Tesla scores electric Mercedes-Benz deal

Model X with falcon wings open

Tesla (s TSLA) reported fourth quarter and full year earnings on Wednesday and in its shareholder’s letter revealed that it has started a development program with Daimler to build a new electric Mercedes-Benz vehicle with a Tesla powertrain. Daimler is already an investor in Tesla and uses Tesla battery packs for its electric Smart cars. Daimler’s electric Mercedes plans have been talked about for years.

Tesla says that the electric Mercedes-Benz program will include use of a full powertrain — including the motor, gearbox, inverter and software — but Tesla didn’t go into details about timing of the launch of the car or volumes of production of the car. Tesla says it’ll recognize revenue from the program beginning in the second quarter.

The Mercedes-Benz deal is Tesla’s latest good news, following the unveiling of its third car the Model X model in Los Angeles last week (check out our photos, our video, and our research note on the Model X). Other good news in Tesla’s earnings are that it remains on track to deliver its first Model S cars to customers starting this Summer, that its DOE loan and relationship are in good standing, and that its anticipating guidance for the year ahead of between $550 million and $600 million. Here’s details of the company’s financials announced today:

  • Revenues for Q4 were $39.38 million, up from $36.29 million from Q4 2010 year prior. For the full year revenues were $204.24 million, up from $116.74 million from the year 2010.
  • Net loss for Q4 was $ 81.49 million, representing a larger loss than the net loss of Q4 2010 of $51.36 million. For the full year 2011, net loss was $254.41 million, which was a larger net loss the $154.33 million for the full year of 2010.
  • Total Roadster deliveries worldwide hit 2,150 and Tesla says it expects to sell its remaining 330 Roadsters in Europe and Asia by the end of 2012.
  • Tesla’s capital expenditures were about $54 million in Q4, used to continue to build out the factory for the Model S. Full year 2011 capex was $198 million.
  • At the end of the year, Tesla had cash and cash equivalents on its balance sheet of $304 million and another $189 million left to draw down from the DOE loan. Tesla says it has about $493 million in available capital. Tesla says it drew down $51 million of the DOE loan in Q4. “Our projects continue to be on track with the DoE per the terms of the loan agreement, and our relationship with the DoE remains strong.”
  • In terms of guidance, Tesla says it expects to deliver 5,000 Model S sedans and is estimating full year revenues in the range of $550-600 million.