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Tesla smashes first-quarter 2021 earnings expectations

What a difference a year makes.

Tesla smashes first-quarter 2021 earnings expectations
[Photo: Dylan Calluy/Unsplash]
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Tesla’s been on a tear, and its first earnings report of 2021 reflects it.

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Both revenue and earnings per share exceeded analysts’ expectations, according to estimates cited by CNBC. The actual revenue was $10.39 billion as compared to the expected $10.29 billion. Earnings jumped ahead of expectations by 14 cents to land at 93 cents per share.

And what a difference a year makes. At this time in 2020, the pandemic had shuttered Tesla’s plant in California and put a dent in sales. Earnings reflected the crisis and were at just 2 cents per share, according to a New York Times report.

The company is now coming off a period of aggressive growth. It said it delivered nearly 185,000 vehicles since January, which is more than double what it delivered during the same time last year.

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Dan Ives, managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities, likened the situation to a “green tidal wave” in a report to investors. He was referring to the Biden administration’s focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and encouraging sales of electric vehicles, which can certainly help buoy and sustain sales of Tesla’s cars. “But they have to continue to make sure that they’re courting all their customers, even though the masses continue to be focused on Model 3, Y, and of course the drumroll to the Cybertruck,” Ives added.

That the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is actively investigating 23 crashes involving Tesla vehicles doesn’t seem to have made a dent in the company’s results. Three of those being investigated occurred recently, and the NHTSA’s efforts don’t yet include the fatal crash that killed two people in Texas just last weekend. The car’s autopilot feature may have been responsible for that crash.

About the author

Lydia Dishman is a reporter writing about the intersection of tech, leadership, and innovation. She is a regular contributor to Fast Company and has written for CBS Moneywatch, Fortune, The Guardian, Popular Science, and the New York Times, among others.

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