Tesla: how Elon Musk brought his electric cars to the top spot

Quarter after quarter, electrified car sales continue to rise. According to a study just published by German analyst Matthias Schmidt, 546,000 plug-in electric or hybrid vehicles were sold in Western Europe during the first three months of the year. That’s a little over one in five new vehicles! On the podium of the most purchased rechargeable models, we find the Model 3 in the first place and the Model Y in the second place. A complete box for the Elon Musk Tesla. Best of all, the combined engines, the Model 3 was the best-selling car in Europe in March, ahead of the Peugeot 208 and the Model Y, which in itself was better than the Volkswagen Golf. A real Copernican revolution.

Historic manufacturers who have long laughed at comparing Teslas to improved lawn mowers are now having to laugh … hilarious. “The performance is remarkable, even if it is to qualify because it comes at a time when the new market has fallen sharply (-20% compared to March 2021),” says Jean-Pierre Corniou, a specialist in the automotive sector in The uncertainties linked to the international context, between the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, have led many buyers to turn to the second-hand market to limit their spending. ”The now Texan manufacturer is also overcoming anticipate the shortage of semiconductors, accumulating solid stocks and adapting their software, when most of their competitors have had to stop their production lines repeatedly due to lack of electronic chips.

Nearly one million Tesla sold in 2021

This does not hurt Tesla’s performance. Although the brand was about to hit the road in 2018 – and its head was exhausted – in the face of the difficult rise of the Model 3, it sold nearly a million of its small electric cars in 2021 (+87 % compared to 2020). . Above all, after years of abysmal losses, Tesla made a profit of $ 5.5 billion, with a turnover of $ 54 billion. Or an operating margin of 12.1% in 2021, which rose to 19% in the first quarter of 2022. Enough to drive Tesla among the most profitable car manufacturers on the planet. Exceptional profitability is explained both by a very advanced integration (the manufacturer manages to manufacture its own seats) and by the sale of its vehicles directly, on the Internet and in its own dealer network.

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A simple snack if we are to believe the billionaire of South African origin who has just got his hands on the social network Twitter. The head of Space X, Neuralink and The Boring Company also claims that it can reach 10 million copies sold annually in the medium term, and 20 million in ten years. That’s twice what the market leader, Toyota, manages to sell today! A disproportionate goal, as always with the richest man on the planet, but not delusional, as Tesla has just opened two new Gigafactories in Berlin, Germany, and Austin, Texas. Two units in addition to those in Fremont, California, and Shanghai, China. All of them should be able to produce 500,000 vehicles a year. An increase in power that will involve, above all, securing the rare metals essential for the chemistry of batteries (cobalt, lithium and nickel).

The manufacturer also announced on Tuesday, May 10, that it had signed a long-term trade agreement with Brazilian mining group Vale, which is committed to supplying it with nickel extracted from its Canadian mines. The latter have an annual production capacity of 75,000 tons. In recent months, Tesla has multiplied such partnerships to get out of the dangerous dependence of the rare metal battery industry under Chinese rule.

After the cars, Tesla humanoid robots

Nothing and no one seems to be able to stop Tesla’s powerful acceleration … except Tesla itself. “If Musk is still a few years ahead of its competitors in the ability of its vehicles to extract more power and range from its engines, it seems that it is very difficult for it to solve its reliability problems,” says Jean-Pierre Corniou. In 2021 alone, all generations together, 475,000 Tesla were taken away from dealerships due to poor manpower, that’s huge! “Problems most often affect Tesla’s Autopilot which also exposes him to massive collective action in the event of an increase in serious accidents.

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Last issue so far, overheating of the center screen can cause major malfunctions. 130,000 vehicles manufactured in 2021 and 2022 have just been withdrawn. A detail for Elon Musk that is already being projected in his new Tesla Bot project, since he renamed Optimus. A humanoid robot presented itself last summer as a kind of daily assistant, at the service of factory workers and the families of the future. The first copy should be released by the end of the year, and the billionaire says he is convinced that in the long run it will bring more money to Tesla than the sale of cars. Of course, we are not obliged to speak to Musk. But the man has already shown on many occasions that his statements must always be taken seriously.


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