Tesla Takes $331 Million in 5th Consecutive Profitable Quarter

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Tesla continued to prove itself as the electric automaker par excellence by posting its fifth profitable quarter in a row on Wednesday. The California-based (for now) automaker reported a net income of $331 million and a 39 percent improvement in revenue to $8.8 billion.

Of course, a huge amount of that money came via regulatory credits Tesla sold to its rivals. By nature of being an EV manufacturer, the company was able to sell $397 million in environmental absolution while helping its own bottom line. Though third-quarter deliveries were quite strong as automotive revenue jumped 42 percent to $7.6 billion.

Tesla had sold 139,300 units by the start of October, the vast majority being the Model 3 sedan and Model Y crossover. By contrast, only 15,200 of quarterly deliveries went to the larger Model S and X. Assuming the company maintains its present momentum, it should get fairly close to its 2020 goal of delivering 500,000 cars by year’s end. But it noted that it would have to bolster production volumes in Shanghai and make some logistical improvements to its delivery network to actually hit the mark. Meanwhile, long-term concerns were a nonissue while capacity and customers continue to swell.

“We continue to see growing interest in our cars, storage and solar products and remain focused on cost-efficiency while growing capacity as quickly as possible,” Tesla explained to shareholders.

“We are increasingly focused on our next phase of growth,” it continued. “Our most recent capacity expansion investments are now stabilizing with Model 3 in Shanghai achieving its designed production rate and Model Y in Fremont expected to reach capacity-level production soon.”

Looking at the next batch of hurdles, Tesla needs to finish constructing facilities in Germany and Texas  the latter of which will serve as home base for Cybertruck. Elon Musk recently said the electric pickup is supposed to begin deliveries late in 2021.

It’s also working on fine-tuning autonomous-driving capabilities it has been promising for ages and is supposed to be made available via over-the-air updates on all modern vehicles  even vintage examples of the Model S (assuming the owner splurged on the applicable packages). For now, all the company has been willing to promise an Autopilot update on a limited number of test vehicles that will be issued more broadly before the new year.

We’re skeptical of any automaker promising true autonomy, frankly. Tesla has also habitually over-promised in regard to Autopilot, despite having one of the better advanced driving suites on the market. It has also started taking heat from the public and safety regulatory agencies for misrepresenting the very real limitations of Autopilot. But that has not resulted in a net negative for the brand. Most people still view it as the automaker occupying the bleeding edge of the electric revolution and rightly so. For all its foibles, Tesla is the one brand that has made EVs work for both itself and its increasingly loyal customer base.

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