Tesla produced and delivered a record number of cars this quarter

The company now needs to produce 181,000 cars to hit its year end goal.

Xinhua News Agency via Getty Images

Elon Musk had plenty to crow about during Tesla’s Q3 2020 earnings call on Wednesday. “Q3 was our best quarter in history!” Musk exclaimed. The company recently announced that it had produced a record 145,036 vehicles this quarter, delivering 139,300 of them. With more than 319,000 vehicles delivered so far this year, all eyes are on whether the automaker can hit its goal of delivering 500,000 vehicles by year’s end.

500,000 deliveries is “a line in the sand that was a pipe dream six months ago as Tesla (and other auto players) have navigated this COVID backdrop," Wedbush Securities’ Dan Ives told Business Insider.

“While achieving this goal has become more difficult,” the company wrote in its earnings statement, “delivering half a million vehicles in 2020 remains our target. Achieving this target depends primarily on quarter over quarter increases in Model Y and Shanghai production, as well as further improvements in logistics and delivery efficiency at higher volume levels.”

Thanks to its strong sales and record deliveries, Tesla saw its revenue grow 39 percent YoY in Q3 and its operating income rise to a record $809 million en route to its fifth consecutive quarter of profitability. Construction on Tesla’s production plants is continuing on schedule. The Fremont plant’s capacity has been expanded to increase production of Model 3s and Model Ys to 500,000 units a year. Its Shanghai factory report that Model 3 production capacity has been increased to 250,000 vehicles a year and the upcoming Berlin-Brandenburg Gigafactory should be ready to begin production in 2021. The Tesla Semi is also slated for production beginning next year.

Musk also expounded on the company’s limited release of its Full Self Driving beta system earlier this month. “We're starting very slow and proceeding very cautiously because the world is a complex and messy place,” he said. “Of course, as the system collects more data it becomes more robust.”

“It was important to emphasize that this is a generalized neural net based approach,” he continued. “There is no need for high definition maps or a cellphone connection. The system is designed such that, even if you have no connectivity whatsoever and you're at a place that you have never been before — and no Tesla has even been before — the car should still be able to drive just like a person. That is the system that we are developing and aiming to release this year.”