Tesla delivered 308,600 vehicles in Q4 2021, beating analysts’ estimates that it would deliver only 266,000 vehicles. This rounded out a year of impressive growth for the company and caused TSLA stock to soar by 10%.
Model 3 and Model Y vehicles continue to be company best-sellers, making up the bulk of the deliveries. Tesla also delivered 11,750 Model S and Model X vehicles. In all of 2021, it delivered 936,172 vehicles, an 87% increase over the 499,550 vehicles that it delivered in 2020.
The growth was not without challenges. Tesla faced aggravating regulatory red tape, environmentalists’ lawsuits, and one suspected case of arson, all of which caused delays in opening Gigafactory Berlin. Like many automakers, it had to recall vehicles to fix various manufacturing defects, all of which could fortunately be handled at its service centers. It also faced lawsuits from unhappy investors and employees who claimed discrimination and harassment.
Elon Musk and his companies also face pushback from politicians who say that he should pay more in taxes, even though he paid billions of dollars in capital gains taxes after selling 10% of his Tesla stock in December 2021. President Biden notably failed to invite representatives from Tesla to a summit on electric vehicles, leading to speculation that Biden meant to shut Tesla out over the lack of a union presence in its factories. Elizabeth Warren even went so far as to spend thousands of dollars on Facebook ads to attack Elon Musk (and beg for campaign donations while doing so).
The challenges have not stopped Tesla’s growth from catapulting Elon Musk into the position of Earth’s wealthiest person. He beat out aerospace rival Jeff Bezos (AKA “Jeff Who?”) for the title. Bezos and Musk have duked it out over the fact that Musk’s SpaceX and Bezos’ Blue Origin are competitors for NASA contracts, both in public and in the courtroom.
Musk also claimed the title of Time’s Person of the Year. This is an award that Time gives to the most influential person of the year. Although the article on Musk in Time’s “Person of the Year” issue did not gloss over his personality flaws or the critics’ complaints about him, it also listed the reasons that Time considers him the most influential person of 2021. The reasons included SpaceX’s lead in reusable spacecraft, including having already made five crewed flights on the Crew Dragon, as well as Tesla’s success in making the electric vehicle a serious, viable alternative to gasoline-powered vehicles.
Tesla’s delivery of only slightly less than 1 million vehicles this year reflects a strong demand for electric vehicles. Although its lead in terms of market share for battery-electric vehicles shrank, it was still on top at 21.6% market share during Q1-Q3 2021.
It has established itself as a solid early mover in this space and even had to develop its own dedicated charging stations, the Supercharger, to enable Tesla vehicle owners to charge their vehicles while on the go. Most recently, it developed a charging adapter to allow owners of other automakers’ electric vehicles to charge their vehicles at a Supercharger.