Tesla’s workforce grew by almost 50% during its epic 2020 surge

Tesla significantly expanded manufacturing in 2020, broke ground on new plants, and launched the Model Y, and hired like crazy to accomplish this.

Tesla had 70,757 full-time staff around the world as of December 31st, documents filed this week show with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That figure is up more than 47 percent from the previous year, when 48,016 workers were employed by the electric car manufacturer.

Tesla has gone on a recruiting frenzy as it has worked in recent years to reach ambitious production goals. The carmaker sold just shy of 500,000 vehicles in 2020, its highest year of sales to date.

Tesla hired 37,543 workers by the end of 2017, more than twice the 17,782 that it had on payroll in the previous year, according to regulatory filings.

Most of the growth for Tesla came from the Chinese market, where its revenue more than doubled to $6.6 billion last year. China is one of the most significant electric vehicle markets, accounting for around one-fifth of Tesla’s sales last year, and is supplied by the carmaker via a factory outside Shanghai that opened in mid-2019.

The global workforce of the electric vehicle manufacturer is set to expand dramatically in 2021 as it aims to open a new plant near Berlin, Germany, which will potentially supply Europe with at least 500,000 vehicles annually, according to Tesla. In Germany, Tesla has been actively recruiting engineers and other employees, ruffling some feathers in the auto industry there.

Tesla is also preparing to begin production this year at a new plant in Austin, Texas, where it will build its Cybertruck pickup.

Meanwhile, as the COVID-19 pandemic battered car production, legacy automotive makers had to cut jobs in 2020. Last year, Ford reportedly tried to lay off nearly 1,000 employees in North America, while Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, reportedly cut off thousands of workers at an engine plant that it is converting to manufacture EVs.

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