Billionaire Elon Musk conceded Wednesday that the first versions of the Tesla Model X tried to pack in too many fancy features, responding to concerns about delays in delivery and how hard it is to manufacture the cutting-edge SUV.
"In retrospect, it would've been a better decision to do fewer things with the first version of Model X and roll out" new features more slowly over time, Musk told investors on a conference call. "I think there was some hubris there with the X."
Despite all that, Musk quickly added that all the Model X's features add up to "the best car ever" — an extremely ambitious vehicle that no other automaker would dare attempt.
"I'm not sure Tesla would make a car like this again," he joked.
The Model X has received glowing reviews for some of its most innovative designs, such as a combination windshield-and-roof that's made of out a single pane of curved glass. It also has gull-wing doors that open upward and a "bioweapon defense mode" that filters out contaminants in the air in the event of a biological attack.
But analysts have downgraded Tesla's stock in recent months amid a "cautious start" for the Model X and worries about production rates. In the fourth quarter of 2015, Tesla said it delivered roughly 200 luxury SUVs and produced a little over 500. Tesla officials said Wednesday they expect production of the Model X — which is priced between $80,000 and $150,000 — to pick up momentum this year.
Musk also told investors that the electric car maker would finally make a profit this year, forecasting a 60 to 80 percent increase in vehicles sales. His remarks sent the company's shares soaring by 10 percent in after-hours trading, even though Tesla reported a wider than expected loss for the fourth-quarter. Revenue rose 59 percent from the same quarter in 2014, but the loss grew to 13 cents a share.
Investors are also eagerly awaiting next month's announcement of Tesla's Model 3, which will be marketed as a low-cost electric vehicle for mainstream consumers. The Model 3 is 20 percent lighter and "quite a bit less complex" to produce than even Tesla's Model S sedan, according to Musk.
The Model 3 will go for $35,000 but Musk clarified to Bloomberg News that this price does not include government tax incentives for electric vehicles -- which could drop the ultimate cost to $25,000. Some of the tax credits could phase out over time.
Meanwhile, other automakers are ramping up their own efforts at producing a mass-market electric car. At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Chevrolet unveiled the Chevy Bolt, which has an estimated range of 200 miles on a single charge.