Palo Alto-based Tesla Motors (TSLA) announced first-quarter revenue of $30.2 million Wednesday, down from $49 million a year ago. And the company posted a wider loss of $89.9 million, or 86 cents a share, compared with a loss of $48.9 million in the same period a year ago.
But Wall Street largely focused on the news that Tesla plans to deliver its all-electric Model S sedan in June instead of July, slightly ahead of schedule. Over 10,000 people have placed reservations for the Model S without test-driving the car.
Tesla's stock rose 5.7 percent in after-hours trading, after closing at $30.06.
"No one in Detroit thought that Tesla could pull this off," said Theo O'Neil, an analyst with Wunderlich Securities. "Now they are saying it's going to be ahead of schedule."
The Model S is being manufactured at Tesla's factory in Fremont. Tesla plans to slowly ramp up volume over time and plans to deliver 5,000 Model S cars by the end of 2012.
Tesla also expects to achieve top safety ratings in independent crash tests from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
"Our aspiration is to deliver cars that have zero defects," CEO Elon Musk said during a conference call with analysts.
Tesla revised its financial guidance upward slightly and now expects 2012 revenue of $560 million to $600 million. Tesla's 2011 revenue was $204 million.
In addition, Tesla announced that it has signed an agreement with shareholder Daimler "to create an entire electric powertrain for a new Mercedes-Benz EV," but didn't reveal any financial details in a letter to shareholders. "This program is expected to exceed in value the sum of all powertrain agreements signed in Tesla history."
Musk was asked by one analyst how he divides his time between Tesla and SpaceX, the space launch vehicle company where he is also the CEO. Musk is also the chairman of SolarCity, one of the nation's leading installers of rooftop solar panels, which is preparing for an IPO later this year.
"I'm not getting a lot of sleep," Musk said. "My time is split 50-50 between Tesla and SpaceX; SolarCity is less than a day a month."
Contact Dana Hull at 408-920-2706.