Tesla’s delivery numbers fell just 450 units shy of its expected 500,000 electric vehicle sales for 2020 but it remains its biggest year to date – continuing its trend of record sales every year since it introduced the Model S in 2012.
Tesla is clearly a company hell-bent on maintaining that growth curve, and on Tuesday (Australia time), CEO and co-founder Elon Musk in a tweet revealed in five simple words that he thinks is the secret to Tesla’s continuing record deliveries.
In one fell swoop, Musk took the credit away from the company’s range of electric vehicles.
“The factory is the product,” said Musk in response to a tweet by investment firm Ark Invest’s Sam Korus who had posted a graph highlighting the EV maker’s sales increases over the last three years.
The factory is the product
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 11, 2021
With four production vehicles (Model S, Model X, Model 3 and Model Y) currently on the market, one more officially expected later in 2021 (Cybertruck) and a sixth (dubbed Model 2 by media) hinted at for China with recent job postings as reported by Tesmanian, one could be forgiven for thinking electric cars is Tesla’s core product.
But it is Tesla’s plans for expansion that will cement continued sales of its electric vehicles, as well as its energy products including storage and solar.
Its Berlin and Texas gigafactories are both expected to go online in 2021, and reports put current expected capacity at 1.64 million cars a year (and that’s excluding Texas, capacity for which is something of a mystery but with half the staff of Berlin’s 10,000 could perhaps be put at 200,000 to start with).
While the Cybertruck and the company’s upcoming 4680 batteries will be made at Tesla’s upcoming Texas gigafactory, it is Tesla’s Berlin factory that could have the biggest impact for Tesla’s near-term plans.
It is here that Tesla will make a “radically redesigned” Model Y, built using giant casting machines that will form the beating heart of its European operations.
These will be used to make one-piece castings for the entire rear substrate of the Model Y. Tesla has plans to also make a front casting, and according to comments made by Musk at Tesla’s Battery Day last September, the two will be joined together using a structural battery pack.
With the continent’s love of SUVs and European tightening legislation aimed at forcing carmaker’s to push electric vehicles, it should prove Tesla’s most popular product there.
Musk said in November he also thinks Tesla’s Berlin site will eventually become the “biggest battery cell plant in the world”.
Musk also said in August that a third US-based Tesla electric vehicle factory is also likely once Texas and Berlin are up and running, according to Business Insider.
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.