These 5,750 extra cars demanded us to look at the 2020 numbers. One year ago, Tesla made 509,737 EVs but delivered only 499,550. In other words, there were 10,187 units “in stock,” so to speak. As Tesla claims only to produce cars already ordered thanks to its direct sales model, they were probably in transit, heading to their new owners. However, there are still 4,437 to be delivered from 2020. We’ll have a closer look at the numbers soon.
The relevant conclusion to take from the Q4 results is that Tesla broke a quarter record but that it still needs to do a lot more to reach 1 million cars per year – either delivered or manufactured. Elon Musk once tweeted that he saw Tesla “reaching 20 million vehicles/year probably before 2030,” an absurd prediction for more than a reason.
First of all, because no carmaker has ever reached such a production volume in a single year. The most cars Toyota or Volkswagen ever made in a single year were around 10 million units, and they have multiple models to offer for a wide variety of needs. Tesla has only four, and it presented only three others until now – one of them being a truck. As the second-largest car market globally, the U.S. buys about 15 million cars per year.
Even if Tesla managed to reach 1 million cars in 2021, it would have to double its production every year until 2025 (reaching 16 million EVs by that year) and add 1 million more vehicles per year until 2029 to get to 20 million units before 2030. So far, the company is struggling to put its 4680 cells in production.
Although 1 million cars per year would be just a symbolic landmark when the goal is to reach 20 million before 2030, failing to achieve it shows once again that talk is cheap. The risk is that it gets so cheap nobody gives it even a cent anymore.
That’s total market, not all Tesla. We do see Tesla reaching 20M vehicles/year probably before 2030, but that requires consistently excellent execution.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 28, 2020