Tesla Sets IPO Terms, Now Expects to Raise $185M

Electric vehicle startup Tesla Motors has set the terms of its long-awaited IPO and is looking to raise substantially more than it previously estimated. Tesla is looking to sell 11.1 million common shares at between $14 and $16 each, and estimates it will raise as much as $185 million, up from the roughly $100 million it said it hoped to raise back in January.

Tesla will also sell $50 million worth of shares to Toyota in a private placement (that deal was announced back in May). The offering will give Tesla a market cap of $1.46 billion. The comapny will hit the public markets under the symbol TSLA in what could be the biggest and possibly the first public offering for a U.S. car company since Ford Motor’s IPO more than 50 years ago.

Boosting its expectations for the offering is an aggressive move in this climate, given other companies eying the public markets in recent months have more often downsized their offerings. Likely Tesla’s Toyota deal — despite the fact that the ties between the two companies are actually very limited at this point — will give investors a lot more confidence in the IPO. Tesla has also managed to win approval for a $465 million in low-interest direct loans (announced a year ago) from the Department of Energy under the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program.

However, Tesla has never generated a profit and doesn’t expect to do so until “significant deliveries” of the Model S (its next-generation sedan) begin in 2012, at the earliest. Since its founding through March 31, 2010, Tesla generated $147.6 million in revenue with an accumulated deficit of $290.2 million. Tesla has raised over $200 million from investors including Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Daimler and Vantage Point Venture Partners.

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