Tesla has transformed itself from obscure startup to a key player in the automotive industry, a new series of stats reveals. The data, shared by CEO Elon Musk on Monday, shows how the electric car maker has surged ahead by a number of measures to cement itself as a new force.
The Bloomberg data shows how the firm’s market cap has hovered around the $55 billion mark, rivaling Daimler for the title of third highest-valued automaker. This is despite only just moving into profitability, with the third quarter of 2018 its most profitable quarter in the company’s history and only its third profitable quarter ever. In the first nine months of 2018, Tesla claimed a staggering 19 percent of global electric vehicle sales, placing it in solid first place and far ahead of second-placed BAIC. The Tesla Model 3, the company’s cheapest-ever electric vehicle that entered production in July 2017, brought in the most revenue for a single vehicle in the United States last year.
Tesla’s rise has proven meteoric, but 2018 was perhaps the most astonishing in its history. The firm started the year by reporting that it made an average of 202 Model 3s per week in the preceding quarter, far below the 5,000 per week it was expecting to reach in December 2017. By April, Goldman Sachs was predicting that Tesla may need to raise capital, and that it would likely only produce 1,400 cars per week in that quarter. Tesla ultimately reached a rate of 5,000 cars per week by the end of June.
Tesla now plans to expand this Model 3 production further. The company recently produced the first major batch of Model 3s for the European market, with deliveries expected to reach consumers around February and March. This week, Musk attended a groundbreaking ceremony for a new Gigafactory in Shanghai, aimed at producing entry-level versions of the Model 3 for the Chinese market. With this expansion outside of North American, Musk has predicted that annual demand could reach between 500,000 to one million per year, a big jump from the fewer than 500,000 pre-orders the company had when production started in July 2017.
Tesla has a big year ahead. It’s expected to launch the Model Y entry-level sports utility vehicle in March, unveil the Pickup Truck at an undetermined date, send the Semi truck into production, and gear up for the release of the second-generation Roadster in 2020.