Tesla has posted first quarter profits of $438m (£315m) bolstered by sales of Bitcoin and environmental credits.
Revenues also increased by 74% compared to the first quarter in 2020, despite production hurdles.
However, profits were also dented by a $299m payment to the electric carmaker’s chief executive Elon Musk.
Mr Musk claimed Tesla’s Model 3, its midsize sedan, was the “best-selling luxury sedan of any kind in the world” for the quarter.
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He also predicted the company’s midsize sport utility Model Y would become the best-selling car or truck of any kind in the coming years.
“We’ve seen a real shift in customer perception of electric vehicles, and our demand is the best we’ve ever seen,”
Mr Musk told an investor call.
The company said the Model Y has so far received a strong reception from consumers in China, where Tesla began manufacturing last year.
China is possibly the world’s most competitive market for electric vehicles, with hundreds of manufacturers vying for a slice of the growing market.
Bitcoin and environmental credits
However, not all of the company’s revenues came from selling cars.
The company bought $1.5bn in Bitcoin during the first quarter, but trimmed its position by 10%, which contributed $101m to its revenues.
Tesla recently made it possible for customers to purchase the cars in Bitcoin, allowing it to accumulate more of the cryptocurrency.
“It is our intent to hold what we have long term and continue to accumulate Bitcoin from transactions from our customers as they purchase vehicles,”
the company’s chief financial officer Zachary Kirkhorn told investors.
Tesla also earns credits for exceeding emissions and fuel economy standards and then selling them to other automakers that fall short so they can avoid penalties.
The company earned $518m from sales of those credits in the first quarter, an increase of 46% over the same quarter in 2020.
Like many automakers dealing with a global shortage of microchips, Tesla encountered supply chain problems over the past three months, which Mr Musk described as the most difficult the company has ever faced.
Nevertheless, Tesla said it delivered roughly half a million cars in 2020, and 185,000 in the January-to-March period.
Tesla expects its deliveries to increase by 50% annually, and is ramping up production at its existing facilities in California and Shanghai while it builds its new factories in Berlin and Texas.
Tesla is the world’s most valuable car company, with its share price pushed higher by investors betting on strong growth in electric vehicles in the coming years.
However, the company makes far fewer cars than companies such as Toyota and Volkswagen, which each sold more than nine million cars last year.