The Valley's hottest electric-car maker is running on fumes. Tesla Motors, the brightest hope of Silicon Valley's nascent clean-automotive industry, has only $9 million in the bank, a longtime employee tells us. The company, which recently laid off dozens of employees and announced the closing of its Detroit office, called an all-hands meeting yesterday evening to inform employees of its financial state. What makes the company's low cash balance especially scary, our tipster says, is that the company has taken "multiple tens of millions" of dollars in deposits from customers — anywhere from $5,000 to $60,000 per vehicle — and has only delivered 50 of them. The obvious conclusion: Having already spent its customers' deposits, it may run out of money before it delivers the cars they have paid for. Here's the Tesla insider's report:

As a longtime employee of Tesla Motors, yesterday was the worst day since i joined Tesla Motors four years ago. A company all-hands meeting was called yesterday evening and a simple six-page company financial model was communicated. I was shocked to learn that we only had ~$9 million in the bank. The first few hundred cars have been paid full in cash when they booked their vehicles. The reservations following that required from $4,000 to $60,000 of deposit. We have over 1,200 reservations, which manes we've taken multiples of tens of millions of cash from our customers and have spent them all. Meanwhile, we only delivered less than 50 cars. I actually talked a close friend of mine into putting down $60,000 for a Tesla Roadster. I cannot conscientiously be a bystander anymore and allow my company to deceive the public and defraud our dear customers. Our customers and the general public are the reason Tesla is so loved. The fact that they are being lied to is just wrong.

Update: Tesla's Musk has confirmed his employee's report that the company only has $9 million in the bank. (Photo by danegolden)