While Tesla's (NASDAQ: TSLA) vehicle production and Model 3 deliveries are only just now catching up to where they were supposed to be six months ago, this doesn't mean the electric-car company isn't growing rapidly. On the contrary, the Model 3 pushed Tesla's vehicle deliveries to a record high in the company's second quarter.
To fully appreciate the staggering growth Tesla is seeing, here are two charts to put the fast-growing customer adoption of its electric vehicles into perspective.
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Model 3 deliveries are soaring
The most obvious trend in Tesla's vehicle deliveries recently is the company's steep rise in Model 3 deliveries. Slated to be the electric-car company's highest-volume vehicle yet, Model 3 quarterly production has already surpassed combined Model S and X production, and Model 3 deliveries are quickly catching up to combined Model S and X deliveries.
Tesla produced 53,339 vehicles in its second quarter. Of these vehicles, 28,578 units were Model 3, and 24,761 units were Model S and X combined. This led to 18,440 Model 3 deliveries -- not far beyond the 22,300 Model S and X deliveries during the quarter. Keep in mind this is less than a year since the first Model 3 deliveries took place.
A chart showing Tesla's vehicle deliveries by model drives home how important the Model 3 is to the company's growth story. Not only were Tesla's 18,440 Model 3 deliveries significantly higher than the 8,182 units the automaker delivered in Q1, but they were higher than Model S or Model X deliveries in any quarter yet.
Tesla's growth is reaccelerating
One of Tesla's most notable achievements is how it has sustained such extraordinary levels of growth. Between when Tesla launched its Model S in 2012 and the first half of last year, trailing-12-month deliveries have consistently risen at year-over-year rates of 40% or higher.
This growth decelerated recently as Tesla's Model 3 production ramp-up fell about six months behind, but growth in trailing-12-month deliveries saw a reacceleration in Q2, rising from 25% to 35% growth.
Further, even if deliveries failed to increase in Q3 and only remained at Q2 levels, Tesla's trailing-12-month year-over-year growth rate would further accelerate to nearly 50%. Of course, this is an overly conservative forecast for Tesla's deliveries next quarter since the automaker exited the quarter building 7,000 vehicles per week (compared to beginning the quarter building about 4,000 units per week). In addition, management said it expects to achieve a production rate of 6,000 Model 3 vehicles per week by late August -- an achievement that would likely bring Tesla's total vehicle production rate to about 8,000 units per week later in Q3.
In other words, Tesla's trailing-12-month year-over-year growth in vehicle deliveries will almost certainly accelerate sharply in the second half of the year.
Investors will want to keep a close eye on Tesla's delivery trends, as the automaker needs to deliver vehicles in higher volumes to achieve meaningful enough economies of scale to become profitable. But by the looks of the rapid growth Tesla demonstrated in Q2, the company may be on the verge of achieving this scale. Indeed, management believes it will be profitable in both its third and fourth quarters of 2018.
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