Tesla delivers 500k EVs, trending higher
Makes history just shy of target even amidst COVID pandemic Metal Tech News – January 6, 2021
Last updated 1/5/2021 at 5:17pm
Even during a year as wildly uncertain as 2020, Tesla Inc. managed to deliver just shy of its half-a-million-vehicle target. All things considered, it is a remarkable achievement and a leap over the roughly 367,500 electric vehicles delivered during 2019.
Delivering 180,570 of its Model S/X and Model 3/Y sedans over the three months ending in December, a 61.2% increase from the same period last year, brought the electric car company to 499,550 vehicles delivered for 2020, just a hair away from founder and CEO Elon Musk's 500,000 target.
All signs point to further strong increases in Tesla deliveries during 2021, with market analysts following closely to predict the outcome following Tesla closing at $705.67 per share on Thursday Dec. 31, an all-time high that lifted the carmaker's annual gain to a staggering 743.4%.
"With TSLA exiting the year at a 180,000 (quarterly) run-rate, with output from the Shanghai factory scaling and the Berlin factory coming online, we are a little surprised that the consensus delivery outlook for 2021 is only 784,000 units," said Joseph Osha, an analyst at JMP Securities. "Our own estimate stands at 841,000, and based on the 4Q 2020 outcome, we would expect to see consensus 2021 delivery forecasts go up."
Now that Tesla's market capitalization has surged to nearly US$700 billion, the once wobbly startup has become worth more than the nine top-selling global car companies – combined.
This ascent coming from the same year that activist hedge funds and other investors ratcheted up pressure on corporations to fight climate change as growing evidence has investors concluding that the century-long dominance of the internal combustion engine is headed toward a close within the decade.
Producing and selling more than 500,000 vehicles a year seemed unreachable for Tesla just a handful of years ago. But Musk had taken a bullish view of the company, noting in 2015 that he remained confident that Tesla would be producing half a million cars in 2020.
"That's five years from now," Musk said at the time. "If you go five years in the past for Tesla, we were producing 600 cars per year - now we can produce 600 cars in three days. So, I think going from here to 500,000 cars a year is a much smaller leap."
Musk has reiterated that target periodically, including in January of last year when he noted that deliveries should comfortably exceed 500,000 units. Tesla did not adjust that forecast even as the COVID-19 pandemic upended the economy and forced the company, along with every other automaker, to temporarily pause production for several weeks last spring.
More details to be announced when Tesla releases its full year financial results which should include more data on the company's 2021 outlook.