Tesla Quarterly Sales Trend & 2021 Forecast

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Following the release of Tesla’s 1st quarter production and delivery numbers, I wanted to take a closer look at Tesla’s long-term delivery trends. To make it a little more fun, though, I’m going out on a thin limb and also creating charts forecasting quarterly Tesla deliveries for the remainder of the year. Have a look and tell me where, why, and how I look like an idiot. (Also, feel free to insert your own figures or charts in the comments below the article!)

I’ll start with the simplest topic — quarterly Tesla deliveries of all models combined. Then I’ll jump to quarterly deliveries of the Tesla Model 3 + Tesla Model Y and Tesla Model S + Tesla Model X, which is what Tesla reports each quarter. Lastly, I venture into the game of “choose your own noose” and split out delivery estimates for each of the 4 models.

Interactive charts are included on the bottom of the article. They are much better for viewing if you are not on a phone.

Clearly, Tesla has had a strong rise in quarterly deliveries from 2013 to 2021. The past two quarters have been tremendous for Tesla, and many thought Tesla could never reach this height. If you double Tesla’s Q4 2020 and Q1 2021 numbers to make a full-year estimate, you get annual sales of 730,740. Many people following Tesla’s story for the past decade (dare I say most?) thought that Tesla could never produce and deliver 500,000 vehicles a year. The past few quarters have been the great vindication those of us who did believe in Elon Musk and Tesla have long been waiting for.

Though, putting those numbers on the same scale as the following chart (as I did), you can tell that there’s also a lot of room for improvement. I expect that we will see enough improvement in the coming few quarters to fill out that space. Here’s my forecast, which I have to say is powered in part by Rodney Hooper telling me in a podcast recording on Friday (which we’ll publish soon) that he sees Tesla reaching 900,000 deliveries in 2021:

Naturally, this is what the experts call a WAG (wild-ass guess), but my forecast for the next few quarters is: 210,000 deliveries in Q2 2021, 240,000 deliveries in Q3 2021, and 275,400 deliveries in Q4 2021.

The chart looks logical and the quarterly numbers rise as Tesla’s production capacity rises. I’m not going into the 1 million vehicle territory that I know some people are expecting. Others, I’m sure, expect no more than 700,000 deliveries. We’ll see.

You can view specific quarterly figures in the interactive charts on the bottom.

Looking at the model split Tesla has published, you may notice a trend.

Yes, the mass-market models are booming. Meanwhile, Model S and X production was at zero in the 1st quarter, leading to lower-than-low deliveries.

I expect a Model S and X rebound, of course, but I don’t expect huge production capacity for these models and basically just forecasted a return to pre-collapse numbers, as production capacity slowly ramps up.

Tesla’s focus will be on increasing production capacity of its physically smaller sales behemoths, especially the Model Y.

The Model Y was the climber of the quarter last quarter — actually, the only model that had its deliveries climb. It’s clearly trying to sprout to the Model 3’s level. And that shouldn’t take too long.

For various reasons, I expect the Model Y to be in greater demand long term than the Model 3 — perhaps significantly greater demand. I also expect it to ramp to the Model 3’s current level faster than it took the Model 3 to ramp there. Approximately 75% of their parts are shared, yet the Model Y offers more space and a higher seating position, which people love. As Model Y production capacity ramps up in China especially, I expect we’ll just see that model climb and climb and climb throughout the year.

After 2021, well, we’ll see. We’ve got Giga Berlin and Giga Texas going online. The Cybertruck should be coming to market. Tesla should be able to toggle between Model 3 and Model Y production more as overall production capacity ramps and it sees where there’s more need.

Here are bar charts showing the same numbers in a different way, but I’m only including the interactive ones (also note that these are not fixed-scale charts, unlike the ones above):

Here’s the remainder of the interactive charts (versions of the static charts shared higher up):

The end.

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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