Californian electric car maker Tesla has done it again, breaking its own delivery records with a stunning 97,000 vehicles delivered in the third quarter of 2019.
The figure surpasses the 95,200 electric vehicles delivered in Q2 and the earlier record of 90,700 in Q4 2018, and has been led by its enormously popular Model 3, and a flurry of deliveries to newly reached right-hand drive markets including Australia and New Zealand.
Of the 97,000 vehicles delivered in the last quarter, 79,600 were of the EV maker’s market-busting Model 3 electric sedan – a record for that model.
Tesla does not break down its numbers by country, but as we reported earlier this week, around 1,500 Model 3s are believed to have been delivered in Australia since late August, and new data suggests more than 360 were delivered in New Zealand.
Those figures are enough to put the Model 3 in the top five models for new passenger car sales in Australia, and the top three in New Zealand.
But while the initial deliveries in Australia and New Zealand were no doubt driven by long standing orders, Tesla notes that the bulk of its global deliveries came from non-reservation holders, confirming the snow-balling impact of the car.
“As was also the case in Q2, nearly all of our Model 3 orders were received from customers who did not previously hold a reservation, solidifying the transition to generating strong organic demand,” Tesla notes.
The next question for market watchers is to see how these deliveries turn into profits, or not. The results are not expected for another few weeks. Some analysts fear the growing number of Model 3s might make a profit in the last quarter more difficult to obtain.
“If you look at the mix of S and X deliveries to Model 3s, profitability is likely to be a challenge,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives, who rates Tesla a hold, told Bloomberg.
Much of the investor reaction focused on the failure to reach CEO and co-founder Elon Musk’s hoped-for target of 100,000 delivers for the quarter. Tesla stock dipped 3.6% dip in the after-market on Wednesday (US time).
Tesla’s guidance for 360,000-400,000 sales by the end of 2019 is now dependent on the car maker delivering 105,000 vehicles in the next three months.
“We are continuing to focus on increasing production to meet that demand,” noted Tesla in its announcement.
Full 2019 sales and Tof the Fourth quarter deliver results may now hang on the opening of the Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai, which is expected to start production this month, according to Reuters.
In readiness for the start of production at the Shanghai facility, Tesla has now registered a construction company in China with registered capital of $1 million, and has started advertising jobs for battery-related production engineers.
“We aim to start some production in October, but the actual production volume depends on many factors including car orders we received, performance of newly hired workers, supply chain and so on,” the Tesla source told Reuters.
“It’s unclear when we can reach the 1,000-2,000 units per week target,” the source said.
It is also understood that there have been “advanced” discussions with batterymaker LG Chem on whether it can modify its battery production processes to make cylinder batteries for the EV maker.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.