Tesla Outperforms Expectations, Delivers 25,000 Model S and Model X EVs In Q1


Tesla’s Fremont factory production was a bit unconventional in Q1 while preparing for the Model 3 this July

As Tesla has been known to do, the all-electric automaker has estimated its first quarter (Q1) sales and production of the Model S and Model X globally.

Tesla says it delivered just over 25,000 vehicles in Q1, broken down as follows:

  • Tesla Model S: 13,450
  • Tesla Model X: 11,550

Tesla will have to deliver ~22,000+ EVs in Q2 to hit H1 delivery projections…while at the same time ramping for Model 3 production

While at the same time producing 25,418  EVs between January and March – a new company record.  Tesla noted the following on the achievement:

This was a new quarterly record for us and represents a 69% increase over Q1 2016. Our delivery count should be viewed as slightly conservative, as we only count a car as delivered if it is transferred to the customer and all paperwork is correct. Final numbers could vary by up to 0.5%”

We should note that as we tracked deliveries for the US, Q1 was an unconventional one for production at Tesla’s Fremont facility, with more than a few ‘lost’ days to Model 3 prep, including a full week’s worth in February as pre-production of that EV got underway, so the result is easy outpaced expectations.

And while they don’t do it for every quarter, Tesla also disclosed in transit vehicles:

“In addition to Q1 deliveries, about 4,650 vehicles were in transit to customers at the end of the quarter. These will be counted as deliveries in Q2 2017.”

Of note:  Generally at the start of a new year the company will give full year guidance for sale and production estimates.

However, with the unknown factor that is the Model 3 (which the company says will start limited production in July), Tesla only broke down sales forecasts for the first 6 months of this year during it’s Q4/FY 2016 report in late February.

“We expect to deliver 47,000 to 50,000 Model S and Model X vehicles combined in the first half of 2017, representing vehicle delivery growth of 61% to 71% compared with the same period last year.”

Using our amazing math and calculator skills, we determine that means Tesla is looking to sell about 22,000-25,000 EVs in the upcoming 3 months – and with ~4,650 EVs in transit, logging ~17,350 more sales would not seem to present much of a challenge.

Category: Sales, Tesla


46 responses to "Tesla Outperforms Expectations, Delivers 25,000 Model S and Model X EVs In Q1"
  1. EV4Life says:

    Indeed, 17K doesn’t seem alot compared to the numbers produces previously, maybe they’re expecting some more production interruptions as they get closer to Model 3 production?

    1. Nix says:

      Either that, or they may have finally decided to under-predict and over-deliver on their Model S/X numbers?

      They probably haven’t done that with Model 3 numbers yet….


  2. Jernej says:

    In Q4 they stated:

    “In addition to Q4 deliveries, about 6,450 vehicles were in transit to customers at the end of the quarter. These will be counted as deliveries in Q1 2017.”

    Actual production was then something like 23.2k

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Just as a point to note.

      Not all cars Tesla builds are orders, some are demos/pre-sales, etc…especially when it comes to EVs headed to China (although generally this is not a very high number).

      Also, with the Model S 60 and 60D (software limited 75 kWhs) being discontinued on April 17th, the company may have built out some unsold copies of that model in anticipation of demand at month’s end.

      Whatever the case, we think its more than likely they did actually build the EVs they stated they did over making an accounting error.

      1. Chris says:


        They don’t build any 60 or 60D that are not customer orders. I’m constantly looking at the website and I NEVER see any 60 or 60D new ones for the past year.

        1. Jay Cole says:

          Certainly could be true.

          I know the production splits for March was heavy weighted to the 60, so we will definitely see soon. Personally, I wouldn’t expect to see them start to show up in inventory until April/May if they have built any extra at the end of the run to assist with Q2 sales.

          ..or they could have built 75s, or 100s, or Xs etc. Was just making the point that 100% everything Tesla builds is not tied to a specific customer order, so 8-9% of unaccounted for production doesn’t seem unreasonable, or something to be concerned about (IMO).

        2. vdiv says:

          Technically, Tesla never built 60s the second time around, they were all software-limited 75.

  3. Daniel Cardenas says:

    How to figure out what percent are U.S. deliveries? Want to calculate when 200K limit reached.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      We’ll have the US estimated numbers for March up Monday morning at ~7:30 AM PT (…and we aren’t generally out by more than a couple hundred units, and retroactively make any necessary changes when verified data rolls in).

      So if you care to get out your calculator and total all the sales up (Monthly Plug-In Scorecard here), you could get a real good idea.

      1. Nix says:

        In case I haven’t thanked you yet this quarter, thanks again for doing all the footwork for the Tesla numbers. It is much appreciated.

        1. Jay Cole says:

          No problemo. Thanks for the positive vibes Nix, (=

      2. SS says:

        Am I allowed to pop all these into a spreadsheet and post the spreadsheet here?

    2. Mikael says:

      It will probably be reached either in early january 2018 or early march 2018 depending on Model 3 ramp up.

      1. Jay Cole says:

        That’s a good point. I was just going to add that the Model 3 is such a huge wild card, but given the fed expiry/sunset period is triggered by the quarter, Q1 2018 seems reasonable. But your +/1 is definitely 1 Q.

        1. Ocean Railroader says:

          How fast with the Tax Credit phase out?

          Is it going to drop by half for every 200,000 more cars made?

          1. David S. says:


            At the time of the 200,000th sales, and so as not to disrupt/confuse those buying the EVs, that full $7,500 credit continues through the end of the current quarter and to the completion of the next quarter. After this period ends the “phase-out” begins, meaning the credit is reduced to $3,750 for the next 6 months, then to $1,875 for the next 6 months before expiring completely.

  4. Get Real says:

    I guess this info blows up 4 Electrics multiple repetitive posts in various threads about how Tesla is supposedly falling far short of their 2017 guidance!

    1. Four Electrics says:

      Absolutely, yes. The prior estimate was based on InsideEV’s sales scorecard and is totally wrong.

      The 1H guidance is the other piece of evidence that sales are softening–that, or Tesla has finally decided to sandbag their estimates so as to end the running joke that was their streak of prior misses.

      1. Get Real says:

        Thats right 4E, when proven wrong keep moving your anti-Tesla goal posts!

        1. Jay Cole says:

          Four Electrics:

          “The prior estimate was based on InsideEV’s sales scorecard and is totally wrong.”

          Just as FYI: The data on our monthly sales scorecard is US only, and it bang on the money with the data released today and registrations data so far in March…and is/will not be altered in anyway at this time.

          Tesla’s US sales are only fractional of overall global sales (usually just under half most quarters), and the delivery splits in the US are always back of the quarter loaded (intentionally by the company) for the US. I would have a look at all the historical data for the 3rd month of previous quarters to see this clearly illustrated in a practical way.

          Almost universally the past few years, month 3 of a quarter nets near (or more) than the first two months combined. With this trend in mind, it was quite easy to see how the numbers would likely shake out for Q1 within a thousand sales or so (as well as the fact Tesla themselves put out a ~50k forecast 2 months into the 6 month timeline), and the fact the RHD Model X rolled out in Q1 internationally – thus altering the splits slightly…if you failed to see the obvious data, then that is on you.

          I can appreciate you want to defend you position, but we’d prefer if you don’t attempt to tarnish our record when doing so, especially when we put a lot of effort into the numbers…and we, and we have never been out more than ~600 units in any quarter of the ~20 logged to date (with an average margin of error just under 200 units). So we have nailed each and every quarter, all-time from Tesla. We that continue forever? That seems unlikely…but the streak isn’t ending in Q1 2017.

          If we get something wrong, we own it – in fact, we note each and every adjustment we have ever made to the numbers all-time on the scorecard…but we won’t not defend ourselves when our track record is called into question, as getting all the plug-in monthly sales for the US right, and first…is basically our calling card. We put our neck out each month on the Tesla number, and we have 58 months in a row of not having it cut off yet.

          1. ClarksonCote says:

            Well said Jay!

            1. Jay Cole says:

              Sorry, reading that back now, I sound a little pissy, lol. I apologize to 4E, that was not/is never my intent.

              With that said, we don’t just plunk down random numbers, we don’t report numbers based on our ‘feelings’, or our opinion on the company, or based on Tesla’s half year/full year estimates. We put dozens of hours over the course of a month into finding out what is happening with Tesla production and delivery wise each month (both domestic and foreign), and then extrapolate a number based on the production, schedule, delivery reports, plant level info, transit info and other data at hand, etc.

              If the number is low, its low. If its high, its high. Quite often we get called on it because whatever a particular month’s number ends up being (or 2 months) can’t simply be multipled by 3 (or 1.5) to get an expected result for the full quarter. If Tesla ultimately sells 12,000 EVs in a quarter, the Model S and Model X are never going to sell around 2,000 cars per month, for each month of the quarter they way things are set up now.

              The fact/reality is, Tesla is a global automaker, but it is building EVs in a very un-global like way (a terrible way long term from a business standpoint)…out of one facility in the US. As a result, the month-to-month spikes in a particular region due to production and delivery planning tends to make the monthly numbers erratic. If they had 4 plants around the world, and one of them was based in the US, producing solely for North America, then yes, the monthly splits would be a heck of a lot flatter.

              This current monthly flux is why Tesla opts to not give monthly/regional numbers…because they don’t want to deal with having to explain every odd delivery report each month (and having the stock move in step with the mis-understanding). Instead, by reporting global numbers quarterly(as they did today) the bumps are smoothed out.

              I’ve said it before…but the best day ever for us here at IEV, is when Tesla starts to report US sales monthly like everyone else!

              1. ClarksonCote says:

                Pissy? Nah 😉 It’s easy to forget how much effort you put into the numbers, the explanation is a good reminder… and despite how busy you are running the site, you still even took the time to correct my spelling error, hehe. 🙂

        2. Four Electrics says:

          I can only look at public data. I do not possess insider information.

          Speaking of public data, upon further inspection, you can perhaps speculate as to the reason Tesla’s 1H guidance is essentially flat:

          2016 Q1 model S: 12,420
          2017 Q1 model S: 13,450

          Most of the YoY sales increase is due to the X. S sales are flat YoY, which is consistent with a wait and see approach of some buyers towards the 3.

          1. Mint says:

            The X being in full production most definitely takes away sales from the S. They’re priced similarly, yet the X is more car with more gadgets.

            Tesla doesn’t care much if new customers choose the S or the X, and neither should you.

            Pointing out “flat” S sales is very disingenuous.

            1. Get Real says:

              “Very disingenuous” is a nice way to describe 4E’s trickster anti-Tesla FUD.

            2. vvk says:

              When I was helping a friend to pick up his MX a few weeks ago, I don’t recall seeing a single MS being delivered. It was one MX after another. There was one lonely MS sitting there, not sure if it was being delivered that day.

          2. TomArt says:

            Why would you expect continued insane growth? Tesla Model S has saturated the market…back in 2015! Any increases YoY is pure, savory gravy!

      2. Nix says:

        Sadly, people like Four Electrics completely misunderstanding how Tesla batch builds for different global markets in each month of the quarter, is why Tesla never releases monthly US sales numbers.

        Even after seeing quarter after quarter where the pattern of global vs. US deliveries are clear, 4E gets it wrong every quarter.

        But you can’t help those who don’t want helped.

    2. ffbj says:

      He who should not be named.

  5. leafowner says:

    Nice — but more would be better (especially international sales!!)

  6. georgeS says:

    “would not seem to present much of a challenge.”


    Flat production over the 2 sequential quarters, comparing year over year is misleading but that’s what they all do.

    That’s OK model 3 coming soon.

  7. Bob Nan says:

    So nice to read this news. 25,000 in Q1 is a big # given the fact that January is the lowest sales month. So this month also, we can see a big increase on YoY basis. And possibly Model-S will end up as #1. Prius Prime is also supposed to be somewhat higher this month.
    Lets see in the March scorecard.

    1. William says:

      The Prius Prime will be the monthly surprise, to the upside, for March and at least the next few months. The upcoming scorecard will put the “proof”, in the Prius Prime Pudding! PPP is not really a game changer on my PHEV dessert menu or diet!

      1. Prius Prime on the EV Side, is the Volt (Lite) version.

        On the Gas use MPG side, the Volt is Prius (Lite)!

        Their is some mathematical point where one serves a user better than the other, but generally, I think the Volt does better for those with longer commutes, but shorter non-commute drives, where the Prius Prime is better for those with shorter commutes, but longer non-commute drives, due to its shorter all EV range, but better gas mileage.

        1. Brian F says:

          I remember seeing a calculation someone did once with the Volt (1st generation) vs Prius (1st generation plugin, not the new Prime) and the conclusion was that for any trips under 150 miles, the Volt provided better overall mpg/mpge but for anything over 150 miles the Prius was better.

          I wish I remembered what site that was on, or who said it, or I had the time and inclination to do the calculations myself for the 2nd Gen Volt and Prius Prime to see how that 150 mile mark has changed.

  8. Brian says:

    A good start for a small company.

    For reference, Toyota and VW each move more than that volume each day of the year.

    1. paul smith says:

      Brian, for reference Volkswagen has been selling cars for 80 years, and Toyota for 84.

  9. Ocean Railroader says:

    Tesla needs to ramp up production to 75,000 cars a quarter if we can counter play OPEC at their oil production cut game https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-03/oil-holds-above-50-as-barkindo-optimism-counters-u-s-rigs

    OPEC has cut 800,000 barrels of oil a day. But if Tesla could start pumping out Teslas by the hundreds of thousands that would make up for the oil loses.

  10. Dan Edwards says:

    The EV report says Tesla sold 10400 cars YTD. Did they sell 15000 overseas? Are all EV numbers just for the USA?

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Assuming you mean our EV monthly sales report card (link), then yes…that tally is for US-specific only.

      More recently, US sales have been about ~45%-50%ish of Tesla’s global numbers, but the Model X roll-out out internationally (especially beginning in RHD in Q1) seems to have altered the splits by a few percentage points in our estimation this quarter (~41% in Q1 2017)

  11. SS says:

    Hey Jay,
    I track your monthly sales data in a spreadsheet — can I post it here?

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Post it here, as in this thread? The Tesla numbers? Sorry I don’t really understand. If its unique data I don’t see why not.

      I mean if our plug-in scorecard exactly…well then, we have the monthly plug-in scorecard page with all the data on display, (=

  12. Thomas says:

    Unbelievable how blind people can be. In Q4 2016 Tesla sold 24882 cars. Why should 25000 in Q1 2017 be so great? Quite a poor raising.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      In the EV business, selling a car in Q1 is not like selling a car in Q4.

      To say nothing of the season itself, the tax year eligibility for the $7,500 credit plays huge, especially in the case of Tesla, of whom has the highest ratio of cars bought, to cars leased.

      Overall US plug-in vehicle sales:

      Q4 2016: 49,029
      Q1 2017: 40,729 -17%

      (will note that Q1 is still 46% higher than Q1 2016 though)