Tesla has beat analysts’ expectations with the delivery of 241,300 vehicles in Q3 2021. This is 102,000 more vehicles than Tesla delivered in the same quarter of 2020 and a strong showing for the company amid an overall drop in the sales reports of the entire automotive industry.
By way of comparison, longstanding vehicle maker General Motors reports that it sold 446,997 vehicles in Q3 2021, 33 percent less than it did during the same quarter in 2020.
The weak sales can be explained by issues with the supply chain of big automakers, especially the shortage of semiconductor chips needed for the electronic components of modern vehicles. Tesla has made do with using different semiconductors and rewriting software to make it work. It has also considered taking extra steps to secure a supply of semiconductor chips, including floating the possibility of acquiring a semiconductor chip manufacturer or paying in advance for chips.
Tesla is especially continuing to spin up its manufacturing capability, including recently breaking ground on a battery manufacturing facility in California. It is continuing to make progress on a manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas, that will product the Cybertruck and Tesla Semi. Despite frustrations with Germany’s regulatory approval process and environmentalists who have filed legal challenges in German courts, Tesla expects to open its Gigafactory Berlin as early as this month so that it can start moving away from exporting vehicles from China for the European market.
Investors have been a mixed bag when it comes to Tesla’s stock lately despite a strong 2020 for the stock and a string of record-setting quarters for deliveries. Ark Invest recently sold $605 million in shares and some investors have made note of increasing competition in the electric vehicle niche from companies like Lucid Motors.
However, other investors are not ignoring the increase in the company’s increasing manufacturing capacity or regulatory requirements set by some countries like the UK and U.S. states like California to phase out the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles by 2030. Tesla is still regarded as an early mover and the only company that is actively and exclusively manufacturing electric vehicles.
Tesla was among the first to manufacture charging stations for electric vehicles and recently announced plans to open its Superchargers up to vehicles manufactured by other automakers with the use of an adapter. It is also working on a global series of solar powered charging stations as part of its push to support the movement to move away from fossil fuels and toward green energy sources.
Can Tesla continue its upward streak? It has gotten some bad PR in the form of investigations into safety complaints by regulators like the NHTSA. The reliability of its Full Self-Driving and Autopilot driver assist software has especially been called into question after a handful of accidents that involved emergency vehicles over the course of a few years despite repeated disclaimers that drivers shouldn’t get complacent while using Tesla’s driver assist software. However, it still has the advantage of being an early mover in the electric vehicle niche and being a widely recognized EV manufacturer.