wholesale prices of electricity from utilities or other renewable energy sources could make our products less attractive to customers and lead to an increased rate of residential customer defaults under our existing long-term leases and PPAs.

 

Risks Related to Our Operations

We may experience issues with lithium-ion cells or other components manufactured at Gigafactory Nevada, which may harm the production and profitability of our vehicle and energy storage products.

Our plan to grow the volume and profitability of our vehicles and energy storage products depends on significant lithium-ion battery cell production by our partner Panasonic at Gigafactory Nevada. Although Panasonic has a long track record of producing high-quality cells at significant volume at its factories in Japan, it has relatively limited experience with cell production at Gigafactory Nevada, which began in 2017. Moreover, although Panasonic is co-located with us at Gigafactory Nevada, it is free to make its own operational decisions, such as its determination to temporarily suspend its manufacturing there in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, we produce several vehicle components, such as battery modules and packs incorporating the cells produced by Panasonic for Model 3 and Model Y and drive units (including to support Gigafactory Shanghai production), at Gigafactory Nevada, and we also manufacture energy storage products there. In the past, some of the manufacturing lines for certain product components took longer than anticipated to ramp to their full capacity, and additional bottlenecks may arise in the future as we continue to increase the production rate and introduce new lines. If we or Panasonic are unable to or otherwise do not maintain and grow our respective operations at Gigafactory Nevada production, or if we are unable to do so cost-effectively or hire and retain highly-skilled personnel there, our ability to manufacture our products profitably would be limited, which may harm our business and operating results.

Finally, the high volumes of lithium-ion cells and battery modules and packs manufactured at Gigafactory Nevada are stored and recycled at our various facilities. Any mishandling of battery cells may cause disruption to the operation of such facilities. While

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we have implemented safety procedures related to the handling of the cells, there can be no assurance that a safety issue or fire related to the cells would not disrupt our operations. Any such disruptions or issues may harm our brand and business.

We face risks associated with maintaining and expanding our international operations, including unfavorable and uncertain regulatory, political, economic, tax and labor conditions.

We are subject to legal and regulatory requirements, political uncertainty and social, environmental and economic conditions in numerous jurisdictions, over which we have little control and which are inherently unpredictable. Our operations in such jurisdictions, particularly as a company based in the U.S., create risks relating to conforming our products to regulatory and safety requirements and charging and other electric infrastructures; organizing local operating entities; establishing, staffing and managing foreign business locations; attracting local customers; navigating foreign government taxes, regulations and permit requirements; enforceability of our contractual rights; trade restrictions, customs regulations, tariffs and price or exchange controls; and preferences in foreign nations for domestically manufactured products. Such conditions may increase our costs, impact our ability to sell our products and require significant management attention, and may harm our business if we unable to manage them effectively.

Our business may suffer if our products or features contain defects, fail to perform as expected or take longer than expected to become fully functional.

If our products contain design or manufacturing defects that cause them not to perform as expected or that require repair, or certain features of our vehicles such as new Autopilot or FSD features take longer than expected to become enabled, are legally restricted or become subject to onerous regulation, our ability to develop, market and sell our products and services may be harmed, and we may experience delivery delays, product recalls, product liability, breach of warranty and consumer protection claims and significant warranty and other expenses. In particular, our products are highly dependent on software, which is inherently complex and may contain latent defects or errors or be subject to external attacks. Issues experienced by our customers have included those related to the Model S and Model X 17-inch display screen, the panoramic roof and the 12-volt battery in the Model S, the seats and doors in the Model X and the operation of solar panels installed by us. Although we attempt to remedy any issues we observe in our products as effectively and rapidly as possible, such efforts may not be timely, may hamper production or may not completely satisfy our customers. While we have performed extensive internal testing on our products and features, we currently have a limited frame of reference by which to evaluate their long-term quality, reliability, durability and performance characteristics. There can be no assurance that we will be able to detect and fix any defects in our products prior to their sale to or installation for customers.

We may be required to defend or insure against product liability claims.

The automobile industry generally experiences significant product liability claims, and as such we face the risk of such claims in the event our vehicles do not perform or are claimed to not have performed as expected. As is true for other automakers, our vehicles have been involved and we expect in the future will be involved in accidents resulting in death or personal injury, and such accidents where Autopilot or FSD features are engaged are the subject of significant public attention. We have experienced and we expect to continue to face claims arising from or related to misuse or claimed failures of such new technologies that we are pioneering. In addition, the battery packs that we produce make use of lithium-ion cells. On rare occasions, lithium-ion cells can rapidly release the energy they contain by venting smoke and flames in a manner that can ignite nearby materials as well as other lithium-ion cells. While we have designed our battery packs to passively contain any single cell’s release of energy without spreading to neighboring cells, there can be no assurance that a field or testing failure of our vehicles or other battery packs that we produce will not occur, in particular due to a high-speed crash. Likewise, as our solar energy systems and energy storage products generate and store electricity, they have the potential to fail or cause injury to people or property. Any product liability claim may subject us to lawsuits and substantial monetary damages, product recalls or redesign efforts, and even a meritless claim may require us to defend it, all of which may generate negative publicity and be expensive and time-consuming. In most jurisdictions, we generally self-insure against the risk of product liability claims for vehicle exposure, meaning that any product liability claims will likely have to be paid from company funds and not by insurance.

We will need to maintain public credibility and confidence in our long-term business prospects in order to succeed.

In order to maintain and grow our business, we must maintain credibility and confidence among customers, suppliers, analysts, investors, ratings agencies and other parties in our long-term financial viability and business prospects. Maintaining such confidence may be challenging due to our limited operating history relative to established competitors; customer unfamiliarity with our products; any delays we may experience in scaling manufacturing, delivery and service operations to meet demand; competition and uncertainty regarding the future of electric vehicles or our other products and services; our quarterly production and sales performance compared with market expectations; and other factors including those over which we have no control. In particular, Tesla’s products, business, results of operations, statements and actions are well-publicized by a range of third parties. Such attention includes frequent criticism, which is often exaggerated or unfounded, such as speculation regarding the sufficiency or stability of our management team. Any such negative perceptions, whether caused by us or not, may harm our business and make it more difficult to raise additional funds if needed.

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We may be unable to effectively grow, or manage the compliance, residual value, financing and credit risks related to, our various financing programs.

We offer financing arrangements for our vehicles in North America, Europe and Asia primarily through various financial institutions. We also currently offer vehicle financing arrangements directly through our local subsidiaries in certain markets. Depending on the country, such arrangements are available for specified models and may include operating leases directly with us under which we typically receive only a very small portion of the total vehicle purchase price at the time of lease, followed by a stream of payments over the term of the lease. We have also offered various arrangements for customers of our solar energy systems whereby they pay us a fixed payment to lease or finance the purchase of such systems or purchase electricity generated by them. If we do not successfully monitor and comply with applicable national, state and/or local financial regulations and consumer protection laws governing these transactions, we may become subject to enforcement actions or penalties.

The profitability of any directly-leased vehicles returned to us at the end of their leases depends on our ability to accurately project our vehicles’ residual values at the outset of the leases, and such values may fluctuate prior to the end of their terms depending on various factors such as supply and demand of our used vehicles, economic cycles and the pricing of new vehicles. We have made in the past and may make in the future certain adjustments to our prices from time to time in the ordinary course of business, which may impact the residual values of our vehicles and reduce the profitability of our vehicle leasing program. The funding and growth of this program also relies on our ability to secure adequate financing and/or business partners. If we are unable to adequately fund our leasing program through internal funds, partners or other financing sources, and compelling alternative financing programs are not available for our customers who may expect or need such options, we may be unable to grow our vehicle deliveries. Furthermore, if our vehicle leasing business grows substantially, our business may suffer if we cannot effectively manage the resulting greater levels of residual risk.

Similarly, we have provided resale value guarantees to vehicle customers and partners for certain financing programs, under which such counterparties may sell their vehicles back to us at certain points in time at pre-determined amounts. However, actual resale values are subject to fluctuations over the term of the financing arrangements, such as from the vehicle pricing changes discussed above. If the actual resale values of any vehicles resold or returned to us pursuant to these programs are materially lower than the pre-determined amounts we have offered, our financial condition and operating results may be harmed.

Finally, our vehicle and solar energy system financing programs and our energy storage sales programs also expose us to customer credit risk. In the event of a widespread economic downturn or other catastrophic event, our customers may be unable or unwilling to satisfy their payment obligations to us on a timely basis or at all. If a significant number of our customers default, we may incur substantial credit losses and/or impairment charges with respect to the underlying assets.

We must manage ongoing obligations under our agreement with the Research Foundation for the State University of New York relating to our Gigafactory New York.

We are party to an operating lease and a research and development agreement through the SUNY Foundation. These agreements provide for the construction and use of our Gigafactory New York, which we have primarily used for the development and production of our Solar Roof and other solar products and components, energy storage components and Supercharger components, and for other lessor-approved functions. Under this agreement, we are obligated to, among other things, meet employment targets as well as specified minimum numbers of personnel in the State of New York and in Buffalo, New York and spend or incur $5.00 billion in combined capital, operational expenses, costs of goods sold and other costs in the State of New York during the 10-year period beginning April 30, 2018. As we temporarily suspended most of our manufacturing operations at Gigafactory New York pursuant to a New York State executive order issued in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were granted a one-year deferral of our obligation to be compliant with our applicable targets under such agreement on April 30, 2020, which was memorialized in an amendment to our agreement with the SUNY Foundation in July 2020. While we expect to have and grow significant operations at Gigafactory New York and the surrounding Buffalo area, any failure by us in any year over the course of the term of the agreement to meet all applicable future obligations may result in our obligation to pay a “program payment” of $41 million to the SUNY Foundation for such year, the termination of our lease at Gigafactory New York which may require us to pay additional penalties and/or the need to adjust certain of our operations, in particular our production ramp of the Solar Roof or other components. Any of the foregoing events may harm our business, financial condition and operating results.

If we are unable to attract, hire and retain key employees and qualified personnel, our ability to compete may be harmed.

The loss of the services of any of our key employees or any significant portion of our workforce could disrupt our operations or delay the development, introduction and ramp of our products and services. In particular, we are highly dependent on the services of Elon Musk, our Chief Executive Officer. None of our key employees is bound by an employment agreement for any specific term and we may not be able to successfully attract and retain senior leadership necessary to grow our business. Our future success also depends upon our ability to attract, hire and retain a large number of engineering, manufacturing, marketing, sales and delivery, service, installation, technology and support personnel, especially to support our planned high-volume product sales, market and geographical

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expansion and technological innovations. Recruiting efforts, particularly for senior employees, may be time-consuming, which may delay the execution of our plans. If we are not successful in managing these risks, our business, financial condition and operating results may be harmed.

Employees may leave Tesla or choose other employers over Tesla due to various factors, such as a very competitive labor market for talented individuals with automotive or technology experience, or any negative publicity related to us. In California, Nevada and other regions where we have operations, there is increasing competition for individuals with skillsets needed for our business, including specialized knowledge of electric vehicles, software engineering, manufacturing engineering and electrical and building construction expertise. Moreover, we may be impacted by perceptions relating to reductions in force that we have conducted in the past in order to optimize our organizational structure and reduce costs and the departure of certain senior personnel for various reasons. Likewise, as a result of our temporary suspension of various U.S. manufacturing operations in the first half of 2020, in April 2020 we temporarily furloughed certain hourly employees and reduced most salaried employees’ base salaries. We also compete with both mature and prosperous companies that have far greater financial resources than we do and start-ups and emerging companies that promise short-term growth opportunities.

Finally, our compensation philosophy for all of our personnel reflects our startup origins, with an emphasis on equity-based awards and benefits in order to closely align their incentives with the long-term interests of our stockholders. We periodically seek and obtain approval from our stockholders for future increases to the number of awards available under our equity incentive and employee stock purchase plans. If we are unable to obtain the requisite stockholder approvals for such future increases, we may have to expend additional cash to compensate our employees and our ability to retain and hire qualified personnel may be harmed.

We are highly dependent on the services of Elon Musk, our Chief Executive Officer.

We are highly dependent on the services of Elon Musk, our Chief Executive Officer and largest stockholder. Although Mr. Musk spends significant time with Tesla and is highly active in our management, he does not devote his full time and attention to Tesla. Mr. Musk also currently serves as Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technical Officer of Space Exploration Technologies Corp., a developer and manufacturer of space launch vehicles, and is involved in other emerging technology ventures.

We must manage risks relating to our information technology systems and the threat of intellectual property theft, data breaches and cyber-attacks.

We must continue to expand and improve our information technology systems as our operations grow, such as product data management, procurement, inventory management, production planning and execution, sales, service and logistics, dealer management, financial, tax and regulatory compliance systems. This includes the implementation of new internally developed systems and the deployment of such systems in the U.S. and abroad. We must also continue to maintain information technology measures designed to protect us against intellectual property theft, data breaches, sabotage and other external or internal cyber-attacks or misappropriation. However, the implementation, maintenance, segregation and improvement of these systems require significant management time, support and cost, and there are inherent risks associated with developing, improving and expanding our core systems as well as implementing new systems and updating current systems, including disruptions to the related areas of business operation. These risks may affect our ability to manage our data and inventory, procure parts or supplies or manufacture, sell, deliver and service products, adequately protect our intellectual property or achieve and maintain compliance with, or realize available benefits under, tax laws and other applicable regulations.

Moreover, if we do not successfully implement, maintain or expand these systems as planned, our operations may be disrupted, our ability to accurately and/or timely report our financial results could be impaired and deficiencies may arise in our internal control over financial reporting, which may impact our ability to certify our financial results. Moreover, our proprietary information or intellectual property could be compromised or misappropriated and our reputation may be adversely affected. If these systems or their functionality do not operate as we expect them to, we may be required to expend significant resources to make corrections or find alternative sources for performing these functions.

Any unauthorized control or manipulation of our products’ systems could result in loss of confidence in us and our products.

Our products contain complex information technology systems. For example, our vehicles and energy storage products are designed with built-in data connectivity to accept and install periodic remote updates from us to improve or update their functionality. While we have implemented security measures intended to prevent unauthorized access to our information technology networks, our products and their systems, malicious entities have reportedly attempted, and may attempt in the future, to gain unauthorized access to modify, alter and use such networks, products and systems to gain control of, or to change, our products’ functionality, user interface and performance characteristics or to gain access to data stored in or generated by our products. We encourage reporting of potential vulnerabilities in the security of our products through our security vulnerability reporting policy, and we aim to remedy any reported and verified vulnerability. However, there can be no assurance that any vulnerabilities will not be exploited before they can be identified, or that our remediation efforts are or will be successful.

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Any unauthorized access to or control of our products or their systems or any loss of data could result in legal claims or government investigations. In addition, regardless of their veracity, reports of unauthorized access to our products, their systems or data, as well as other factors that may result in the perception that our products, their systems or data are capable of being hacked, may harm our brand, prospects and operating results. We have been the subject of such reports in the past.

Our business may be adversely affected by any disruptions caused by union activities.

It is not uncommon for employees of certain trades at companies such as us to belong to a union, which can result in higher employee costs and increased risk of work stoppages. Moreover, regulations in some jurisdictions outside of the U.S. mandate employee participation in industrial collective bargaining agreements and work councils with certain consultation rights with respect to the relevant companies’ operations. Although we work diligently to provide the best possible work environment for our employees, they may still decide to join or seek recognition to form a labor union, or we may be required to become a union signatory. From time to time, labor unions have engaged in campaigns to organize certain of our operations, as part of which such unions have filed unfair labor practice charges against us with the National Labor Relations Board, and they may do so in the future. In September 2019, an administrative law judge issued a recommended decision for Tesla on certain issues and against us on certain others. The National Labor Relations Board has not yet adopted the recommendation and we have appealed certain aspects of the recommended decision. Any unfavorable ultimate outcome for Tesla may have a negative impact on the perception of Tesla’s treatment of our employees. Furthermore, we are directly or indirectly dependent upon companies with unionized work forces, such as suppliers and trucking and freight companies. Any work stoppages or strikes organized by such unions could delay the manufacture and sale of our products and may harm our business and operating results.

We may choose to or be compelled to undertake product recalls or take other similar actions.

As a manufacturing company, we must manage the risk of product recalls with respect to our products. Recalls for our vehicles have resulted from, for example, industry-wide issues with airbags from a particular supplier, concerns of corrosion in Model S and Model X power steering assist motor bolts, certain suspension failures in Model S and Model X and issues with Model S and Model X media control units. In addition to recalls initiated by us for various causes, testing of or investigations into our products by government regulators or industry groups may compel us to initiate product recalls or may result in negative public perceptions about the safety of our products, even if we disagree with the defect determination or have data that shows the actual safety risk to be non-existent. In the future, we may voluntarily or involuntarily initiate recalls if any of our products are determined by us or a regulator to contain a safety defect or be noncompliant with applicable laws and regulations, such as U.S. federal motor vehicle safety standards. Such recalls, whether voluntary or involuntary or caused by systems or components engineered or manufactured by us or our suppliers, could result in significant expense, supply chain complications and service burdens, and may harm our brand, business, prospects, financial condition and operating results.

Our current and future warranty reserves may be insufficient to cover future warranty claims.

We provide a manufacturer’s warranty on all new and used Tesla vehicles we sell. We also provide certain warranties with respect to the energy generation and storage systems we sell, including on their installation and maintenance, and for components not manufactured by us, we generally pass through to our customers the applicable manufacturers’ warranties. As part of our energy generation and storage system contracts, we may provide the customer with performance guarantees that warrant that the underlying system will meet or exceed the minimum energy generation or other energy performance requirements specified in the contract. Under these performance guarantees, we bear the risk of electricity production or other performance shortfalls, even if they result from failures in components from third party manufacturers. These risks are exacerbated in the event such manufacturers cease operations or fail to honor their warranties.

If our warranty reserves are inadequate to cover future warranty claims on our products, our financial condition and operating results may be harmed. Warranty reserves include our management’s best estimates of the projected costs to repair or to replace items under warranty, which are based on actual claims incurred to date and an estimate of the nature, frequency and costs of future claims. Such estimates are inherently uncertain and changes to our historical or projected experience, especially with respect to products such as Model 3, Model Y and Solar Roof that we have recently introduced and/or that we expect to produce at significantly greater volumes than our past products, may cause material changes to our warranty reserves in the future.

Our insurance coverage strategy may not be adequate to protect us from all business risks.

We may be subject, in the ordinary course of business, to losses resulting from products liability, accidents, acts of God and other claims against us, for which we may have no insurance coverage. As a general matter, we do not maintain as much insurance coverage as many other companies do, and in some cases, we do not maintain any at all. Additionally, the policies that we do have may include significant deductibles or self-insured retentions, policy limitations and exclusions, and we cannot be certain that our insurance coverage will be sufficient to cover all future losses or claims against us. A loss that is uninsured or which exceeds policy limits may require us to pay substantial amounts, which may harm our financial condition and operating results.

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There is no guarantee that we will have sufficient cash flow from our business to pay our substantial indebtedness or that we will not incur additional indebtedness.

As of December 31, 2020, we and our subsidiaries had outstanding $10.57 billion in aggregate principal amount of indebtedness (see Note 12, Debt, to the consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K). Our substantial consolidated indebtedness may increase our vulnerability to any generally adverse economic and industry conditions. We and our subsidiaries may, subject to the limitations in the terms of our existing and future indebtedness, incur additional debt, secure existing or future debt or recapitalize our debt.

Holders of convertible senior notes issued by us or our subsidiary may convert such notes at their option prior to the scheduled maturities of the respective convertible senior notes under certain circumstances pursuant to the terms of such notes. Upon conversion of the applicable convertible senior notes, we will be obligated to deliver cash and/or shares pursuant to the terms of such notes. For example, as our stock price has significantly increased recently, we have seen higher levels of early conversions of such “in-the-money” convertible senior notes. Moreover, holders of such convertible senior notes may have the right to require us to repurchase their notes upon the occurrence of a fundamental change pursuant to the terms of such notes.

Our ability to make scheduled payments of the principal and interest on our indebtedness when due, to make payments upon conversion or repurchase demands with respect to our convertible senior notes or to refinance our indebtedness as we may need or desire, depends on our future performance, which is subject to economic, financial, competitive and other factors beyond our control. Our business may not continue to generate cash flow from operations in the future sufficient to satisfy our obligations under our existing indebtedness and any future indebtedness we may incur, and to make necessary capital expenditures. If we are unable to generate such cash flow, we may be required to adopt one or more alternatives, such as reducing or delaying investments or capital expenditures, selling assets, refinancing or obtaining additional equity capital on terms that may be onerous or highly dilutive. Our ability to refinance existing or future indebtedness will depend on the capital markets and our financial condition at such time. In addition, our ability to make payments may be limited by law, by regulatory authority or by agreements governing our future indebtedness. We may not be able to engage in these activities on desirable terms or at all, which may result in a default on our existing or future indebtedness and harm our financial condition and operating results.

Our debt agreements contain covenant restrictions that may limit our ability to operate our business.

The terms of certain of our credit facilities, including our senior asset-based revolving credit agreement, contain, and any of our other future debt agreements may contain, covenant restrictions that limit our ability to operate our business, including restrictions on our ability to, among other things, incur additional debt or issue guarantees, create liens, repurchase stock, or make other restricted payments, and make certain voluntary prepayments of specified debt. In addition, under certain circumstances we are required to comply with a fixed charge coverage ratio. As a result of these covenants, our ability to respond to changes in business and economic conditions and engage in beneficial transactions, including to obtain additional financing as needed, may be restricted. Furthermore, our failure to comply with our debt covenants could result in a default under our debt agreements, which could permit the holders to accelerate our obligation to repay the debt. If any of our debt is accelerated, we may not have sufficient funds available to repay it.

Additional funds may not be available to us when we need or want them.

Our business and our future plans for expansion are capital-intensive, and the specific timing of cash inflows and outflows may fluctuate substantially from period to period. We may need or want to raise additional funds through the issuance of equity, equity-related or debt securities or through obtaining credit from financial institutions to fund, together with our principal sources of liquidity, the costs of developing and manufacturing our current or future products, to pay any significant unplanned or accelerated expenses or for new significant strategic investments, or to refinance our significant consolidated indebtedness, even if not required to do so by the terms of such indebtedness. We cannot be certain that additional funds will be available to us on favorable terms when required, or at all. If we cannot raise additional funds when we need them, our financial condition, results of operations, business and prospects could be materially and adversely affected.

We may be negatively impacted by any early obsolescence of our manufacturing equipment.

We depreciate the cost of our manufacturing equipment over their expected useful lives. However, product cycles or manufacturing technology may change periodically, and we may decide to update our products or manufacturing processes more quickly than expected. Moreover, improvements in engineering and manufacturing expertise and efficiency may result in our ability to manufacture our products using less of our currently installed equipment. Alternatively, as we ramp and mature the production of our products to higher levels, we may discontinue the use of already installed equipment in favor of different or additional equipment. The useful life of any equipment that would be retired early as a result would be shortened, causing the depreciation on such equipment to be accelerated, and our results of operations may be harmed.

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We hold and may acquire digital assets that may be subject to volatile market prices, impairment and unique risks of loss.

 

In January 2021, we updated our investment policy to provide us with more flexibility to further diversify and maximize returns on our cash that is not required to maintain adequate operating liquidity. As part of the policy, which was duly approved by the Audit Committee of our Board of Directors, we may invest a portion of such cash in certain alternative reserve assets including digital assets, gold bullion, gold exchange-traded funds and other assets as specified in the future. Thereafter, we invested an aggregate $1.50 billion in bitcoin under this policy and may acquire and hold digital assets from time to time or long-term. Moreover, we expect to begin accepting bitcoin as a form of payment for our products in the near future, subject to applicable laws and initially on a limited basis, which we may or may not liquidate upon receipt.

 

The prices of digital assets have been in the past and may continue to be highly volatile, including as a result of various associated risks and uncertainties. For example, the prevalence of such assets is a relatively recent trend, and their long-term adoption by investors, consumers and businesses is unpredictable. Moreover, their lack of a physical form, their reliance on technology for their creation, existence and transactional validation and their decentralization may subject their integrity to the threat of malicious attacks and technological obsolescence. Finally, the extent to which securities laws or other regulations apply or may apply in the future to such assets is unclear and may change in the future. If we hold digital assets and their values decrease relative to our purchase prices, our financial condition may be harmed.

 

Moreover, digital assets are currently considered indefinite-lived intangible assets under applicable accounting rules, meaning that any decrease in their fair values below our carrying values for such assets at any time subsequent to their acquisition will require us to recognize impairment charges, whereas we may make no upward revisions for any market price increases until a sale, which may adversely affect our operating results in any period in which such impairment occurs. Moreover, there is no guarantee that future changes in GAAP will not require us to change the way we account for digital assets held by us.

 

Finally, as intangible assets without centralized issuers or governing bodies, digital assets have been, and may in the future be, subject to security breaches, cyberattacks or other malicious activities, as well as human errors or computer malfunctions that may result in the loss or destruction of private keys needed to access such assets. While we intend to take all reasonable measures to secure any digital assets, if such threats are realized or the measures or controls we create or implement to secure our digital assets fail, it could result in a partial or total misappropriation or loss of our digital assets, and our financial condition and operating results may be harmed.

We are exposed to fluctuations in currency exchange rates.

We transact business globally in multiple currencies and have foreign currency risks related to our revenue, costs of revenue, operating expenses and localized subsidiary debt denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, currently primarily the Chinese yuan, euro, Canadian dollar and British pound. To the extent we have significant revenues denominated in such foreign currencies, any strengthening of the U.S. dollar would tend to reduce our revenues as measured in U.S. dollars, as we have historically experienced. In addition, a portion of our costs and expenses have been, and we anticipate will continue to be, denominated in foreign currencies, including the Chinese yuan and Japanese yen. If we do not have fully offsetting revenues in these currencies and if the value of the U.S. dollar depreciates significantly against these currencies, our costs as measured in U.S. dollars as a percent of our revenues will correspondingly increase and our margins will suffer. Moreover, while we undertake limited hedging activities intended to offset the impact of currency translation exposure, it is impossible to predict or eliminate such impact. As a result, our operating results may be harmed.

We may need to defend ourselves against intellectual property infringement claims, which may be time-consuming and expensive.

Our competitors or other third parties may hold or obtain patents, copyrights, trademarks or other proprietary rights that could prevent, limit or interfere with our ability to make, use, develop, sell or market our products and services, which could make it more difficult for us to operate our business. From time to time, the holders of such intellectual property rights may assert their rights and urge us to take licenses and/or may bring suits alleging infringement or misappropriation of such rights, which could result in substantial costs, negative publicity and management attention, regardless of merit. While we endeavor to obtain and protect the intellectual property rights that we expect will allow us to retain or advance our strategic initiatives, there can be no assurance that we will be able to adequately identify and protect the portions of intellectual property that are strategic to our business, or mitigate the risk of potential suits or other legal demands by our competitors. Accordingly, we may consider the entering into licensing agreements with respect to such rights, although no assurance can be given that such licenses can be obtained on acceptable terms or that litigation will not occur, and such licenses and associated litigation could significantly increase our operating expenses. In addition, if we are determined to have or believe there is a high likelihood that we have infringed upon a third party’s intellectual property rights, we may be required to cease making, selling or incorporating certain components or intellectual property into the goods and services we offer, to pay substantial damages and/or license royalties, to redesign our products and services and/or to establish and maintain alternative

23


 

branding for our products and services. In the event that we are required to take one or more such actions, our brand, business, financial condition and operating results may be harmed.

Our operations could be adversely affected by events outside of our control, such as natural disasters, wars or health epidemics.

We may be impacted by natural disasters, wars, health epidemics or other events outside of our control. For example, our corporate headquarters, the Fremont Factory and Gigafactory Nevada are located in seismically active regions in Northern California and Nevada, and our Gigafactory Shanghai is located in a flood-prone area. If major disasters such as earthquakes, floods or other events occur, or our information system or communications network breaks down or operates improperly, our headquarters and production facilities may be seriously damaged, or we may have to stop or delay production and shipment of our products. In addition, the global COVID-19 pandemic has impacted economic markets, manufacturing operations, supply chains, employment and consumer behavior in nearly every geographic region and industry across the world, and we have been, and may in the future be, adversely affected as a result. We may incur expenses or delays relating to such events outside of our control, which could have a material adverse impact on our business, operating results and financial condition.

Risks Related to Government Laws and Regulations

Demand for our products and services may be impacted by the status of government and economic incentives supporting the development and adoption of such products.

Government and economic incentives that support the development and adoption of electric vehicles in the U.S. and abroad, including certain tax exemptions, tax credits and rebates, may be reduced, eliminated or exhausted from time to time. For example, a $7,500 federal tax credit that was available in the U.S. for the purchase of our vehicles was reduced in phases during and ultimately ended in 2019. We believe that this sequential phase-out likely pulled forward some vehicle demand into the periods preceding each reduction. Moreover, previously available incentives favoring electric vehicles in areas including Ontario, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Denmark and California have expired or were cancelled or temporarily unavailable, and in some cases were not eventually replaced or reinstituted, which may have negatively impacted sales. Any similar developments could have some negative impact on demand for our vehicles, and we and our customers may have to adjust to them.

In addition, certain governmental rebates, tax credits and other financial incentives that are currently available with respect to our solar and energy storage product businesses allow us to lower our costs and encourage customers to buy our products and investors to invest in our solar financing funds. However, these incentives may expire when the allocated funding is exhausted, reduced or terminated as renewable energy adoption rates increase, sometimes without warning. For example, the U.S. federal government currently offers certain tax credits for the installation of solar power facilities and energy storage systems that are charged from a co-sited solar power facility; however, these tax credits are currently scheduled to decline and/or expire in 2023 and beyond. Likewise, in jurisdictions where net metering is currently available, our customers receive bill credits from utilities for energy that their solar energy systems generate and export to the grid in excess of the electric load they use. The benefit available under net metering has been or has been proposed to be reduced, altered or eliminated in several jurisdictions, and has also been contested and may continue to be contested before the FERC. Any reductions or terminations of such incentives may harm our business, prospects, financial condition and operating results by making our products less competitive for potential customers, increasing our cost of capital and adversely impacting our ability to attract investment partners and to form new financing funds for our solar and energy storage assets.

Finally, we and our fund investors claim these U.S. federal tax credits and certain state incentives in amounts based on independently appraised fair market values of our solar and energy storage systems. Nevertheless, the relevant governmental authorities have audited such values and in certain cases have determined that these values should be lower, and they may do so again in the future. Such determinations may result in adverse tax consequences and/or our obligation to make indemnification or other payments to our funds or fund investors.

We are subject to evolving laws and regulations that could impose substantial costs, legal prohibitions or unfavorable changes upon our operations or products.

As we grow our manufacturing operations in additional regions, we are or will be subject to complex environmental, manufacturing, health and safety laws and regulations at numerous jurisdictional levels in the U.S., China, Germany and other locations abroad, including laws relating to the use, handling, storage, recycling, disposal and/or human exposure to hazardous materials, product material inputs and post-consumer products and with respect to constructing, expanding and maintaining our facilities. The costs of compliance, including remediations of any discovered issues and any changes to our operations mandated by new or amended laws, may be significant, and any failures to comply could result in significant expenses, delays or fines. We are also subject to laws and regulations applicable to the supply, manufacture, import, sale and service of automobiles both domestically and abroad. For example, in countries outside of the U.S., we are required to meet standards relating to vehicle safety, fuel economy and

24


 

emissions that are often materially different from requirements in the U.S., thus resulting in additional investment into the vehicles and systems to ensure regulatory compliance in those countries. This process may include official review and certification of our vehicles by foreign regulatory agencies prior to market entry, as well as compliance with foreign reporting and recall management systems requirements.

In particular, we offer in our vehicles Autopilot and FSD features that today assist drivers with certain tedious and potentially dangerous aspects of road travel, but which currently require drivers to remain fully engaged in the driving operation. We are continuing to develop our FSD technology with the goal of achieving full self-driving capability in the future. There are a variety of international, federal and state regulations that may apply to self-driving vehicles, which include many existing vehicle standards that were not originally intended to apply to vehicles that may not have a driver. Such regulations continue to rapidly change, which increases the likelihood of a patchwork of complex or conflicting regulations, or may delay products or restrict self-driving features and availability, which could adversely affect our business.

Finally, as a manufacturer, installer and service provider with respect to solar generation and energy storage systems and a supplier of electricity generated and stored by the solar energy and energy storage systems we install for customers, we are impacted by federal, state and local regulations and policies concerning electricity pricing, the interconnection of electricity generation and storage equipment with the electric grid and the sale of electricity generated by third party-owned systems. If regulations and policies that adversely impact the interconnection or use of our solar and energy storage systems are introduced, they could deter potential customers from purchasing our solar and energy storage products, threaten the economics of our existing contracts and cause us to cease solar and energy storage system sales and operations in the relevant jurisdictions, which may harm our business, financial condition and operating results.

Any failure by us to comply with a variety of U.S. and international privacy and consumer protection laws may harm us.

Any failure by us or our vendor or other business partners to comply with our public privacy notice or with federal, state or international privacy, data protection or security laws or regulations relating to the processing, collection, use, retention, security and transfer of personally identifiable information could result in regulatory or litigation-related actions against us, legal liability, fines, damages, ongoing audit requirements and other significant costs. Substantial expenses and operational changes may be required in connection with maintaining compliance with such laws, and in particular certain emerging privacy laws are still subject to a high degree of uncertainty as to their interpretation and application. For example, in May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation began to fully apply to the processing of personal information collected from individuals located in the European Union, and has created new compliance obligations and significantly increased fines for noncompliance. Similarly, as of January 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act imposes certain legal obligations on our use and processing of personal information related to California residents. Finally, new privacy and cybersecurity laws are coming into effect in China. Notwithstanding our efforts to protect the security and integrity of our customers’ personal information, we may be required to expend significant resources to comply with data breach requirements if, for example, third parties improperly obtain and use the personal information of our customers or we otherwise experience a data loss with respect to customers’ personal information. A major breach of our network security and systems may result in fines, penalties and damages and harm our brand, prospects and operating results.

We could be subject to liability, penalties and other restrictive sanctions and adverse consequences arising out of certain governmental investigations and proceedings.

We are cooperating with certain government investigations as discussed in Note 16, Commitments and Contingencies, to the consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. To our knowledge, no government agency in any such ongoing investigation has concluded that any wrongdoing occurred. However, we cannot predict the outcome or impact of any such ongoing matters, and there exists the possibility that we could be subject to liability, penalties and other restrictive sanctions and adverse consequences if the SEC, the U.S. Department of Justice or any other government agency were to pursue legal action in the future. Moreover, we expect to incur costs in responding to related requests for information and subpoenas, and if instituted, in defending against any governmental proceedings.

For example, on October 16, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York entered a final judgment approving the terms of a settlement filed with the Court on September 29, 2018, in connection with the actions taken by the SEC relating to Mr. Musk’s statement on August 7, 2018 that he was considering taking Tesla private. Pursuant to the settlement, we, among other things, paid a civil penalty of $20 million, appointed an independent director as the chair of our board of directors, appointed two additional independent directors to our board of directors and made further enhancements to our disclosure controls and other corporate governance-related matters. On April 26, 2019, this settlement was amended to clarify certain of the previously-agreed disclosure procedures, which was subsequently approved by the Court. All other terms of the prior settlement were reaffirmed without modification. Although we intend to continue to comply with the terms and requirements of the settlement, if there is a lack of compliance or an alleged lack of compliance, additional enforcement actions or other legal proceedings may be instituted against us.

25


 

We may face regulatory challenges to or limitations on our ability to sell vehicles directly.

While we intend to continue to leverage our most effective sales strategies, including sales through our website, we may not be able to sell our vehicles through our own stores in certain states in the U.S. with laws that may be interpreted to impose limitations on this direct-to-consumer sales model. It has also been asserted that the laws in some states limit our ability to obtain dealer licenses from state motor vehicle regulators, and such assertions persist. In certain locations, decisions by regulators permitting us to sell vehicles have been and may be challenged by dealer associations and others as to whether such decisions comply with applicable state motor vehicle industry laws. We have prevailed in many of these lawsuits and such results have reinforced our continuing belief that state laws were not intended to apply to a manufacturer that does not have franchise dealers. In some states, there have also been regulatory and legislative efforts by dealer associations to propose laws that, if enacted, would prevent us from obtaining dealer licenses in their states given our current sales model. A few states have passed legislation that clarifies our ability to operate, but at the same time limits the number of dealer licenses we can obtain or stores that we can operate. The application of state laws applicable to our operations continues to be difficult to predict.

Internationally, there may be laws in jurisdictions we have not yet entered or laws we are unaware of in jurisdictions we have entered that may restrict our sales or other business practices. Even for those jurisdictions we have analyzed, the laws in this area can be complex, difficult to interpret and may change over time. Continued regulatory limitations and other obstacles interfering with our ability to sell vehicles directly to consumers may harm our financial condition and operating results.

Risks Related to the Ownership of Our Common Stock

The trading price of our common stock is likely to continue to be volatile.

The trading price of our common stock has been highly volatile and could continue to be subject to wide fluctuations in response to various factors, some of which are beyond our control. Our common stock has experienced over the last 52 weeks an intra-day trading high of $900.40 per share and a low of $70.10 per share, as adjusted to give effect to the reflect the five-for-one stock split effected in the form of a stock dividend in August 2020 (the “Stock Split”). The stock market in general, and the market for technology companies in particular, has experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of those companies. In particular, a large proportion of our common stock has been historically and may in the future be traded by short sellers which may put pressure on the supply and demand for our common stock, further influencing volatility in its market price. Public perception and other factors outside of our control may additionally impact the stock price of companies like us that garner a disproportionate degree of public attention, regardless of actual operating performance. In addition, in the past, following periods of volatility in the overall market or the market price of our shares, securities class action litigation has been filed against us. While we defend such actions vigorously, any judgment against us or any future stockholder litigation could result in substantial costs and a diversion of our management’s attention and resources.

Our financial results may vary significantly from period to period due to fluctuations in our operating costs and other factors.

We expect our period-to-period financial results to vary based on our operating costs, which we anticipate will fluctuate as the pace at which we continue to design, develop and manufacture new products and increase production capacity by expanding our current manufacturing facilities and adding future facilities, may not be consistent or linear between periods. Additionally, our revenues from period to period may fluctuate as we introduce existing products to new markets for the first time and as we develop and introduce new products. As a result of these factors, we believe that quarter-to-quarter comparisons of our financial results, especially in the short term, are not necessarily meaningful and that these comparisons cannot be relied upon as indicators of future performance. Moreover, our financial results may not meet expectations of equity research analysts, ratings agencies or investors, who may be focused only on short-term quarterly financial results. If any of this occurs, the trading price of our stock could fall substantially, either suddenly or over time.

We may fail to meet our publicly announced guidance or other expectations about our business, which could cause our stock price to decline.

We may provide from time to time guidance regarding our expected financial and business performance. Correctly identifying key factors affecting business conditions and predicting future events is inherently an uncertain process, and our guidance may not ultimately be accurate and has in the past been inaccurate in certain respects, such as the timing of new product manufacturing ramps. Our guidance is based on certain assumptions such as those relating to anticipated production and sales volumes (which generally are not linear throughout a given period), average sales prices, supplier and commodity costs and planned cost reductions. If our guidance varies from actual results due to our assumptions not being met or the impact on our financial performance that could occur as a result of various risks and uncertainties, the market value of our common stock could decline significantly.

26


 

Transactions relating to our convertible senior notes may dilute the ownership interest of existing stockholders, or may otherwise depress the price of our common stock.

The conversion of some or all of the convertible senior notes issued by us or our subsidiaries would dilute the ownership interests of existing stockholders to the extent we deliver shares upon conversion of any of such notes by their holders, and we may be required to deliver a significant number of shares. Any sales in the public market of the common stock issuable upon such conversion could adversely affect their prevailing market prices. In addition, the existence of the convertible senior notes may encourage short selling by market participants because the conversion of such notes could be used to satisfy short positions, or the anticipated conversion of such notes into shares of our common stock could depress the price of our common stock.

Moreover, in connection with certain of the convertible senior notes, we entered into convertible note hedge transactions, which are expected to reduce the potential dilution and/or offset potential cash payments we are required to make in excess of the principal amount upon conversion of the applicable notes. We also entered into warrant transactions with the hedge counterparties, which could separately have a dilutive effect on our common stock to the extent that the market price per share of our common stock exceeds the applicable strike price of the warrants on the applicable expiration dates. In addition, the hedge counterparties or their affiliates may enter into various transactions with respect to their hedge positions, which could also affect the market price of our common stock or the convertible senior notes.

If Elon Musk were forced to sell shares of our common stock that he has pledged to secure certain personal loan obligations, such sales could cause our stock price to decline.

Certain banking institutions have made extensions of credit to Elon Musk, our Chief Executive Officer, a portion of which was used to purchase shares of common stock in certain of our public offerings and private placements at the same prices offered to third-party participants in such offerings and placements. We are not a party to these loans, which are partially secured by pledges of a portion of the Tesla common stock currently owned by Mr. Musk. If the price of our common stock were to decline substantially, Mr. Musk may be forced by one or more of the banking institutions to sell shares of Tesla common stock to satisfy his loan obligations if he could not do so through other means. Any such sales could cause the price of our common stock to decline further.

Anti-takeover provisions contained in our governing documents, applicable laws and our convertible senior notes could impair a takeover attempt.

Our certificate of incorporation and bylaws afford certain rights and powers to our board of directors that may facilitate the delay or prevention of an acquisition that it deems undesirable. We are also subject to Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law and other provisions of Delaware law that limit the ability of stockholders in certain situations to effect certain business combinations. In addition, the terms of our convertible senior notes may require us to repurchase such notes in the event of a fundamental change, including a takeover of our company. Any of the foregoing provisions and terms that has the effect of delaying or deterring a change in control could limit the opportunity for our stockholders to receive a premium for their shares of our common stock, and could also affect the price that some investors are willing to pay for our common stock.

 

ITEM 1B.

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

None.

ITEM 2.

PROPERTIES

We are headquartered in Palo Alto, California. Our principal facilities include a large number of properties in North America, Europe and Asia utilized for manufacturing and assembly, warehousing, engineering, retail and service locations, Supercharger sites and administrative and sales offices. Our facilities are used to support both of our reporting segments, and are suitable and adequate for the conduct of our business. We primarily lease such facilities with the exception of some manufacturing facilities. The following table sets forth the location of our primary owned and leased manufacturing facilities.

 

Primary Manufacturing Facilities

 

Location

 

Owned or Leased

Fremont Factory

 

Fremont, California

 

Owned

Gigafactory Nevada

 

Sparks, Nevada

 

Owned

Gigafactory New York

 

Buffalo, New York

 

Leased

Gigafactory Shanghai

 

Shanghai, China

 

*

Gigafactory Berlin

 

Grunheide, Germany

 

Owned

Gigafactory Texas

 

Austin, Texas

 

Owned

 

*

We own the building and the land use rights with an initial term of 50 years. The land use rights are treated as operating lease right-of-use assets.

27


 

ITEM 3.

For a description of our material pending legal proceedings, please see Note 16, Commitments and Contingencies, to the consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

In addition, each of the matters below is being disclosed pursuant to Item 103 of Regulation S-K because it relates to environmental regulations and aggregate civil penalties that could potentially exceed $1 million. We believe that any proceeding that is material to our business or financial condition is likely to have potential penalties far in excess of such amount.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (“BAAQMD”) has issued notices of violation to us relating to air permitting and related compliance for the Fremont Factory, but has not initiated formal proceedings. We have disputed certain of these allegations and have asserted that there has been no related adverse community or environmental impact. While we have not yet resolved this matter, we remain in close communication with BAAQMD with respect to it. We do not currently expect any material adverse impact on our business.

The German Umweltbundesamt has issued our subsidiary in Germany a notice and fine in the amount of 12 million euro alleging its non-compliance under applicable laws relating to market participation notifications and take-back obligations with respect to end-of-life battery products required thereunder. This is primarily relating to administrative requirements, but Tesla has continued to take back battery packs, and although we cannot predict the outcome of this matter, including the final amount of any penalties, we have filed our objection and it is not expected to have a material adverse impact on our business.

We have also received a follow-up information request from the EPA under Section 114(a) of the Clean Air Act of 1963, as amended (the “Clean Air Act”). The EPA is reviewing the compliance of our Fremont Factory operations with applicable requirements under the Clean Air Act, and we are working with the EPA in responding its requests for information. While the outcome of this matter cannot be determined at this time, it is not currently expected to have a material adverse impact on our business.

 

ITEM 4.

MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

Not applicable.

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PART II

ITEM 5.

MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

Market Information

Our common stock has traded on The NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “TSLA” since it began trading on June 29, 2010. Our initial public offering was priced at $3.40 per share on June 28, 2010 as adjusted to give effect to the Stock Split.

Holders

As of February 1, 2021, there were 5,353 holders of record of our common stock. A substantially greater number of holders of our common stock are “street name” or beneficial holders, whose shares are held by banks, brokers and other financial institutions.

Dividend Policy

We have never declared or paid cash dividends on our common stock. We currently do not anticipate paying any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. Any future determination to declare cash dividends will be made at the discretion of our board of directors, subject to applicable laws, and will depend on our financial condition, results of operations, capital requirements, general business conditions and other factors that our board of directors may deem relevant.

Stock Performance Graph

This performance graph shall not be deemed “filed” for purposes of Section 18 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), or incorporated by reference into any filing of Tesla, Inc. under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), or the Exchange Act, except as shall be expressly set forth by specific reference in such filing.

The following graph shows a comparison, from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2020, of the cumulative total return on our common stock, The NASDAQ Composite Index and a group of all public companies sharing the same SIC code as us, which is SIC code 3711, “Motor Vehicles and Passenger Car Bodies” (Motor Vehicles and Passenger Car Bodies Public Company Group). Such returns are based on historical results and are not intended to suggest future performance. Data for The NASDAQ Composite Index and the Motor Vehicles and Passenger Car Bodies Public Company Group assumes an investment of $100 on January 1, 2016 and reinvestment of dividends. We have never declared or paid cash dividends on our common stock nor do we anticipate paying any such cash dividends in the foreseeable future.

 

 

Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities and Use of Proceeds

None.

29


 

Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers

None.

 

ITEM 6.

SELECTED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL DATA

The following selected consolidated financial data should be read in conjunction with “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and the consolidated financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and from the historical consolidated financial statements not included herein to fully understand factors that may affect the comparability of the information presented below (in millions, except per share data).

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2020

 

 

2019 (3)

 

 

2018 (2)

 

 

2017

 

 

2016 (1)

 

Consolidated Statements of Operations Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total revenues

 

$

31,536

 

 

$

24,578

 

 

$

21,461

 

 

$

11,759

 

 

$

7,000

 

Gross profit

 

$

6,630

 

 

$

4,069

 

 

$

4,042

 

 

$

2,223

 

 

$

1,599

 

Income (loss) from operations

 

$

1,994

 

 

$

(69

)

 

$

(388

)

 

$

(1,632

)

 

$

(667

)

Net income (loss) attributable to

   common stockholders

 

$

721

 

 

$

(862

)

 

$

(976

)

 

$

(1,962

)

 

$

(675

)

Net income (loss) per share of

   common stock attributable to

   common stockholders (4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

$

0.74

 

 

$

(0.98

)

 

$

(1.14

)

 

$

(2.37

)

 

$

(0.94

)

Diluted

 

$

0.64

 

 

$

(0.98

)

 

$

(1.14

)

 

$

(2.37

)

 

$

(0.94

)

Weighted average shares used in

   computing net income (loss) per

   share of common stock (4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

 

933

 

 

 

887

 

 

 

853

 

 

 

829

 

 

 

721

 

Diluted

 

 

1,083

 

 

 

887

 

 

 

853

 

 

 

829

 

 

 

721

 

 

 

 

As of December 31,

 

 

 

2020

 

 

2019 (3)

 

 

2018 (2)

 

 

2017

 

 

2016 (1)

 

Consolidated Balance Sheet Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Working capital (deficit)

 

$

12,469

 

 

$

1,436

 

 

$

(1,686

)

 

$

(1,104

)

 

$

433

 

Total assets

 

$

52,148

 

 

$

34,309

 

 

$

29,740

 

 

$

28,655

 

 

$

22,664

 

Total long-term liabilities

 

$

14,170

 

 

$

15,532

 

 

$

13,434

 

 

$

15,348

 

 

$

10,923

 

 

(1)

We acquired SolarCity Corporation (“SolarCity”) on November 21, 2016. SolarCity’s financial results have been included in our financial results from the acquisition date as previously reported in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016.

(2)

We adopted ASC 606 in 2018. Prior periods have not been revised. For further details, refer to Note 2, Summary of Significant Accounting Policies, of the notes to the consolidated financial statements included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018.

(3)

We adopted ASC 842 in 2019. Prior periods have not been revised. For further details, refer to Note 2, Summary of Significant Accounting Policies, of the notes to the consolidated financial statements included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019.

(4)

Prior period results have been adjusted to give effect to the Stock Split. See Note 1, Overview, of the notes to the consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for further details.

 

 

 

30


 

ITEM 7.

MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

The following discussion and analysis should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. For discussion related to changes in financial condition and the results of operations for fiscal year 2018-related items, refer to Part II, Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for fiscal year 2019, which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 13, 2020.

Overview and 2020 Highlights

Our mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. We design, develop, manufacture, lease and sell high-performance fully electric vehicles, solar energy generation systems and energy storage products. We also offer maintenance, installation, operation, financial and other services related to our products.

In 2020, we produced 509,737 vehicles and delivered 499,647 vehicles. We are currently focused on increasing vehicle production and capacity, developing and ramping our battery cell technology, increasing the affordability of our vehicles, expanding our global infrastructure and introducing our next vehicles.

In 2020, we deployed 3.02 GWh of energy storage products and 205 megawatts of solar energy systems. We are currently focused on ramping production of energy storage products, improving our Solar Roof installation capability and efficiency and increasing market share of retrofit solar energy systems.

In 2020, we recognized total revenues of $31.54 billion, representing an increase of $6.96 billion compared to the prior year. We continue to ramp production, build new manufacturing capacity and expand our operations to enable increased deliveries and deployments of our products and further revenue growth.

In 2020, our net income attributable to common stockholders was $721 million, representing a favorable change of $1.58 billion compared to the prior year. In 2020, our operating margin was 6.3%, representing a favorable change of 6.6% compared to the prior year. We continue to focus on operational efficiencies, while we have seen an acceleration of non-cash stock-based compensation expense due to a rapid increase in our market capitalization and updates to our business outlook.

We ended 2020 with $19.38 billion in cash and cash equivalents, representing an increase of $13.12 billion from the end of 2019. Our cash flows from operating activities during 2020 was $5.94 billion, compared to $2.41 billion during 2019, and capital expenditures amounted to $3.16 billion during 2020, compared to $1.33 billion during 2019. Sustained growth has allowed our business to generally fund itself, but we will continue a number of capital-intensive projects in upcoming periods.

Management Opportunities, Challenges and Risks and 2021 Outlook

Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic

 

There continues to be worldwide impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. While we have been relatively successful in navigating such impact to date, we have previously been affected by temporary manufacturing closures, employment and compensation adjustments, and impediments to administrative activities supporting our product deliveries and deployments. There are also ongoing related risks to our business depending on the progression of the pandemic, and recent trends in certain regions have indicated potential returns to limited or closed government functions, business activities and person-to-person interactions. Global trade conditions and consumer trends may further adversely impact us and our industries. For example, pandemic-related issues have exacerbated port congestion and intermittent supplier shutdowns and delays, resulting in additional expenses to expedite delivery of critical parts. Similarly, increased demand for personal electronics has created a shortfall of microchip supply, and it is yet unknown how we may be impacted. Please see the “Results of Operations” section of this Item below and certain risk factors described in Part I, Item 1A, Risk Factors in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, particularly the first risk factor included there, for more detailed descriptions of the impact and risks to our business.

We cannot predict the duration or direction of current global trends from this pandemic, the sustained impact of which is largely unknown, is rapidly evolving and has varied across geographic regions. Ultimately, we continue to monitor macroeconomic conditions to remain flexible and to optimize and evolve our business as appropriate, and we will have to accurately project demand and infrastructure requirements globally and deploy our production, workforce and other resources accordingly.

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Automotive—Production

The following is a summary of the status of production of each of our announced vehicle models in production and under development, as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K:

 

Production Location

 

Vehicle Model(s)

 

Production Status

Fremont Factory

 

Model S and Model X

 

Active

 

 

Model 3 and Model Y

 

Active

Gigafactory Shanghai

 

Model 3 and Model Y

 

Active

Gigafactory Berlin

 

Model Y

 

Constructing manufacturing facilities

Gigafactory Texas

 

Model Y

 

Constructing manufacturing facilities

 

 

Cybertruck

 

In development

TBD

 

Tesla Semi

 

In development

 

 

Tesla Roadster

 

In development

 

We recently announced updated versions of Model S and Model X featuring a redesigned powertrain and other improvements. In 2021, we are focused on ramping these models on new manufacturing equipment, as well as production rates of Model 3 and Model Y, to at least the capacity that we have installed. The next phase of production growth will depend on the construction of Gigafactory Berlin and Gigafactory Texas, each of which is progressing as planned for deliveries beginning in 2021. Our goal is to continuously decrease production costs and increase the affordability of our vehicles. We are continuing to develop and manufacture our own battery cells, with which we are targeting high-volume output, lower capital and production costs and longer range. As cell supply is critical to our business, coupling this strategy with cells from our suppliers will help us stay ahead of any potential constraints.

However, these plans are subject to uncertainties inherent in establishing and ramping manufacturing operations, which may be exacerbated by the number of concurrent international projects and any future impact from events outside of our control such as the COVID-19 pandemic and any industry-wide component constraints. Moreover, we must meet ambitious technological targets with our plans for battery cells as well as for iterative manufacturing and design improvements for our vehicles with each new factory.

Automotive—Demand and Sales

Our cost reduction efforts and additional localized procurement and manufacturing are key to our vehicles’ affordability, and for example have allowed us to competitively price our vehicles in China. In addition to opening new factories in 2021, we will also continue to generate demand and brand awareness by improving our vehicles’ functionality, including Autopilot, FSD and software features, and introducing anticipated future vehicles. Moreover, we expect to benefit from ongoing electrification of the automotive sector and increasing environmental awareness.

However, we operate in a cyclical industry that is sensitive to trade, environmental and political uncertainty, all of which may also be compounded by any future global impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. On the other hand, there have been recent signs of recovery from competitors that experienced downturns in 2020, meaning that we will have to continue to execute well to maintain the momentum that we have gained relative to an ever-growing competitive landscape.

Automotive—Deliveries and Customer Infrastructure

 

As our deliveries increase, we must work constantly to prevent our vehicle delivery capability from becoming a bottleneck on our total deliveries. Situating our factories closer to local markets should mitigate the strain on our deliveries. In any case, as we expand, we will have to continue to increase and staff our delivery, servicing and charging infrastructure, maintain our vehicle reliability and optimize our Supercharger locations to ensure cost-effectiveness and customer satisfaction. In particular, we remain focused on increasing the capability and efficiency of our servicing operations.

Energy Generation and Storage Demand, Production and Deployment

 

The long-term success of this business is dependent upon increasing margins through greater volumes. We continue to increase the production of our energy storage products to meet high levels of demand. For Powerwall, better availability and growing grid stability concerns drive higher interest, and cross-selling with our residential solar energy products will continue to benefit both product lines. We remain committed to increasing our retrofit solar energy business by offering a low-cost and simplified online ordering experience. In addition, we are working to improve our installation capabilities for Solar Roof by on-boarding and training a large number of installers and reducing the installation time dramatically. As these product lines grow, we will have to maintain adequate battery cell supply for our energy storage products and hire additional personnel, particularly skilled electricians to support the ramp of Solar Roof.

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Cash Flow and Capital Expenditure Trends

Our capital expenditures are typically difficult to project beyond the short term given the number and breadth of our core projects at any given time, and uncertainties in future global market conditions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic currently makes projections more challenging. We are simultaneously ramping new products in the new Model S and Model X, Model Y and Solar Roof, constructing or ramping manufacturing facilities on three continents and piloting the development and manufacture of new battery cell technologies, and the pace of our capital spend may vary depending on overall priority among projects, the pace at which we meet milestones, production adjustments to and among our various products, increased capital efficiencies and the addition of new projects. Owing and subject to the foregoing as well as the pipeline of announced projects under development and all other continuing infrastructure growth, we currently expect our capital expenditures to be $4.50 to $6.00 billion in 2021 and each of the next two fiscal years.

Our business has recently been consistently generating cash flow from operations in excess of our level of capital spend, and with better working capital management resulting in shorter days sales outstanding than days payable outstanding, our sales growth is also facilitating positive cash generation. On the other hand, we are likely to see heightened levels of capital expenditures during certain periods depending on the specific pace of our capital-intensive projects. Moreover, as our stock price has significantly increased recently, we have seen higher levels of early conversions of “in-the-money” convertible senior notes, which obligates us to deliver cash and or shares pursuant to the terms of those notes. Overall, we expect our ability to be self-funding to continue as long as macroeconomic factors support current trends in our sales. We also opportunistically strengthened our liquidity further through an at-the-market offering of common stock in December 2020, with net proceeds to us of approximately $4.99 billion.

Operating Expense Trends

As long as we see expanding sales, and excluding the potential impact of non-cash stock compensation expense attributable to the 2018 CEO Performance Award and impairment charges on certain assets as explained below, we generally expect operating expenses relative to revenues to decrease as we additionally increase operational efficiency and process automation.

In March 2018, our stockholders approved a performance-based stock option award to our CEO (the “2018 CEO Performance Award”), consisting of 12 vesting tranches contingent on the achievement of specified market capitalization and operational milestones. We incur non-cash stock-based compensation expense for each tranche only after the related operational milestone initially becomes probable of being met based on a subjective assessment of our future financial performance, and if this happens following the grant date, we record at such time a cumulative catch-up expense that may be significant based on the length of time elapsed from the grant date. Moreover, the remaining expense for that tranche is ratably recorded over the period remaining until the later of (i) the expected achievement of the relevant operational milestone (if it has not yet been achieved) and (ii) the expected achievement of the related market capitalization milestone (if it has not yet been achieved). Upon vesting of a tranche, all remaining associated expense is recognized immediately. Because the expected market capitalization achievements are generally later than the related expected operational milestone achievements, the achievement of the former earlier than expected may increase the magnitude of any catch-up expense and/or accelerate the rate at which the remaining expense is recognized. During 2020, several operational milestones became probable and several tranches vested, including as a result of our market capitalization increasing rapidly, resulting in the recognition or acceleration of related expense earlier than anticipated and within a relatively short period of time. See Note 14, Equity Incentive Plans—2018 CEO Performance Award, to the consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for further details regarding the stock-based compensation relating to the 2018 CEO Performance Award. As our market capitalization is unpredictable and our financial performance improves, it is possible that the earlier-than-planned recognition of such expenses will continue in the near term.

In January 2021, we updated our investment policy to provide us with more flexibility to further diversify and maximize returns on our cash that is not required to maintain adequate operating liquidity. As part of the policy, we may invest a portion of such cash in certain specified alternative reserve assets. Thereafter, we invested an aggregate $1.50 billion in bitcoin under this policy. Moreover, we expect to begin accepting bitcoin as a form of payment for our products in the near future, subject to applicable laws and initially on a limited basis, which we may or may not liquidate upon receipt. Digital assets are considered indefinite-lived intangible assets under applicable accounting rules. Accordingly, any decrease in their fair values below our carrying values for such assets at any time subsequent to their acquisition will require us to recognize impairment charges, whereas we may make no upward revisions for any market price increases until a sale. As we currently intend to hold these assets long-term, these charges may negatively impact our profitability in the periods in which such impairments occur even if the overall market values of these assets increase.

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Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

The consolidated financial statements are prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the U.S. (“GAAP”). The preparation of the consolidated financial statements requires us to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues, costs and expenses and related disclosures. We base our estimates on historical experience, as appropriate, and on various other assumptions that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances. Changes in the accounting estimates are reasonably likely to occur from period to period. Accordingly, actual results could differ significantly from the estimates made by our management. We evaluate our estimates and assumptions on an ongoing basis. To the extent that there are material differences between these estimates and actual results, our future financial statement presentation, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows may be affected.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been uncertainty and disruption in the global economy and financial markets. The estimates used for, but not limited to, determining significant economic incentive for resale value guarantee arrangements, sales return reserves, the collectability of accounts receivable, inventory valuation, fair value of long-lived assets, goodwill, fair value of financial instruments, fair value and residual value of operating lease vehicles and solar energy systems subject to leases could be impacted. We have assessed the impact and are not aware of any specific events or circumstances that required an update to our estimates and assumptions or materially affected the carrying value of our assets or liabilities as of the date of issuance of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. These estimates may change as new events occur and additional information is obtained. Actual results could differ materially from these estimates under different assumptions or conditions.

Revenue Recognition

Automotive Segment

Automotive Sales Revenue

Automotive Sales without Resale Value Guarantee

Automotive sales revenue includes revenues related to deliveries of new vehicles and pay-per-use charges, and specific other features and services that meet the definition of a performance obligation under ASC 606, including access to our Supercharger network, internet connectivity, FSD features and over-the-air software updates. We recognize revenue on automotive sales upon delivery to the customer, which is when the control of a vehicle transfers. Payments are typically received at the point control transfers or in accordance with payment terms customary to the business. Other features and services such as access to our Supercharger network, internet connectivity and over-the-air software updates are provisioned upon control transfer of a vehicle and recognized over time on a straight-line basis as we have a stand-ready obligation to deliver such services to the customer. We recognize revenue related to these other features and services over the performance period, which is generally the expected ownership life of the vehicle or the eight-year life of the vehicle. Revenue related to FSD features is recognized when functionality is delivered to the customer. For our obligations related to automotive sales, we estimate standalone selling price by considering costs used to develop and deliver the service, third-party pricing of similar options and other information that may be available.

At the time of revenue recognition, we reduce the transaction price and record a sales return reserve against revenue for estimated variable consideration related to future product returns based on historical experience. In addition, any fees that are paid or payable by us to a customer’s lender when we arrange the financing are recognized as an offset against automotive sales revenue.

Costs to obtain a contract mainly relate to commissions paid to our sales personnel for the sale of vehicles. Commissions are not paid on other obligations such as access to our Supercharger network, internet connectivity, FSD features and over-the-air software updates. As our contract costs related to automotive sales are typically fulfilled within one year, the costs to obtain a contract are expensed as incurred. Amounts billed to customers related to shipping and handling are classified as automotive sales revenue, and we have elected to recognize the cost for freight and shipping when control over vehicles, parts or accessories have transferred to the customer as an expense in cost of automotive sales revenue. Our policy is to exclude taxes collected from a customer from the transaction price of automotive contracts.

Automotive Sales with Resale Value Guarantee or a Buyback Option

We offer resale value guarantees or similar buy-back terms to certain international customers who purchase vehicles and who finance their vehicles through one of our specified commercial banking partners. We also offer resale value guarantees in connection with automotive sales to certain leasing partners. Under these programs, we receive full payment for the vehicle sales price at the time of delivery and our counterparty has the option of selling their vehicle back to us during the guarantee period, which currently is generally at the end of the term of the applicable loan or financing program, for a pre-determined resale value.

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With the exception of the Vehicle Sales to Leasing Partners with a Resale Value Guarantee and a Buyback Option program discussed within the Automotive Leasing section below, we recognize revenue when control transfers upon delivery to customers in accordance with ASC 606 as a sale with a right of return as we do not believe the customer has a significant economic incentive to exercise the resale value guarantee provided to them at contract inception. The process to determine whether there is a significant economic incentive includes a comparison of a vehicle’s estimated market value at the time the option is exercisable with the guaranteed resale value to determine the customer’s economic incentive to exercise. The performance obligations and the pattern of recognizing automotive sales with resale value guarantees are consistent with automotive sales without resale value guarantees with the exception of our estimate for sales return reserve. Sales return reserves for automotive sales with resale value guarantees are estimated based on historical experience plus consideration for expected future market values. On a quarterly basis, we assess the estimated market values of vehicles under our buyback options program to determine whether there have been changes to the likelihood of future product returns. As we accumulate more data related to the buyback values of our vehicles or as market conditions change, there may be material changes to their estimated values.

Automotive Regulatory Credits

We earn tradable credits in the operation of our automotive business under various regulations related to ZEVs, greenhouse gas, fuel economy and clean fuel. We sell these credits to other regulated entities who can use the credits to comply with emission standards and other regulatory requirements. Payments for automotive regulatory credits are typically received at the point control transfers to the customer, or in accordance with payment terms customary to the business. We recognize revenue on the sale of automotive regulatory credits at the time control of the regulatory credits is transferred to the purchasing party as automotive sales revenue in the consolidated statements of operations.

Automotive Leasing Revenue

Direct Vehicle Operating Leasing Program

We have outstanding leases under our direct vehicle operating leasing programs in the U.S., Canada and in certain countries in Europe. Qualifying customers are permitted to lease a vehicle directly from Tesla for up to 48 months. At the end of the lease term, customers are required to return the vehicles to us or for Model S and Model X leases in certain regions, may opt to purchase the vehicles for a pre-determined residual value. We account for these leasing transactions as operating leases. We record leasing revenues to automotive leasing revenue on a straight-line basis over the contractual term, and we record the depreciation of these vehicles to cost of automotive leasing revenue.

Our policy is to exclude taxes collected from a customer from the transaction price of automotive contracts.

Vehicle Sales to Leasing Partners with a Resale Value Guarantee and a Buyback Option

We offered buyback options in connection with automotive sales with resale value guarantees with certain leasing partner sales in the U.S. and where we expected the customer had a significant economic incentive to exercise the resale value guarantee provided to them at contract inception, we continued to recognize these transactions as operating leases. These transactions entailed a transfer of leases, which we had originated with an end-customer, to our leasing partner. As control of the vehicles had not been transferred in accordance with ASC 606, these transactions were accounted for as interest-bearing collateralized borrowings in accordance with ASC 840, Leases, prior to January 1, 2019. Under this program, cash was received for the full price of the vehicle and the collateralized borrowing value was generally recorded within resale value guarantees and the customer upfront down payment was recorded within deferred revenue. We amortize the deferred revenue amount to automotive leasing revenue on a straight-line basis over the option period and accrue interest expense based on our borrowing rate. We capitalized vehicles under this program to operating lease vehicles, net, on the consolidated balance sheets, and we record depreciation from these vehicles to cost of automotive leasing revenue during the period the vehicle is under a lease arrangement. Cash received for these vehicles, net of revenue recognized during the period, is classified as collateralized lease (repayments) borrowings within cash flows from financing activities in the consolidated statements of cash flows. With the adoption of ASC 842 on January 1, 2019, all new agreements under this program are accounted for as operating leases under ASC 842 and there was no material change in the timing and amount of revenue recognized over the term. Consequently, any cash flows for new agreements are classified as operating cash activities on the consolidated statements of cash flows.

At the end of the lease term, we settle our liability in cash by either purchasing the vehicle from the leasing partner for the buyback option amount or paying a shortfall to the option amount the leasing partner may realize on the sale of the vehicle. Any remaining balances within deferred revenue and resale value guarantee will be settled to automotive leasing revenue. The end customer can extend the lease for a period of up to 6 months. In cases where the leasing partner retains ownership of the vehicle after the end of our option period, we expense the net value of the leased vehicle to cost of automotive leasing revenue.

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Direct Sales-Type Leasing Program

We have outstanding direct leases and vehicles financed by us under loan arrangements accounted for as sales-type leases under ASC 842 in certain countries in Asia and Europe, which we introduced in volume during the third quarter of 2020. Depending on the specific program, customers may or may not have a right to return the vehicle to us during or at the end of the lease term. If the customer does not have a right to return, the customer will take title to the vehicle at the end of the lease term after making all contractual payments. Under the programs for which there is a right to return, the purchase option is reasonably certain to be exercised by the lessee and we therefore expect the customer to take title to the vehicle at the end of the lease term after making all contractual payments. Qualifying customers are permitted to lease a vehicle directly under these programs for up to 48 months. Our loan arrangements under these programs can have terms for up to 72 months. We recognize all revenue and costs associated with the sales-type lease as automotive leasing revenue and automotive leasing cost of revenue, respectively, upon delivery of the vehicle to the customer. Interest income based on the implicit rate in the lease is recorded to automotive leasing revenue over time as customers are invoiced on a monthly basis.

Energy Generation and Storage Segment

Energy Generation and Storage Sales

Energy generation and storage sales revenue consists of the sale of solar energy systems and energy storage systems to residential, small commercial, and large commercial and utility grade customers, including solar subscription-based arrangements. Energy generation and storage sales revenue also includes revenue from agreements for solar energy systems and PPAs that commence after January 1, 2019, which is recognized as earned, based on the amount of capacity provided for solar energy systems or electricity delivered for PPAs at the contractual billing rates, assuming all other revenue recognition criteria have been met. Under the practical expedient available under ASC 606-10-55-18, we recognize revenue based on the value of the service which is consistent with the billing amount. Sales of solar energy systems to residential and small scale commercial customers consist of the engineering, design and installation of the system. Post-installation, residential and small scale commercial customers receive a proprietary monitoring system that captures and displays historical energy generation data. Residential and small scale commercial customers pay the full purchase price of the solar energy system upfront. Revenue for the design and installation obligation is recognized when control transfers, which is when we install a solar energy system and the system passes inspection by the utility or the authority having jurisdiction. Revenue for the monitoring service is recognized ratably as a stand-ready obligation over the warranty period of the solar energy system. Sales of energy storage systems to residential and small scale commercial customers consist of the installation of the energy storage system and revenue is recognized when control transfers, which is when the product has been delivered or, if we are performing installation, when installed and commissioned. Payment for such storage systems is made upon invoice or in accordance with payment terms customary to the business.

For large commercial and utility grade solar energy system and energy storage system sales which consist of the engineering, design and installation of the system, customers make milestone payments that are consistent with contract-specific phases of a project. Revenue from such contracts is recognized over time using the percentage of completion method based on cost incurred as a percentage of total estimated contract costs for energy storage system sales and as a percentage of total estimated labor hours for solar energy system sales. Certain large-scale commercial and utility grade solar energy system and energy storage system sales also include operations and maintenance service which are negotiated with the design and installation contracts and are thus considered to be a combined contract with the design and installation service. For certain large commercial and utility grade solar energy systems and energy storage systems where the percentage of completion method does not apply, revenue is recognized when control transfers, which is when the product has been delivered to the customer and commissioned for energy storage systems and when the project has received permission to operate from the utility for solar energy systems. Operations and maintenance service revenue is recognized ratably over the respective contract term for solar energy system sales and upon delivery of the service for energy storage system sales. Customer payments for such services are usually paid annually or quarterly in advance.

In instances where there are multiple performance obligations in a single contract, we allocate the consideration to the various obligations in the contract based on the relative standalone selling price method. Standalone selling prices are estimated based on estimated costs plus margin or by using market data for comparable products. Costs incurred on the sale of residential installations before the solar energy systems are completed are included as work in process within inventory in the consolidated balance sheets. Any fees that are paid or payable by us to a solar loan lender would be recognized as an offset against revenue. Costs to obtain a contract relate mainly to commissions paid to our sales personnel related to the sale of solar energy systems and energy storage systems. As our contract costs related to solar energy system and energy storage system sales are typically fulfilled within one year, the costs to obtain a contract are expensed as incurred.

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As part of our solar energy system and energy storage system contracts, we may provide the customer with performance guarantees that warrant that the underlying system will meet or exceed the minimum energy generation or energy performance requirements specified in the contract. In certain instances, we may receive a bonus payment if the system performs above a specified level. Conversely, if a solar energy system or energy storage system does not meet the performance guarantee requirements, we may be required to pay liquidated damages. Other forms of variable consideration related to our large commercial and utility grade solar energy system and energy storage system contracts include variable customer payments that will be made based on our energy market participation activities. Such guarantees and variable customer payments represent a form of variable consideration and are estimated at contract inception at their most likely amount and updated at the end of each reporting period as additional performance data becomes available. Such estimates are included in the transaction price only to the extent that it is probable a significant reversal of revenue will not occur.

We record as deferred revenue any non-refundable amounts that are collected from customers related to fees charged for prepayments and remote monitoring service and operations and maintenance service, which is recognized as revenue ratably over the respective customer contract term. 

Energy Generation and Storage Leasing

For revenue arrangements where we are the lessor under operating lease agreements for energy generation and storage products, we record lease revenue from minimum lease payments, including upfront rebates and incentives earned from such systems, on a straight-line basis over the life of the lease term, assuming all other revenue recognition criteria have been met. The difference between the payments received and the revenue recognized is recorded as deferred revenue or deferred asset on the consolidated balance sheet.

For solar energy systems where customers purchase electricity from us under PPAs prior to January 1, 2019, we have determined that these agreements should be accounted for as operating leases pursuant to ASC 840. Revenue is recognized based on the amount of electricity delivered at rates specified under the contracts, assuming all other revenue recognition criteria are met.

We record as deferred revenue any amounts that are collected from customers, including lease prepayments, in excess of revenue recognized and operations and maintenance service fees, which is recognized as revenue ratably over the respective customer contract term. Deferred revenue also includes the portion of rebates and incentives received from utility companies and various local and state government agencies, which is recognized as revenue over the lease term.

We capitalize initial direct costs from the execution of agreements for solar energy systems and PPAs, which include the referral fees and sales commissions, as an element of solar energy systems, net, and subsequently amortize these costs over the term of the related agreements.

Inventory Valuation

Inventories are stated at the lower of cost or net realizable value. Cost is computed using standard cost for vehicles and energy storage products, which approximates actual cost on a first-in, first-out basis. In addition, cost for solar energy systems is recorded using actual cost. We record inventory write-downs for excess or obsolete inventories based upon assumptions about current and future demand forecasts. If our inventory on-hand is in excess of our future demand forecast, the excess amounts are written-off.

We also review our inventory to determine whether its carrying value exceeds the net amount realizable upon the ultimate sale of the inventory. This requires us to determine the estimated selling price of our vehicles less the estimated cost to convert the inventory on-hand into a finished product. Once inventory is written-down, a new, lower cost basis for that inventory is established and subsequent changes in facts and circumstances do not result in the restoration or increase in that newly established cost basis.

Should our estimates of future selling prices or production costs change, additional and potentially material increases to this reserve may be required. A small change in our estimates may result in a material charge to our reported financial results.

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Warranties

We provide a manufacturer’s warranty on all new and used vehicles and a warranty on the installation and components of the energy generation and storage systems we sell for periods typically between 10 to 25 years. We accrue a warranty reserve for the products sold by us, which includes our best estimate of the projected costs to repair or replace items under warranties and recalls when identified. These estimates are based on actual claims incurred to date and an estimate of the nature, frequency and costs of future claims. These estimates are inherently uncertain given our relatively short history of sales, and changes to our historical or projected warranty experience may cause material changes to the warranty reserve in the future. The warranty reserve does not include projected warranty costs associated with our vehicles subject to operating lease accounting and our solar energy systems under lease contracts or PPAs, as the costs to repair these warranty claims are expensed as incurred. The portion of the warranty reserve expected to be incurred within the next 12 months is included within accrued liabilities and other, while the remaining balance is included within other long-term liabilities on the consolidated balance sheets. Warranty expense is recorded as a component of cost of revenues in the consolidated statements of operations.

Stock-Based Compensation

We use the fair value method of accounting for our stock options and restricted stock units (“RSUs”) granted to employees and for our employee stock purchase plan (the “ESPP”) to measure the cost of employee services received in exchange for the stock-based awards. The fair value of stock option awards with only service and/or performance conditions is estimated on the grant or offering date using the Black-Scholes option-pricing model. The Black-Scholes option-pricing model requires inputs such as the risk-free interest rate, expected term and expected volatility. These inputs are subjective and generally require significant judgment. The fair value of RSUs is measured on the grant date based on the closing fair market value of our common stock. The resulting cost is recognized over the period during which an employee is required to provide service in exchange for the awards, usually the vesting period, which is generally four years for stock options and RSUs and six months for the ESPP. Stock-based compensation expense is recognized on a straight-line basis, net of actual forfeitures in the period.

For performance-based awards, stock-based compensation expense is recognized over the expected performance achievement period of individual performance milestones when the achievement of each individual performance milestone becomes probable. For performance-based awards with a vesting schedule based entirely on the attainment of both performance and market conditions, stock-based compensation expense associated with each tranche is recognized over the longer of (i) the expected achievement period for the operational milestone for such tranche and (ii) the expected achievement period for the related market capitalization milestone determined on the grant date, beginning at the point in time when the relevant operational milestone is considered probable of being achieved. If such operational milestone becomes probable any time after the grant date, we will recognize a cumulative catch-up expense from the grant date to that point in time. If the related market capitalization milestone is achieved earlier than its expected achievement period and the achievement of the related operational milestone, then the stock-based compensation expense will be recognized over the expected achievement period for the operational milestone, which may accelerate the rate at which such expense is recognized. If additional operational milestones become probable, stock-based compensation expense will be recorded in the period it becomes probable including cumulative catch-up expense for the service provided since the grant date. The fair value of such awards is estimated on the grant date using Monte Carlo simulations.

As we accumulate additional employee stock-based awards data over time and as we incorporate market data related to our common stock, we may calculate significantly different volatilities and expected lives, which could materially impact the valuation of our stock-based awards and the stock-based compensation expense that we will recognize in future periods. Stock-based compensation expense is recorded in cost of revenues, research and development expense and selling, general and administrative expense in the consolidated statements of operations.

Income Taxes

We are subject to taxes in the U.S. and in many foreign jurisdictions. Significant judgment is required in determining our provision for income taxes, our deferred tax assets and liabilities and any valuation allowance recorded against our net deferred tax assets. We make these estimates and judgments about our future taxable income that are based on assumptions that are consistent with our future plans. Tax laws, regulations and administrative practices may be subject to change due to economic or political conditions including fundamental changes to the tax laws applicable to corporate multinationals. The U.S., many countries in the European Union and a number of other countries are actively considering changes in this regard. As of December 31, 2020, we had recorded a full valuation allowance on our net U.S. deferred tax assets because we expect that it is more likely than not that our U.S. deferred tax assets will not be realized. Should the actual amounts differ from our estimates, the amount of our valuation allowance could be materially impacted.

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Furthermore, significant judgment is required in evaluating our tax positions. In the ordinary course of business, there are many transactions and calculations for which the ultimate tax settlement is uncertain. As a result, we recognize the effect of this uncertainty on our tax attributes or taxes payable based on our estimates of the eventual outcome. These effects are recognized when, despite our belief that our tax return positions are supportable, we believe that it is likely that some of those positions may not be fully sustained upon review by tax authorities. We are required to file income tax returns in the U.S. and various foreign jurisdictions, which requires us to interpret the applicable tax laws and regulations in effect in such jurisdictions. Such returns are subject to audit by the various federal, state and foreign taxing authorities, who may disagree with respect to our tax positions. We believe that our consideration is adequate for all open audit years based on our assessment of many factors, including past experience and interpretations of tax law. We review and update our estimates in light of changing facts and circumstances, such as the closing of a tax audit, the lapse of a statute of limitations or a change in estimate. To the extent that the final tax outcome of these matters differs from our expectations, such differences may impact income tax expense in the period in which such determination is made. The eventual impact on our income tax expense depends in part if we still have a valuation allowance recorded against our deferred tax assets in the period that such determination is made.

Principles of Consolidation

The consolidated financial statements reflect our accounts and operations and those of our subsidiaries in which we have a controlling financial interest. In accordance with the provisions of ASC 810, Consolidation, we consolidate any variable interest entity (“VIE”) of which we are the primary beneficiary. We form VIEs with our financing fund investors in the ordinary course of business in order to facilitate the funding and monetization of certain attributes associated with our solar energy systems and leases under our direct vehicle leasing programs. The typical condition for a controlling financial interest ownership is holding a majority of the voting interests of an entity; however, a controlling financial interest may also exist in entities, such as VIEs, through arrangements that do not involve controlling voting interests. ASC 810 requires a variable interest holder to consolidate a VIE if that party has the power to direct the activities of the VIE that most significantly impact the VIE’s economic performance and the obligation to absorb losses of the VIE that could potentially be significant to the VIE or the right to receive benefits from the VIE that could potentially be significant to the VIE. We do not consolidate a VIE in which we have a majority ownership interest when we are not considered the primary beneficiary. We have determined that we are the primary beneficiary of all the VIEs. We evaluate our relationships with all the VIEs on an ongoing basis to ensure that we continue to be the primary beneficiary. All intercompany transactions and balances have been eliminated upon consolidation.

Noncontrolling Interests and Redeemable Noncontrolling Interests

Noncontrolling interests and redeemable noncontrolling interests represent third-party interests in the net assets under certain funding arrangements, or funds, that we enter into to finance the costs of solar energy systems and vehicles under operating leases. We have determined that the contractual provisions of the funds represent substantive profit sharing arrangements. We have further determined that the methodology for calculating the noncontrolling interest and redeemable noncontrolling interest balances that reflects the substantive profit sharing arrangements is a balance sheet approach using the hypothetical liquidation at book value (“HLBV”) method. We, therefore, determine the amount of the noncontrolling interests and redeemable noncontrolling interests in the net assets of the funds at each balance sheet date using the HLBV method, which is presented on the consolidated balance sheet as noncontrolling interests in subsidiaries and redeemable noncontrolling interests in subsidiaries. Under the HLBV method, the amounts reported as noncontrolling interests and redeemable noncontrolling interests in the consolidated balance sheet represent the amounts the third parties would hypothetically receive at each balance sheet date under the liquidation provisions of the funds, assuming the net assets of the funds were liquidated at their recorded amounts determined in accordance with GAAP and with tax laws effective at the balance sheet date and distributed to the third parties. The third parties’ interests in the results of operations of the funds are determined as the difference in the noncontrolling interest and redeemable noncontrolling interest balances in the consolidated balance sheets between the start and end of each reporting period, after taking into account any capital transactions between the funds and the third parties. However, the redeemable noncontrolling interest balance is at least equal to the redemption amount. The redeemable noncontrolling interest balance is presented as temporary equity in the mezzanine section of the consolidated balance sheet since these third parties have the right to redeem their interests in the funds for cash or other assets. For certain funds, there may be significant fluctuations in net income (loss) attributable to noncontrolling interests and redeemable noncontrolling interests in subsidiaries due to changes in the liquidation provisions as time-based milestones are reached.

 

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Results of Operations

Effects of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted our business and financial results in 2020.

The temporary suspension of production at our factories during the first half of 2020 caused production limitations that, together with reduced or closed government and third party partner operations in the year, negatively impacted our deliveries and deployments in 2020. While we resumed operations at all of our factories worldwide, our temporary suspension at our factories resulted in idle capacity charges as we still incurred fixed costs such as depreciation, certain payroll related expenses and property taxes. As part of our response strategy to the business disruptions and uncertainty around macroeconomic conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we instituted cost reduction initiatives across our business globally to be commensurate to the scope of our operations while they were scaled back in the first half of 2020. This included temporary labor cost reduction measures such as employee furloughs and compensation reductions. Additionally, we suspended non-critical operating spend and opportunistically renegotiated supplier and vendor arrangements. As part of various governmental responses to the pandemic granted to companies globally, we received certain payroll related benefits which helped to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our financial results. Such payroll related benefits related to our direct headcount have been primarily netted against our disclosed idle capacity charges and they marginally reduced our operating expenses. The impact of the idle capacity charges incurred during the first half of 2020 were almost entirely offset by our cost savings initiatives and payroll related benefits.

 

Revenues

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

2020 vs. 2019 Change

 

 

2019 vs. 2018 Change

 

(Dollars in millions)

 

2020

 

 

2019

 

 

2018

 

 

$

 

 

%

 

 

$

 

 

%

 

Automotive sales

 

$

26,184

 

 

$

19,952

 

 

$

17,632