Tesla built, sold and shipped more vehicles in this last quarter than ever before

Andrew Tarantola
·Senior Editor
·3-min read

Elon Musk took a break from his SNL prep on Monday to host Tesla's Q1 2021 investor earnings call and let the journalists who had tuned in know all about the company's stellar start to the start of the new year. 

Following its solid year of EV sales throughout 2020 — and in spite of the year's COVID-19 quarantines — Tesla posted yet another quarter of record vehicle sales to start out 2021. "We achieved our highest ever vehicle production and deliveries, the company announced during its quarterly investor call. Interestingly Tesla managed to accomplish that without making any more Model S or X over that time (though deliveries to existing order-holders continued). 

"Over the past couple of quarters we delivered roughly a quarter million Model 3s," Musk stated during the call. "That translates into annualized rates of half a million per year. We think model Y will be the best-selling car, or vehicle, in the world — probably next year."

Tesla also claims that, compared to public sales numbers of the BMW 3-Series and the Mercedes E-Class, the Model 3 was the best-selling premium sedan in the world, in Q1 2021. "This demonstrates that an electric vehicle can be a category leader and outsell its gas-powered counterparts," the company noted.  

What's more, Tesla managed to reduce the price of the vehicles it sold during Q1 by a significant margin compared to even a few years ago. "In 2017, as we began production of Model 3, our average cost per vehicle across the fleet was ~$84,000," Tesla revealed in its investor relations packet. "Due to the launch of new products and new factories and the reduced mix of Model S and Model X, our average cost declined to sub-$38,000 per vehicle in Q1."

Musk also had some choice words regarding the recent deadly autopilot crash in Houston, Texas that killed a pair of motorists. "It was really just extremely deceptive media practices, where it was claimed to be autopilot, completely false. Those journalists should be ashamed of themselves," he asserted without evidence. Two people lost their lives in that wreck, which is still being investigated by federal transportation authorities.

Tesla is also continuing its push into the domestic energy supply market with is solar panel/home battery systems. The company did announce earlier this week that prospective customers would need to opt for a PowerWall battery system should they wish to acquire the company's solar panels. "I think long term," Musk said. "People will think of Tesla as much as an AI, robotics company, as we are a car company or an energy company."

However, the company has run into some issues with its solar roofs, specifically at the point of installation. "If a roof has protuberances, or if the core structure of the roof is rotted out or otherwise not strong eMusk explained. "So in those cases, what we have to do is to refund customers their deposit. And what we cannot do is, is go in and just lose a massive amount of money. We just got to provide a refund of the deposit."