As expected, Tesla met its Model 3 delivery goals for the third quarter, obliterating previous production records and setting the stage for a new chapter in the history of the EV.
In Q3, Tesla produced 80,142 vehicles, 50% more than last-quarter’s all-time high, including 53,239 Model 3s and 26,903 units of Model S and X.
“During Q3, we transitioned Model 3 production from entirely rear wheel drive at the beginning of the quarter to almost entirely dual motor during the last few weeks of the quarter,” said Tesla in a press release. “This added significant complexity, but we successfully executed this transition and ultimately produced more dual motor than rear wheel drive cars in Q3.”
“Our Q3 Model 3 deliveries were limited to higher-priced variants, cash/loan transactions, and North American customers only. There remain significant opportunities to grow the addressable market for Model 3 by introducing leasing, standard battery and other lower-priced variants of the car, and by starting international deliveries.”
With the Summer of Needless Drama hopefully behind it, Tesla is poised to reach new heights. In any case, the Q3 delivery numbers represent a major milestone. The health of the company, perhaps even its existence, depends on being able to crank out Model 3 in volume, and the Disruptors of Detroit just proved that they can deliver.
Furthermore, Tesla is the keystone on which the entire passenger EV industry rests, and the Q3 news just substantially shored up the structure. The legacy automakers are building EVs under duress, and Tesla is the template that shows the way to profitability. If Tesla can deliver Model 3 at a profit, government regulators can say, “Stop telling us it can’t be done.” More importantly, the wave of car buyers defecting to Tesla from BMW, Audi, Mercedes et al will gain power.
However, there’s one more puzzle piece that needs to fall into place. Tesla is expected to announce Q3 financial results sometime within the next few weeks. If it can show a slight profit, or even a substantially smaller loss, over last quarter, then the future of the company, and of the e-mobility transition, will be seen to rest on a firm foundation.