And, in 2020, Tesla could be making a million EVs a year.
Tesla's latest shareholder letter once again walks a fine line between positive messages about the future while taking stock of the past. Looking forward, Tesla says it will deliver between 80,000 and 90,000 vehicles this year and that strong demand for the Model 3 means that the company's plan to build 500,000 vehicles a year - originally planned for 2020 - will be pushed up to 2018. By 2020, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in a conference call with shareholders today, Tesla could be building a million cars a year.
As we've heard, Tesla got over 325,000 reservations for the Model 3 in the first week the EV was announced, and we've heard that the total has climbed to 400,000 since then. These are big numbers compared to where Tesla is at today. The company is touting that is built a grand total of 2,659 Model X EVs in the first quarter of 2016, after making just 507 in the fourth quarter of 2015.
Speaking of vehicles currently in production, Tesla says that orders for the Model S were up 45 percent compared to the first quarter of last year, "and are accelerating globally." Don't expect this number to be a one-time blip, either. In the letter, Musk and chief financial officer Jason Wheeler write, "this demand level was reached ahead of the Model S refresh, before Model X could be seen in stores, and prior to the unveiling of Model 3, which we believe is stimulating demand for all of our vehicles." Musk said that he expects Tesla to build between 100,000 and 200,000 Model 3s in the second half of 2017.
On the topic of Model X quality, on a conference call with shareholders today, Musk said that he's moved his desk to the end of the production line and also has a sleeping bag there, which he uses "frequently." Musk said that he often moves his desk to wherever it's most needed in the company and that by the end of this quarter, he expects that most of his time will not be needed on the factory floor. He Tweeted something similar the other day, but without the personal rest location anecdote.
The end result of this increased focus on building – and building quality – is that, "Tesla is hell bent on being the world's best manufacturer," Musk said. It's getting a lot of practice in that, and Musk said he feels confident that Tesla will be making 2,000 vehicles a week by the end of the quarter, with 40 percent of them being the X even though there is, "no question that it's the most difficult car to manufacture," he said.
TSLA stock has been climbing in aftermarket trading, after falling 4.2 percent today. You can read the latest shareholder letter below.
This post has been updated.