2021 was a bumper year for Tesla. As confirmed by CEO Elon Musk in the company’s Q4 earnings call, the company generated a record $5.5 billion profit. Over the course of the year, it delivered 936,172 vehicles, 308,600 of which were in the final quarter. Sales in China were the biggest growth driver.
Despite admitting Tesla would be “chip-limited” due to the global semi-conductor shortage, Musk expects “significant growth in 2022 over 2021” of 50 per cent or more. What won’t be happening this year, however, is a production start for either the Roadster, Cybertruck or Semi truck.
There will be no new Tesla models in 2022, as introducing any would hit overall growth, Musk explained. “It would not make any sense because we’ll still be parts constrained,” he said, adding, “We will however do a lot of engineering, and tooling, whatnot, to create those vehicles, Cybertruck, Semi, Roadster.”
A delay to 2023 (and potentially later) shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, as all of those vehicles have been continually pushed back. The Roadster was originally supposed to arrive in 2020 before being shunted to 2022, while Cybertruck production was initially said to be planned for 2021. Finally, in summer last year, the Semi truck was postponed until 2022.
All three should be here “hopefully next year,” Musk claims, although we wouldn’t bank on it. It’s best to be even more sceptical about the Optimus “humanoid robot” apparently going into production next - as a reminder, that’s the project whose announcement involved a man in a suit dancing energetically on stage until Musk told them to stop.
He claims Optimus is “actually the most important product development we’re doing this year…This, I think, has the potential to be more significant than the vehicle business over time”.
Musk also said the controversial ‘Full Self-Driving’ system “will become the most important source of profitability for Tesla” in time. “My personal guess is that we’ll achieve Full Self-Driving this year, yes, with data safety level significantly greater than present,” he also noted, although we should point out this is far from the first time such promises have been made.
The final point of interest from the call is news of the $25,000 car Tesla said it aimed to release in 2023, or lack of. It’s not on the horizon at all, with Musk noting, “we’re not currently working on a $25,000 car. At some point, we will”.