A Tesla may well be on its way toward the asteroid belt, but the company is struggling to deliver more in-demand electric vehicles here on terra firma. While its higher end cars were produced in record numbers during the fourth quarter of 2017, the company has announced its biggest quarterly loss with production of the mass market Model 3 lagging well behind.

Tesla posted a loss of US$675.4 million in Q4 of 2017, a huge jump from the US$121.4 million it lost in the same quarter of 2016. To be fair, it has been a big year for the company, finally lifting the veil on the Tesla Semi along with the next-generation Roadster, and installing the world's largest battery while it was at it.

It is also reporting record deliveries of the Model S and Model X, with 28,425 vehicles shipped in Q4, a 28 percent increase on the same period in 2016. Overall in Q4, vehicle deliveries grew 35 percent over the fourth quarter of 2016, which Tesla says is the main reason for a 36 percent increase in automotive revenue over the same period.

But the eyes of most will remain on the Model 3, Tesla's debut sedan for the mass market. Hundreds of thousands of customers have pre-ordered the electric vehicle, and the company had planned to be pumping out 20,000 a month by December. In Q4 it shipped 1,542.

But the company believes it is well placed to ramp up production from here, noting that recent acquisitions of advanced automation companies will help its cause. It has targeted weekly productions rates of 2,500 by the end of Q1 2018, and then 5,000 by the end of Q2.

"If we can send a Roadster to the asteroid belt, we can probably solve Model 3 production," said CEO Elon Musk during an investors earnings call today.

Source: Tesla

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