Wall Street Watch Wednesday: Electric Cars Take Another Blow

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Telsa MotorsLast week it was Smith Electric Vehicles calling off its IPO. On Tuesday it was Tesla Motors (TSLA) lowering its near-term outlook.

Demand for Tesla's breakthrough Model S plug-in sedan remains strong, but the automaker just hasn't been able to make the cars fast enough to keep up. Problems with supplier delays and its own learning curve as it ramps up production have Tesla to forecast only $400 million to $440 million in revenue this year. Its earlier guidance called for between $560 million and $600 million in sales.

Making matters worse, Tesla also announced a secondary stock offering on Tuesday morning.

It's been hard for the first wave of automakers in the plug-in electric car revolution. Nissan Leaf sales are trending well below where they were last year. General Motors (GM) has seen sales of the Chevy Volt pick up, but the automaker giant still had to institute another production hiatus to make sure that dealer showrooms aren't overrun with unsold cars.

The recent spike in gas prices would seem to be the perfect catalyst to get drivers considering going electric -- or in the Volt's case, an electric car with a small gas-sipping engine to take over between charges -- but it's apparently not happening.

Tesla's problems seem to be production-related, but would the long waiting list of drivers with cash deposits on the Model S be long at all if Tesla were cranking out cars at a rate faster than the 77 a week it accomplished last week?

Other things worth watching

• It will be quiet on the earnings front in the morning, but a few companies will be active in after-hours trading by reporting fresh financials after Wednesday's market close. Worthington (WOR), Texas Industries (TXI), Progress Software (PRGS), and Landec (LNDC) will all report their latest quarterly results in the afternoon. Analysts see all but Progress Software posting year-over-year improvement on the bottom line.

• Activision Blizzard (ATVI) introduced Mists of Pandaria -- an expansion pack for its World of Warcraft online gaming franchise -- on Tuesday. The country's largest video game publisher will try to get back on track after seeing online players decline since peaking two years ago. Panda warriors may not be the ideal recipe for a rebound, but keep an eye out for any press releases from the company in the coming days to see how that debut is faring.
Longtime Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Tesla Motors. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Activision Blizzard, General Motors, Landec, and Tesla Motors. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a synthetic long position in Activision Blizzard.

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87 Comments

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Iselin007

Too many poor and unemployed Americans with no asssets to purchase these or many other types of vehicles. Your selling a poke in a barrel or trying to put a square peg into a round whole. Notice it's celebrities or the wealthy that can buy these cars.

The cars are too risky to chance a charge will not run out so an employer can let you go for absence or being late. Too many negatives not enough positives to sway the public into a losing gamble.

September 26 2012 at 10:22 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
kafienkarl

China is going to go big on electric cars. We should build them.

September 26 2012 at 10:14 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
lacabrera

Obama Built That and he is proud of it

September 26 2012 at 9:20 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
lacabrera

Obama Built That and he is proud of it

September 26 2012 at 9:20 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
lacabrera

Obama Built That and he is proud of it

September 26 2012 at 9:19 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
lacabrera

Obama Built That and he is proud of it

September 26 2012 at 9:19 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
schmoyers

Hmmm, funny I just returned from North Central Europe this week. We spent two weeks there, including a few days in little old Belgium. While in Brussels, we saw numerous electric vehicles tied into street plug in devices.They were operated by several private companies., and are available for public use. One company charges by the half hour. . They are operated via credit card deposits or advance pay passes, all done electronically on the street. On a train jaunt from Antwerp to Brugge (Bruges), we saw thousands upon thousands upon thousands of homes of all price ranges powered by solar energy. In many developments and neighborhoods visible form the train, between 30 and 40 percent of all residences had solar roof panels. Most of the itme,however, we drove a rental car on our jaunt. We actually spent less money per mile on gas than we do in the US. At nearly six bucks a gallon,how could that be? Well we rented a diesel engine car, and diesel costs 10 percent less than regular gas.Here it cost 10 perent more. In France and Germany most suburban and semirural traffic lights have been removed and replaced by free flowing traffic circles.They are incredibly efficient., and they are found everywhere roads intersect. Rarely did we sit in traffic wasting gas at traffic lights. Fully urban streets have lights, of course, although we rarely encountered them because we used transit and walked in cities. Finally our car was just plain efficient. We bought a new American made car this year, and have seen a pronounced increase in mileage. However, it did not compare with the rental car we obtained at Schipol Airport.

September 26 2012 at 9:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kafienkarl

Think what you want electric cars/autos are here to stay at least globally. The cost needs to come down. Plenty of oil maybe so but cheap oil not sure that's available anymore.

September 26 2012 at 8:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kafienkarl

Think what you want electric cars/autos are here to stay at least globally. The cost needs to come down. Plenty of oil maybe so but cheap oil not sure that's available anymore.

September 26 2012 at 8:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wallygermany

Yes sir! our tax money just blowin in the wind

September 26 2012 at 8:07 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply