Many Tesla supporters dismiss the company’s continuing financial losses, claiming that Google could use its vast cash horde to rescue Tesla Motors, if need be.
A biography of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, published earlier this year, claims a deal was struck with Google co-founder Sergey Brin to rescue Tesla at a time when the automaker was struggling to get its Model S electric car into production.
Now, it appears Brin may have become the owner of the fourth Tesla Model X electric crossover, part of the first batch unveiled at Tesla’s factory at the end of September.
The fourth Model X–painted white–was not claimed by Brin at the unveiling event, but Bloombergclaims it belongs to him, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter.
When the crossover was rolled out, a woman stood up to claim it.
“Stand in for Sergey?” was reportedly Musk’s response. Brin was also apparently spotted in the VIP seating area at the launch event at Tesla’s assembly plant in Fremont, California.
Musk reportedly claimed the first Model X for himself, while the second copy went to venture capitalist and Tesla investor Steve Jurvetson.
The vehicles belonging to Musk, Jurvetson, and possibly Brin were part of a group of just six handed over to customers.
These were all reportedly “Founders Series” models reserved for board members and close friends of the company.
Officially, the first Model X examples are all Signature Series models, with 90-kilowatt-hour battery packs and the new Autopilot autonomous system.
These are presumably going to customers who made early reservations, but aren’t part of the innermost circle around Tesla and Musk.
But it remains unclear how long it will take for Model X production to fully ramp up.
In a letter to shareholders on Tuesday that detailed its third-quarter financial results, Tesla said the crossover’s supply chain still needs to be fine-tuned.
To eliminate a perceived supply constraint, the company said it brought construction of “second row monopost seats” in-house.
“In addition we, and some of our Model X suppliers, are still ramping up and fine-tuning production,” the letter said.
The company said this “adds uncertainty” to its production projections for the fourth quarter, but that it feels it is doing what is necessary to emphasize quality.
The company reiterated its projection that it would deliver 50,000 electric cars during 2015; that would require it to sell roughly 16,800 cars in the fourth quarter.
That’s more than the deliveries of 10,000 to 11,600 it managed in each of the three previous quarters.