Tesla Q1 EV production, sales strong despite ‘setbacks’

Delivery and sales of electric vehicles (EVs) from leading EV manufacturer Tesla showed no sign of weakness despite the economic setbacks triggered by the global spread of Covid-19, according to preliminary data released by the company on Friday April 3.

Tesla produced about 103,000 and delivered 88,400 EVs in the first three months of 2020. The figures show a year-on-year increase in production of around 33.60% and an annual increase in sales of around 40.30%.

The company added that its factory in Shanghai, China continued to achieve record-levels of production in spite of “significant setbacks”.

China’s central government imposed strict lockdown measures after the Lunar New Year (January 24-February 2) to tackle the spread of the virus, which disrupted supply chains across a wide range of industries.

With the virus spreading to the United States, Tesla announced production suspensions at its US factories in New York state and Fremont from March 23 in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Operations at the two plants have been limited to a minimum level to allow Tesla’s vehicle and energy service operation and charging infrastructure to continue.

The company said that operations at its other facilities including Reno in the US state of Nevada continued unaffected.

The company joined a raft of automakers around the world closing facilities due to the virus, including BMW, Toyota, Jaguar Land Rover, Groupe PSA, and Volkswagen.

The EV producer will release its full financial earnings statement for the the first quarter later in the June quarter, it said.

Raw material costs
Lithium carbonate is a critical component of EV batteries. Prices for the raw material have not been significantly affected by headwinds caused by the global spread of Covid-19 in an already bearish price environment.

Fastmarkets assessed the lithium carbonate, 99.5% Li2CO3 min, battery grade, spot price at $8-9.50 per kg on a cif China, Japan and Korea basis on Thursday April 2, unchanged over the past 16 weeks, but down by around 28.6% from $11-13.50 per kg on April 4, 2019.