Tesla kept its record 2021 profits rolling right through Q4
The company delivered nearly a million cars last year despite global supply chain problems.
Following a profitable — and, ahem, notable — 2021, Tesla remains at the forefront of EV production in America as we enter the new year. With deliveries up nearly 90 percent over 2020’s figures, Tesla achieved “the highest quarterly operating margin among all volume OEMs,” during that time frame, according to the company’s Q4 figures released Wednesday The company not only hit $5.5 billion in net income despite a $6.5 billion outlay for new production facilities in Berlin and Austin, Texas, it also exceeded its own revenue goals by a cool billion dollars.
In 2021, Tesla produced 930,000 electric vehicles (99 percent of which were Model 3s and Ys) and delivered 936,000 of them to customers around the world. At the same time, the company expanded its proprietary Supercharger network by a third, now totalling 3,476 stations. The company also announced that it will likely be looking at new production facility locations throughout 2022 but is not yet ready to share its list of candidate sites just yet.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk doubled down on his bullish outlook for the company's Full Self-Driving feature on Wednesday's call. "Over time, we think Full Self-Driving will become the most important source of profitability for Tesla," he said during the call, noting that Tesla expanded its FSD beta program from a few thousand vehicles in Q3 up to nearly 60,000 vehicles in Q4.
However, he also confirmed that the company will not be releasing new vehicle models in 2022, including the Roadster, Cybertruck, or the rumored "$25,000 car" the company has been reportedly developing. "If we were to introduce new vehicles, our total vehicle output would decrease," due to ongoing processor chip supply chain woes, Musk explained.
Despite those same issues impacting the rest automotive industry as well, Tesla maintained its production capabilities better than virtually any other automaker. The Fremont factory churned out around 600,000 vehicles last year with plans to increase that figure even after the Austin and Berlin plants come online later this year. Production in the Shanghai plant continues to ramp up as well. According to Tesla, it has managed to lower the per unit cost of producing its vehicles to around $36,000 (and did so in both Q3 and Q4, 2021).
Update 1/27/22 0:55AM ET: The 2021 production and delivery figures in this article have been corrected.