Tesla reports another quarter of profits that top Wall Street expectations

Elon Musk
Tesla reported first-quarter earnings on Monday afternoon. Maja Hitij/Getty Images
  • Tesla reported its earnings for the first quarter of 2021 on Monday afternoon.
  • The electric automaker beat Wall Street’s expectations for profit but fell short on revenue.
  • Shares of Tesla dropped slightly in late trading following the news.
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Tesla on Monday posted another profitable quarter to start out 2021, beating Wall Street’s earnings expectations.

Here are the important numbers:

  • Revenue: $10.39 billion, compared to an expected $10.42 billion
  • Earnings: $0.93 (adjusted) per share, compared to an expected $0.80 per share.

Shares of Tesla fell slightly in late trading following the release. Tesla’s quarterly revenue rose 74% as compared with the same period of 2020 when the company brought in $5.99 billion. However, the figure was slightly lower than the previous quarter.

Expectations were running high after Tesla announced it had sold a record number of cars during the first quarter, despite headwinds like a shortage of semiconductor chips that have been a gut punch to global auto production.

“In Q1, we achieved our highest ever vehicle production and deliveries. This was in spite of multiple challenges, including seasonality, supply chain instability and the transition to the new Model S and Model X,” the company said in a press release.

From January through March, the company delivered 184,877 vehicles, comfortably topping Wall Street’s expectations by more than 10,000 units. That figure was largely driven by strong demand for electric vehicles in China.

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Tesla raked in a record $518 million from selling regulatory tax credits to other automakers during the first quarter. The credits have been key for the automaker’s profitability over the last six consecutive quarters, but revenue from them is expected to taper off as carmakers that purchase them start selling their own EVs in larger numbers.

The company also disclosed $101 million in profit from selling bitcoin following a massive $1.5 billion investment in February. $1.3 billion worth of the cryptocurrency remains on its balance sheet, Tesla said.

The carmaker did not issue concrete 2021 guidance but said it expects deliveries will grow at least 50% in 2021, indicating a total of more than 750,000 units sold by year’s end. The company said it will begin delivering a refreshed Model S sedan “very shortly” and reiterated that Semi deliveries will begin in 2021.

On a conference call with analysts and investors later Monday, CEO Elon Musk and other executives will likely be asked about their expectations for the year, new challenges facing the automaker in the important Chinese market, increased regulatory scrutiny following a recent fatal crash, updated timelines on factories in Germany and Texas, and future vehicles like the Roadster and Cybertruck.