Tesla smashed Wall Street revenue and profit estimates in another record quarter on Wednesday, despite a tumultuous few months for CEO Elon Musk and ongoing supply chain issues.
The electric car maker reported revenue of $18.8 billion for the first quarter of 2022, up 81% from a year earlier. The report beat analysts’ expectations by $17.8 billion, sending Tesla shares up 4% in after-hours trading.
“The future is very exciting,” Musk said on a call with investors after the close. “I’ve never been more optimistic or excited about Tesla’s future than I am right now.”
Tesla acknowledged that the challenges, including a sharp rise in the prices of some of its raw materials coupled with supply chain issues, have “remained persistent.”
“Our own factories have been operating below capacity for several quarters as the supply chain has become the primary limiting factor, which is expected to continue through the end of 2022,” Tesla said in a statement.
These problems have been exacerbated by Covid-19 outbreaks, chip shortages and the crisis in Ukraine, which prompted Tesla to raise prices for its products in China, the United States and other countries.
Investors are watching closely how the Covid-induced shutdowns at the company’s “Gigafactory” in Shanghai, which it cited as one of its main hubs, will affect the rate of deliveries over the next quarter.
Musk said he expects deliveries to resume in the next quarter and Tesla to be able to produce 1.5 million vehicles in 2022. “We lost a lot of important production days, but Tesla in Shanghai is coming back with revenge,” the CEO said.
Wednesday’s report came as Musk took the market on a rollercoaster by revealing this month that he had quietly become a major Twitter shareholder and then offering to buy the company.
Musk is feared to sell Tesla stock or borrow against additional Tesla stock to fund his $43 bid to buy Twitter.
The results also come amid several legal challenges for the executive and his company. On Wednesday, Musk asked a federal judge to allow him to speak freely about a lawsuit accusing him of misleading Tesla shareholders, which was settled this week. The settlement included a gag order that Musk and his attorneys have called unconstitutional. Tesla also faces multiple discrimination lawsuits.
Investors will watch to see Musk’s outside interests, including his Twitter offering, affect the entrepreneur’s ability to run Tesla successfully, said Alyssa Altman, an analyst at consultancy Publicis Sapient.
“It’s critical that he continues to inspire the confidence that he has his hands on the wheel and is steering Tesla’s complex affairs in the right direction,” she said.
During Wednesday’s call, Musk also said he believes Tesla will achieve fully autonomous vehicles in 2022 — a promise he’s made in the past but the company has yet to deliver.
Musk also highlighted the company’s work on TeslaBot — a humanoid robot the company has developed to eventually work as a home assistant or perform basic factory tasks. Musk said he “firmly believes” the robot will “one day be worth more than Tesla’s automotive business.”