Those who have been following the Tesla story for years would notice that the news surrounding the company this fourth quarter has been relatively muted, despite the fourth quarter being halfway done. This is despite the electric car maker’s ambitious goal of delivering over 180,000 cars this quarter, allowing it to hit Elon Musk’s half-a-million vehicle delivery target for 2020.
The relative quiet surrounding Tesla’s fourth-quarter bodes well for the electric car maker, and it highlights the experience it has gained as an automaker over the years. In years past, it is not uncommon to see report after report of alleged issues in Tesla’s factories or production difficulties in the middle of a quarter. A couple of Elon Musk’s feuds on Twitter would round out the usual drama surrounding the company.
This drama seems strangely absent this quarter so far. While Tesla has caught some of it earlier this year with Elon Musk opening the Fremont Factory while butting heads with officials from Alameda County, the company has, for the most part, been silently executing on its plans. The Model Y ramp appears to be going well, with the all-electric crossover’s production seemingly improving quickly.
While early-production Model Ys were observed with build quality issues, vehicles produced just months later showed vast improvements in quality. Needless to say, the Model Y’s ramp definitely seems to be much smoother than the Model 3’s, a vehicle which took a heavy toll on both Tesla and Elon Musk.
The Model Y ramp is just the tip of the iceberg too. The Model 3, Tesla’s best-selling vehicle for a few years now, has undergone a “refresh” of sorts. With this update, the Model 3 now comes with a revamped interior and exterior, as well as increases in range. These changes would likely make the vehicles more attractive to electric car buyers, many of whom would likely aim to take delivery of their Teslas before the end of the year.
Interestingly enough, Tesla is also putting the pedal to the metal in the construction of Gigafactory Berlin and Giga Texas, as well as the expansion of Gigafactory Shanghai. The Roadrunner pilot line in Fremont, the first of the company’s battery cell production facilities, is also being prepared to support the initial ramp of the Germany-based Model Y factory, which is poised to start operations next year. The Full Self-Driving beta is also being improved and developed in preparation for a wider rollout by the end of the year.
The silence surrounding Tesla these days suggests that the company is actively executing its plans without rippling the waters that much. It also shows that the company has reached a point where it is no longer making as many mistakes as it learns its lessons. Instead, it is now putting all those learnings to work as it aims to reach even higher and more ambitious targets.
Tesla’s quiet execution this fourth quarter ultimately bodes well for the company’s supporters. It also serves as a warning of sorts to its longtime critics, most of whom have been proven wrong over the years. Tesla was able to stay afloat in more turbulent times, after all, and it was able to thrive despite coming close to ruin on several occasions. The company is now on more stable footing, and its vehicles are only getting better and more attainable. With these in mind, doubling down on anti-Tesla points this quarter definitely does not seem like a smart idea.
Disclosure: I am long TSLA.