Tesla is scheduled to report its first-quarter earnings on Wednesday, and eyes are focused on the future.
The California-based, sustainable energy company delivered a record number of its electric vehicles in the first quarter, and its stock has been hitting all-time highs in the days leading up to the earnings announcement.
But Tesla has some of its biggest plans still ahead of it, and analysts may be focusing less on the past, and more on watching for signs of whether the company can deliver later this year on some of its most ambitious goals.
In particular, Tesla is scheduled to begin production of the highly anticipated Model 3 in July, a $35,000 sedan that Tesla has billed as the vehicle that will mark its transition from a luxury carmaker to a far larger manufacturer serving the average buyer.
"We are looking for information on the production schedule for the Model 3, because that is the linchpin of any thesis about the stock," said CFRA analyst Efraim Levy in an interview with CNBC on Tuesday. "The timing, the success, of that model is critical for them to justify the current stock price, or really, any stock price."
Levy added that he considers Tesla's quarterly results to be "mostly immaterial" to the investment thesis. That said, analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters are expecting Tesla to post a loss of 82 cents a share on revenue of $2.61 billion for the first quarter.
Cash flow is an exception. That is a number investors want to see since it is an indicator of whether Tesla will yet again seek capital from markets.
The company finished the fourth quarter of 2016 with $3.4 billion in cash, but has said it plans to spend between $2 billion and $2.5 billion in the first half of 2017. Much of that will go to the Model 3.
Tesla's ability to ramp up manufacturing has been a long-standing concern among analysts.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has repeatedly said he wants to be able to produce 500,000 cars annually by the end of 2018. Last year the company produced around 84,000.