Forget the grumbling about Model 3 - Tesla sales soared in 2017

Tesla has released its year-end delivery figures, and the legions of Tesla naysayers, and much of the mainstream press, are gleefully trumpeting the fact that Model 3 deliveries have fallen short of Tesla’s wildly overoptimistic forecasts. However, here’s another little detail that the numbers reveal: Tesla set a new sales record in the fourth quarter of 2017, and posted major gains over 2016.


Above: Tesla sold record numbers of its Model X and S this year (Instagram: @sapsi86)

It was a year of rising tides for electric vehicles. Total US plug-in sales for 2017 were 199,826 (according to InsideEVs), a 26% increase compared to 2016’s 158,614. Worldwide sales were well over a million. December saw the biggest US monthly sales in history, and was the 27th consecutive month that sales were greater than the previous year.

Tesla leads the pack by a large margin - Model S was the best-selling plug-in of the year (as it was in 2016 and 2015), with just over 27,000 sales (InsideEVs’ estimate), and Model X was in third place with just over 21,000. The Chevrolet Bolt and Toyota Prius Prime each had a stellar first year on the market, reaching second and fourth place in US sales, respectively.

Above: Tesla's flagship sedan, its Model S, continues to lead the electric vehicle pack (Instagram: jg.photoz)

Tesla reported on its steadily increasing deliveries in a press release: “In Q4, Tesla delivered 29,870 vehicles, of which 15,200 were Model S, 13,120 were Model X, and 1,550 were Model 3. This was once again our all-time best quarter for combined Model S and X deliveries, representing a 27% increase over Q4 2016, and a 9% increase over Q3 2017, our previous best quarter.

“In total, we exceeded our previously announced guidance by delivering 101,312 Model S and X vehicles in 2017. This was a 33% increase over 2016.”

Above: Although Tesla missed the mark with its 2017 Model 3 projections, the company delivered a record ~103,000 Model S, X, and 3 combined (Source: Statista)

These are global figures - according to InsideEVs’ estimates, US Model S and X sales grew by about 3% in 2017.

Don’t tell the folks at Seeking Alpha (you’ll spoil their fun), but there is also good news on Model 3 deliveries, which tripled in December. “During Q4, we made major progress addressing Model 3 production bottlenecks, with our production rate increasing significantly towards the end of the quarter,” says Tesla. “As we continue to focus on quality and efficiency rather than simply pushing for the highest possible volume in the shortest period of time, we expect to have a slightly more gradual ramp through Q1, likely ending the quarter at a weekly rate of about 2,500 Model 3 vehicles. We intend to achieve the 5,000 per week milestone by the end of Q2.”


Above: One author, Galileo Russell, goes against-the-grain over at Seeking Alpha with his take on Tesla's financials (Youtube: HyperChange TV via Cheddar)

The importance of an automaker meeting its projected sales numbers is debatable - most of us who follow Tesla long ago accepted the fact that its forecasts are aspirational rather than realistic, and some even argue that that’s a good thing. What is not in dispute is that Tesla’s deliveries, of all three vehicles, are steadily growing.


This article originally appeared in Charged, and was written by Charles Morris. Sources:  InsideEVs, Electrek