After a record-breaking 2021 with a production of more than 930,000 vehicles and deliveries exceeding 936,000, Tesla has even bigger ambitions for 2022.
That's not surprising given the huge demand for its models and the fact that Tesla has opened two brand-new vehicle assembly plans this spring: Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg in Germany and Gigafactory Texas in Austin, Texas.
During the Q1 2022 earnings call on 20 April, Tesla chief financial officer Zach Kirkhorn said the automaker still believes it can achieve production growth of 50% or higher by the end of this year. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who was also on the call, backed Kirkhorn's estimates in his opening remarks.
"So, as Zach said, we remain confident of a 50% growth in vehicle production in 2022 versus '21. I think we actually have a reasonable shot at a 60% increase over last year."
A 50% production increase would equate to an output of 1.4 million vehicles for the 2022 calendar year, with a 60% growth translating into almost 1.5 million vehicles.
That would be an impressive result given that Tesla's Shanghai factory has been closed for almost a month due to COVID-19 restrictions, while the Berlin and Austin plants are just starting to ramp production.
Gallery: Tesla Giga Berlin (Tesla Gigafactory 4)
"Obviously, we ramped production, as people know, with Giga Berlin and Giga Texas in the past few months. So, with two fantastic factories with great teams and they are ramping rapidly. Now, with new factories, the initial ramp always looks small, but it grows exponentially. So I have very high confidence in the teams of both factories. And we expect to ramp those initially slowly, but like I said, growing exponentially with them achieving high volume by the end of this year."
Musk noted that it usually takes 9 to 12 months for a new factory to reach volume production at the required standards from the start of manufacturing. That means the Berlin and Austin plants will start to count more in the total production numbers towards Q3 or Q4 2022.
Tesla executives noted that Fremont Factory and Gigafactory Shanghai would make a significant contribution to production numbers, despite the long production pause at the Chinese plant.
Zach Kirkhorn said the Shanghai facility is up and running again, although at a limited level, with Tesla China working hard to return to full production quickly. Musk admitted that Tesla and its suppliers lost many important days of production but added that "Giga Shanghai is coming back with a vengeance."
Actually, the CEO forecasts that the Chinese plant will likely produce the same number of vehicles in the second quarter as in Q1 2022, with "substantially higher" production expected in Q3 and Q4.
You can find the full Tesla Q1 2022 Financial Results and Q&A Webcast at the top of this page.