Is Tesla underpromising on its 2021 vehicle delivery guidance?

For its 2021 vehicle delivery guidance, Tesla may not have given a precise number, but it seems that this year the electric car manufacturer is, at least internally, aiming for new records.

Back in the earnings call for Q4 FY 2020, Elon Musk noted that for several years to come, Tesla will likely be able to “maintain a growth rate in excess of 50% per year for many years to come.” Musk added that he believes Tesla would track “a fair bit above 50 percent” for 2021, although he also noted that he does not want to commit to a specific number.

One of Tesla’s Giga Press machines installed at the Fremont Factory. (Credit: Gabeincal/YouTube)

A new rumor from a person allegedly familiar with the plans of the electric car manufacturer has now indicated that Tesla might be sandbagging its 2021 predictions. Tesla investor Sawyer Merritt, who posted the Twitter rumor, confirmed that the data came from an insider familiar with this year’s sales plan of the electric car manufacturer.

Tesla is internally planning to deliver 1 million vehicles in 2021, according to the insider, which could effectively double its already-record-breaking figures in 2020. This is substantially higher than Elon Musk’s expectations shared during the fourth-quarter earnings call. It should be noted, however, that Tesla bulls have already speculated that the company was deliberately sandbagging its delivery estimates for 2021, especially taking into account the recent developments in facilities such as Gigafactory Shanghai and Fremont Factory.

Tesla is currently in the process of optimizing the Fremont Factory operations for its Giga Presses. By simplifying the production of the all-electric crossover, the machines that produce the megacast for the rear underbody of the Model Y will increase the company’s numbers at the Fremont Factory. In Shanghai, Tesla is also still only in the first months of the Model Y’s ramp. Tesla plans to launch operations in Berlin’s Gigafactory, and maybe even Giga Texas as well.

Although the recent reports about Tesla’s internal goals are exciting, it is very admirable, if not a step away from the traditionally ambitious targets of Elon Musk, that Tesla shares conservative estimates for its 2021 delivery guidance. After all, such a thing would be very beneficial for the electric car manufacturer to a point, especially since the excessively ambitious timetables of Elon Musk have resulted in the company failing in the past to achieve its publicly stated targets.

That being said, with all of Tesla’s vehicle production facilities producing EVs this year, the idea of the electric car maker delivering 1 million cars for 2021 does not sound too farfetched at all.

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