Term Sheet

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Tesla Motors needs more money? Add it up

May 25, 2011: 3:27 PM ET

Electric automaker Tesla Motors (TSLA) today filed to raise more than $190 million in new capital, largely to fund development of a crossover vehicle dubbed Model X.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company said today that it plans to offer 5.3 million shares of common stock, which today is up around 6% from its $26.72 per share opening price. Goldman Sachs (GS) is underwriting the offering.

Tesla also said that founder and CEO Elon Musk would purchase an additional 1.5 million shares via a private placement, while existing backer Daimler will buy another 577,000 shares.

If Tesla is successful with its offering, that would mean it has raised more than $745 million in equity since its 2003 founding. This includes:

  • $348 million in venture capital funding
  • $206 million from its IPO (total offering raised more, but some went to selling shareholders)
  • $196 million from the proposed new offering and private placements

Tesla also received $465 million in low-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Energy, which theoretically brings its grand funding total past $1.2 billion.

Yes, I know it sounds ridiculous for an car company that had delivered just 1,650 cars through the end of March. But it actually lines up pretty close to Fisker Automotive, a still-private rival that has raised more than $1.1 billion (including $529 million in DoE loans). Moreover, Fisker hasn't actually delivered a single car yet, although production is underway and the first shipment is expected later this month. Assuming Fisker soon follows Tesla into the public markets, expect it to quickly take the capital-raising lead...

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About This Author
Dan Primack
Dan Primack
Senior Editor, Fortune

Dan Primack joined Fortune.com in September 2010 to cover deals and dealmakers, from Wall Street to Sand Hill Road. Previously, Dan was an editor-at-large with Thomson Reuters, where he launched both peHUB.com and the peHUB Wire email service. In a past journalistic life, Dan ran a community paper in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He currently lives just outside of Boston.

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