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Tesla (TSLA) Q4 and FY 2021 earnings results: Revenue and EPS beat on most impressive quarter to date

Credit: Tesla Inc.

Tesla’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) fourth-quarter and full-year 2021 earnings saw the company post its most impressive quarter yet. The results, which were discussed in the Q4 and FY 2021 Update Letter, were released after the closing bell on Wednesday, January 26, 2022.

Tesla was impressive in the fourth quarter, with the company producing a total of 305,840 vehicles and delivering 308,600. The lion’s share of these numbers came from the Model 3 and Model Y, as the ramp of the refreshed Model S and Model X hit challenges over the year. Tesla’s numbers were even more impressive for 2021 overall, with the company producing a total of 930,422 and delivering 936,172 vehicles, setting new records. 

Tesla summarized its blockbuster year in the following section of its Q4 FY 2021 Update Letter. With its stellar results, the company notes that it is no longer a question if electric vehicles could be profitable. And now that it has another breakthrough year under its belt, Tesla has noted that it is now looking into the future.

“2021 was a breakthrough year for Tesla. There should no longer be doubt about the viability and profitability of electric vehicles. With our deliveries up 87% in 2021, we achieved the highest quarterly operating margin among all volume OEMs, based on the latest available data, demonstrating that EVs can be more profitable than combustion engine vehicles.”

“After a successful 2021, our focus shifts to the future. We aim to increase our production as quickly as we can, not only through ramping production at new factories in Austin and Berlin, but also by maximizing output from our established factories in Fremont and Shanghai. We believe competitiveness in the EV market will be determined by the ability to add capacity across the supply chain and ramp production.”

The following are the key points in Tesla’s Q4 FY 2020 Update Letter.

Earnings Per Share and Revenue

For the fourth quarter of 2021, Tesla’s earnings per share stood at $2.54 and total revenue of $17.72 billion. In comparison, Wall Street expected the EV maker to post earnings per share of $2.35 and revenues of $16.65 billion.

“Total revenue grew 65% YoY in Q4 to $17.7B. YoY, revenue was impacted by the following items: (1) growth in vehicle deliveries; (2) growth in other parts of the business,” Tesla noted.


Tesla has maintained a formidable war chest over the past quarters, and this trend has continued in the fourth quarter. Despite the ongoing buildout of Gigafactory Texas and Giga Berlin, as well as the ongoing optimizations in Gigafactory Shanghai and the Fremont Factory, Tesla has reported that it still has $17.6 billion in cash in the fourth quarter. 

“Quarter-end cash and cash equivalents increased sequentially by $1.5B to $17.6B in Q4, driven mainly by free cash flow of $2.8B, partially offset by net debt and finance lease repayments of $1.5B. Our total debt excluding vehicle and energy product financing has fallen to just $1.4B at the end of 2021,” the company wrote.


For Q4 2021, Tesla posted a GAAP operating income of $2.6 billion and a 14.7% operating margin. The company also posted a $2.3 billion GAAP net income and 30.6% GAAP automotive gross margin in the fourth quarter.

“Our operating income improved to $2.6B in Q4 compared to the same period last year, resulting in a 14.7% operating margin. This profit level was reached while incurring SBC expense attributable to the 2018 CEO award of $245M in Q4, driven by the final two operational milestones becoming probable,” Tesla wrote.

Production Run-Rate by EOY

By the end of 2021, Tesla’s annualized vehicle production run-rate was over 1.22 million. It should be noted that this was achieved with only two factories, Gigafactory Shanghai and the Fremont Factory. This number would likely see a notable improvement in 2022 when Giga Texas and Gigafactory Berlin start their operations as well.

Tesla’s Q4 and FY 2021 Update Letter could be accessed below.

Tsla q4 and Fy 2021 Update by Simon Alvarez on Scribd

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Tesla (TSLA) Q4 and FY 2021 earnings results: Revenue and EPS beat on most impressive quarter to date
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