Tesla (TSLA) Shares Gain Amid Production Delays, Higher Supercharger Prices

Shares of Tesla TSLA popped more than 3.5% in early morning trading Monday, despite cautious reports that the electric car manufacturer was forced to pause production of its low-priced Model 3 in February.

Tesla temporarily suspended production of the Model 3 from Feb. 20 to 24 to adjust equipment, improve automation, and increase production rates, according to CNBC . But the company says this activity is normal.

"Our Model 3 production plan includes periods of planned downtime in both Fremont and Gigafactory 1. These periods are used to improve automation and systematically address bottlenecks in order to increase production rates," a Tesla spokesperson told CNBC .

Tesla continues to inch closer towards its goal of reaching weekly Model 3 production rates of 2,500 by the end of Q1 and 5,000 by the end of Q2. In the most recent quarter, Tesla said it delivered 29,967 total vehicles, with 1,542 of those being Model 3s.

The electric car giant has struggled to ramp up Model 3 production, leading to some concern about short-term spending and efficiency. Meanwhile, Tesla appears to looking at new ways to generate revenue in an effort to offset some of these costs.

For example, Tesla just increased the price of its pay-per-use Supercharger model. Tesla used to offer owners access to its growing network of 1,180 stations and 9,000 Superchargers for free, but the company switched to a paid system over a year ago. Now, access to the charging stations will cost drivers more.

"We occasionally adjust rates to reflect current local electricity and usage. The overriding principle is that Supercharging will always remain significantly cheaper than gasoline, as we only aim to recover a portion of our costs while setting up a fair system for everyone. This will never be a profit center for Tesla," a spokesperson told Electrek .

The rate changes occurred throughout the U.S., with price hikes varying by region. Some Tesla owners still have free access to Superchargers if they were referred to the company by an existing buyer.

Tesla's disappointing production numbers have caused its stock to fluctuate over the past six months or so. Shares are up more than 5% year to date, but analysts have been hesitant to take a bullish stance on TSLA lately.

Over the past 60 days, we have witnessed eight negative revisions for Tesla's full-year earnings estimates, outpacing the three positive revisions we have seen in that time. The company is now expected to post an adjusted loss of $7.02 per share in the current fiscal year.

TSLA is currently sporting a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell), as well as an "F" grade for Value in our Style Scores system.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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