Tesla and Nio, the world’s two leading electric vehicle manufacturers, each set new sales records in 2020.

Tesla announced that it delivered 180,570 EVs in the fourth quarter of 2020. That beat their previous record, as well as Wall Street expectations. The electric automaker produced 179,757 vehicles total in 2019’s final quarter.

For 2020 as a whole, Tesla delivered 499,550 vehicles. They did, however, miss its most recent goal of 500,000 vehicles — but only by 450 units. At a shareholder meeting earlier in 2020, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he expected deliveries to hit an implied range between 477,750 and 514,500 cars for 2020, despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

Goal Of 20 Million Annual Sales

The fourth quarter numbers represent a new record for Tesla. It broke the previous record, which they had just set in the third quarter of 2020, with deliveries reaching 139,300. Tesla was able to increase vehicle production and deliveries by ramping up Model Y production, successfully operating a new plant in Shanghai, and bringing on new battery cell suppliers to make more of the high voltage battery packs that power their vehicles.

Musk has proclaimed that he wants to increase Tesla’s vehicle sales volume from 500,000 in 2020 to 20 million annually over the next decade. To achieve this, Tesla has plans for a new EV that costs $25,000, the Cybertruck, a larger electric Semi, and a new Roadster in development.

Nio Doubles Deliveries

At the same time, Chinese EV maker Nio reported that its 2020 sales more than doubled from 2019, with 43,728 vehicles. Deliveries have climbed steadily for five straight months, topping 7,000 units in December, Nio said in a statement. The Chinese manufacturer has revealed plans for its first electric sedan and recently announced they are expanding in Europe.

Chinese Government Support Fuels Sales

The strength in EV demand reflects the overall recovery in China’s economy and its auto market. In a national push to become a leader in EV technology, the Chinese government has aggressively supported the industry with subsidies and the building out of various charging infrastructures.

Sales of pure EVs in China rose 4.4% from January through November on an annual basis. Compare that to a 7.6% decline in overall passenger car sales during the same time, and you can see the obvious growth in the EV sector.

Nio’s stock was also one of the best-performing U.S.-listed Chinese companies in 2020, with its share price rising more than 1,100% by the end of 2020. Tesla’s stock also had a very impressive performance over 2020.


Devon is a writer, editor, and veteran of the online publishing world. He has a particular love for classic muscle cars.