TESLA made $1.1 billion (£798 million) profit for the second quarter of 2021, it announced in an earnings call with investors.
The result represents a milestone for the electric vehicle (EV) company as it recorded its eighth profitable quarter in succession. More importantly, the latest quarter was the first that the company finished in the black without relying on emissions credits.
The profit comprised $354 million from credit sales with the rest coming from sales of cars and energy storage units. Tesla delivered 201,304 cars over the three months.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said: “Public sentiment for EVs is at an inflection point. I think almost everyone agrees that electric vehicles are the only way forward.”
However, Tesla urged caution with regard to its performance over the second half of the year. Like several other car manufacturers, the American company has faced challenges and some production stoppages due to the worldwide semiconductor shortage.
Musk said: “The global chip shortage situation remains quite serious. We were able to substitute alternative chips and then write the firmware in a matter of weeks. It’s not just a matter of swapping out a chip, you also have to rewrite the software.”
The company’s record net income comes despite the decision to divest its Bitcoin holdings costing the company $23 million over the same period, as the price of the cryptocurrency dipped below $30,000, though it has no lans to sell Bitcoin in the foreseeable future, according to Musk.
Cybertruck and Semi lorry facing delays
Tesla is currently building two new factories in Austin, Texas, and Berlin, Germany, that it hopes will add to production capacity soon. The plant in Austin is earmarked to produce the company’s polarising Cybertruck pick-up alongside the Model Y. However, environmental concerns have delayed the Berlin facility.
“Cybertruck is currently in alpha stages [of development]. We finished basic engineering architecture of the vehicle. But Model Y will be priority at Giga Texas,” said Lars Moravy, Tesla VP of engineering.
Going by typical automotive industry timelines, that would indicate that the Cybertruck is unlikely to go into series production before 2022. Tesla has also announced it will again delay the launch of its electric Semi truck until next year.
Revenues expect to rise as it opens up Supercharger network
Recently Tesla confirmed it would be opening up its network of Superchargers to non-Tesla customers. This move has annoyed some loyal Tesla customers who like the exclusivity of the Supercharger network and fear that the occasional queues to access them in busy areas will only worsen when all electric car owners have access.
However, doing so will allow Tesla to maximise revenue from its 2,500 charging sites globally. In addition, regulators around the world are reviewing electric vehicle charging networks as they aim to switch motorists out of their petrol and diesel cars.
In the UK, the Competition and Markets Authority has recognised a need for a tenfold increase in the number of electric vehicle chargers by 2030, and has opened a competition law investigation into EV charging along motorways, which is currently controlled by Gridserve.
Musk confirmed that in the United States, owners of non-Tesla EVs would have to buy an adapter to be able to use its Supercharger network. However, in Europe, most of the Superchargers are equipped with CCS-type charging cables — the same as the majority of other electric cars — as European-spec Model 3 cars use this connection rather than Tesla’s proprietary one. In either case, EV owners will pay for charging through the Tesla app.
Towards the end of the earnings call, Musk sparked further speculation about his position as CEO by saying that he will no longer appear on Tesla’s earnings calls unless he has “something really important to say” as other work to do. In March, Musk declared himself “Technoking” of Tesla in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), though retained his CEO position.
The billionaire entrepreneur has previously been chastised by the SEC over tweeting about company finances. Musk has dragged Tesla into consistent profitability but as his other company, SpaceX, continues to win lucrative deals to launch equipment into space with reusable rockets, there are suggestions that he may take a back seat at the car company.
In a virtual bitcoin conference with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey last week, Musk said two-thirds of the “personal and professional pain” he’s experienced has stemmed from running Tesla.