Visitors watching a Chinese-made Tesla Model Y electric vehicle at the Auto Shanghai 2021 trade show in Shanghai, China, April 27, 2021.
Qilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty pictures
Tesla said Sunday that it delivered more than 308,000 electric vehicles in the fourth quarter of 2021[ads1], breaking the previous record in one quarter. The car manufacturer produced over 305,000 all-electric vehicles in total in the same period.
For the full year, Tesla delivered 936,172 cars, up from 2020 when it reported its first annual profit on deliveries of 499,647.
In the third quarter of 2021, vehicle deliveries reached 241,300, Tesla’s previous best quarter.
Deliveries are the closest approach to sales reported by CEO Elon Musk’s electric car company.
Tesla combines delivery figures for its more expensive Model S and X vehicles, and cheaper Model 3 and Y vehicles. The company does not distribute sales or production figures by region.
According to the average of estimates compiled by FactSet, Wall Street analysts had expected Tesla deliveries of 267,000 in the fourth quarter. (Estimates ranged from 245,000 to 292,000.)
Shrugging for lack
At Tesla’s annual shareholders’ meeting in 2021, Musk lamented a year marked by supply chain problems that made it difficult to obtain enough microchips and other unspecified parts.
During the second year of a global coronavirus pandemic, Tesla was able to increase vehicle deliveries by increasing production at its first foreign plant in Shanghai, and by making technical changes to the cars they produce in Fremont, California, so that it could stop. no parts at all.
In particular, Tesla announced in May that it had removed radar sensors from Model 3 and Model Y vehicles built for customers in North America. These cars now rely on a camera-based system to activate Tesla’s driver assistance functions such as traffic-adjusted cruise control or automatic lane.
Musk has announced that he wants to increase Tesla’s car sales volume to 20 million annually over the next nine years. In pursuit of this growth, Tesla is ready to begin production of the Model Y crossover at its new plant in Austin, Texas, this year. It aims to open another factory in Brandenburg, Germany, after that.
The company recently relocated to Texas. The CEO announced the plan in October, and Tesla made it official in early December.
Last month, Musk wrote on Twitter, where he has around 68.4 million followers, “Giga Texas is a $ 10 billion investment over time, generating at least 20,000 direct and 100,000 indirect jobs.” According to public records, Tesla plans to spend $ 1.6 billion at the Austin, Texas plant in its first phase, which is now underway.
Despite progress and ambitions in Texas, Tesla has postponed plans to start high-volume production of its Cybertrucken, a distinctly angled pickup, until 2023. The company’s semi- and renewed Roadster is still in operation as well.
The company now dominates sales of electric batteries in the United States and large parts of the world. But it is expected to lose total market share as competitors come up with their own all-electric models.
Toyota, for example, has told investors that it will invest $ 35 billion to get 30 battery-powered vehicles out by 2030. Rivian recently began delivering its battery-powered pick-up and SUV. And Ford stopped taking reservations for its F-150 Lightning electric pickup after receiving 200,000 orders.
Tesla’s sales are expected to continue to increase with the total demand for electric vehicles, which is partly driven by climate regulation.
Hoping to reduce air pollution from transportation, states including California and New York are following in the footsteps of several European countries and cities, setting a date for when they will ban the sale of most gas-powered vehicles.
By 2030, about 24% of new vehicles sold worldwide are likely to be fully electric, according to forecasts from Alix Partners.
–CNBC’s Jessica Bursztynsky and Jordan Novet contributed reporting.