Tesla Production Projected to be 100,000 Units in 2016; Possibly 800,000 by 2020?


Over on Forbes, there’s a long-winded, drawn-out thought piece on Tesla Motors’ stock valuation and $20-billion market cap.  It’s definitely worth a read (link posted below).

Tesla Motors Expected to Crank Up Production in a Big Way

Tesla Motors Expected to Crank Up Production in a Big Way

Within that Forbes article is a nugget of information we thought worth sharing here.

First, Tesla Motors says it’ll produce 21,000 Model S sedans this year.  We think this is a modest figure that Tesla will easily surpass.

Second, Tesla says production will hit 40,000 units in 2014 (mostly Model S, but some Model X crossovers will likely enter the mix near the end of the year).  Is 40,000 doable in 2014?  We think so.

Finally, Forbes speculates that Tesla’s production will rise to 100,000 units in 2016 (Model S, Model X and some Gen IIIs).  This mark seems within reach, but we’re not so sure Gen III will arrive in 2016.

Looking further into the future, Forbes says Tesla will need to produce 200,000 Model S and Model X vehicles and 600,000 Gen IIIs in 2020 to maintain its stock position and to support its market cap of $20.7 billion.  800,000 units in a single year?  Is that even possible?

Tesla has a long way to go to get there, with production hovering just below 600 units per week right now (~ 31,200 per year), but we sure hope Tesla pulls it off.

Source: Forbes

Categories: Tesla


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28 Comments on "Tesla Production Projected to be 100,000 Units in 2016; Possibly 800,000 by 2020?"

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will easily pull it off Elon is the leader Elon is the best

Nate B

Just 100k cars split between 3 models for 2016 — my hunch is Gen III availability will be slim to nothing until the end of 2016, at the earliest. That is especially the case if this is only 100k cars for US, Europe and wherever else they want to expand too.

I just leased a Volt for 39 months. The best Leaf lease quotes were 2 year. Besides liking the Volt > Leaf, I think I will have better options to choose from coming off a 39 month lease vs. 24. Possibly Gen III Tesla vs. Gen II from GM, Nissan Mitsu and whoever else. Yeah, glad I went 39 month.

Ocean Railroader

If I where a gas station or OPEC right now I would be very worried in that if 800,000 cars went gas free that would be like taking a major oil refinery off line.


One refinery produces more gasoline than is used by 800K cars.

Some cool graphs, and data:

Ocean Railroader

This is good information it should at least have a major impact on ethanol demand which will have a major refection on corn and food prices across the board. In that if they do build this many cars in five years or this many cars a year it alone will be reshaping the US’s oil and Ethanol demands along with global food demands for corn along with the politics in the Middle East.


We burn a lot of gas. 1 million evs to the fleet of refineries is like .5% lower demand. Dont forget, about 90,000 new pickup trucks are sold per month. Long haul trucks? Diesel is a lot of fuel used to stock up the junk at walmart we buy. If everyone shopped a few times less per year, it would equate to tens of thousands of cars off the road. We have way too much time spent driving around to hobbies, past times, sporting events, concerts and so on.


You are exactly right. If just 1percent more people took a bike to work, that would have much more effect on gas usage than a million EVs. But we don’t want to change our lifestyles. So a 300 mile EV that charges in 20 minutes and fits 7 and costs 70K is what people want. And we want it now. And make it red please.

GM said: – in early 2011, GM said that “in 2012 we predict we will be selling 60K Volts, 45K in the US and 15K elsewhere.” This simply did not pan out and even with a recent hefty price reduction and further dealer cash selling 2012s and 2013’s, a US sales quantity of August at 3351 was nice but cannot be relied upon as an annualized rate. So, they are only about 1/2 way to the prediction made when the Volt came out. And Volt can be had out of pocket for $22-25K. Predictions are as good as the beach-sand you write them on. Of course, financial magazines and stock analysts who sit on long positions will talk about a very-rosey future to support their position until they hit the maximum valuation at which time they sell and move on to the next hot stock to talk about. I have read that a recent factory tour by a Model-S owner included a discussion with a Tesla employee who said that “it looks like” Model-X will not start producing until early 2015 for signature models and later 2015 for general sales. The discussion about 40K for 2014 is an annualized rate… Read more »
Ryan Turner

Bonaire: I don’t think GM had a clue there would be so much competition in this market. It isn’t surprising they missed their sales figures.

David Murray

That’s probably part of it. But I was actually mad when GM initially announced they’d build 45,000 per year because I thought demand would be higher than that. I guess I’d been drinking too much kool-aid. I just couldn’t understand why EVERYBODY wouldn’t want a plug-in car. I thought it was a no-brainer. But i hasn’t worked out that way.

Ocean Railroader

There starting prices of $40,000 drove a lot of buyers away and opened the door for tons of cheap shots at their car. The Chevy Volt is a staple of talk shows and news programs making fun of failed government energy programs and how they would only benefit the rich. I personally think what is going on right now is GM and the Volt are slowly getting rid of this stigma with the price cut and sales are slowly going up do to the stigma breaking up.


I agree. I think it’s all about that initial price. GM announced they’d build 45,000 cars already, but they also said they’d sell them at $30,000 before incentives. They haven’t hit either target yet.


I wouldn’t call $30k a target. It was the musings of Lutz before the car was even in testing. They found out that a LOT of custom pieces were needed that Lutz did not count on.

The 45k cars thing was a projection of the plant’s capacity, not a true sales projection.


It was a sales prediction in 2010. We can find old threads on gm-volt that refer to GM saying 45k in usa and 15k rest of world per year by 2012-2013.


Heck, all the way back in 2008 (before the economic crash, when Republicans and Democrats both backed the Volt) GM was saying 10,000 Volts in the first year, and 60,000 Volts in the second year. (For the math, that is the same as the 45K + 15K for the rest of the world)

The history is that before the economy crashed, GM started the whole 60k/45K numbers talk. If the economy hadn’t crashed, and had gas prices continue going up the way they were from 2003 until the economy crashed in 2008, those estimates probably would have been accurate.

GM hoped for a fast recovery by 2011, so then never adjusted that number between 2008 and 2011.

Now people act all surprised that an estimate didn’t come true that GM came up with when gas was 5 bucks a gallon in California, and when the economy was blown up in a housing bubble. Like GM had any control of the economy crashing, or the price of gas, or how fast the ecomony recovered.



What is hilarious is the 2014 and 2011 are about the same car in the Volt design. We still hear of people on Volts being run off the road by rednecks in pickup trucks. Fox news did some huge damage to the ev industry and volts in their slander.

Ocean Railroader

I’m worried about this big guy coming over to knock apart the Tesla Beehive http://oceanrailroader.deviantart.com/art/Can-Tesla-Keep-Out-the-Bear-397660466 In that he has a taste for Tesla’s high valued stock price.


I think it is WAY to early to do this kind of hockey-stick sales projection. IF Tesla starts rolling stock out the door for their next model any time soon (probably not in volume until 2016 at the earliest), then some more conservative projections can occur.

If/when Tesla hits 3/4million units (800k), they are a real take-over target.


The hockey stick may be more of a hockey puck in the numbers. I suspect 21500 sales this year and maybe 25000 next and 28000 in 2015 when model X is introduced. They will then hunt for a factory in Asia or Mexico to build Model E and then it will be an import or “world” car.


Yeah, yeah… By the way, what is that sound? Is someone pumping Tesla’s wheels or stock? Because right now the stock is looking like a big bubble. Some people will sure get very reach soon. But then, some will lose a lot of money…

Rick Danger

I think Tesla is well capable of hitting those numbers. Not sure if they’ll hit them by 2020 though, it might take another year or two or three.

I think we’ll be lucky if the Signature Gen III sedans make it off the line by the end of 2016. I don’t think they’ll have any trouble selling 200,000 of them a year once they get ramped up, and then they also plan a CUV, Roadster, and maybe other variants off of the Gen II platform.

Tesla still has 80% of their factory unused. They have lots of room to grow, and more importantly, they won’t have to move to a bigger structure to do it.


Without $10/gal gas, will be hard to hit those numbers.

Rick Danger

Watch and see.


Here’s a question, I hope worth considering…

What is the saturation point for the S? At some point, everyone who wants one, and can afford it, will have one. Sure, the ones lost to damage ans wear will probably be replaced. But at some point, individual sales will peak and then roll off. This is why other manufacturers discontinue a model after a period of years. Hard to believe as it may seem, some day, the design of the S will not be “Fresh”. I hope by that day, sales of the X and the III will be well under way and the 4 will be introduced, and 5 will be in beta.

Yes, I am thinking 15 years away, bus someone has to.


Tesla has talked about a Model S refresh around the same time as the GEN III release. There is also an AWD varient that is in the works. Talks of other body style variants couuld also happen one day.

The Model S doesn’t face anything different than what the 7-Series or the A8’s have faced. Tesla will evolve the Model S the same as any automotive company


Why can’t Tesla turn the S into the Model E(III) price wise?

How is the third model going to be SO DIFFERENT as to be half price? Cheap cars have small margins.


Tesla has said that they expect the profit margin will be lower on the GEN III


The author of the original Forbes piece makes the same mistake that many analysts make when comparing Tesla to other companies. He compares Tesla profits per unit to BMW, Ford, GM, and Toyota. But he fails to calculate in the profits that all the dealerships are making on those same number of units. But Tesla captures both the profits from the manufacturing, and the profits that the dealerships would capture on the same number of units.

So all of his math that is based on profit per unit is all bogus when compared with any other car company. I don’t know why supposedly smart financial writers keep making that same mistake again and again when trying to compare Tesla to other car companies.