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When it comes to automakers, Tesla is one of the newest kids on the block, but it’s steadily growing to become a major automaker. While Tesla doesn’t have that many models available, it does have a few popular ones, such as the Model 3 or the Model S. That being said, in Q1 2021, Tesla didn’t even need the Model S to be successful.

A look at how Tesla did in Q1 2021

Blue Tesla Model S in the exhibition hall of the newly opened Tesla experience center. Shanghai, China
The Tesla Model S | Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

In short, Tesla did quite well in the first quarter of the year, and obviously, Tesla did much better than it did compared to 2020. Teslarati said that in the first three months of 2021, Tesla delivered about 184,000 cars, and that’s roughly 100,000 more cars than it delivered compared to the first three months of 2020.

With that being said, the bulk of those deliveries were from the Model 3 and the Model Y. In fact, according to InsideEVs, Tesla only delivered about 2,000 units combined of either the Model X or the Model S. This means that the Model X and the Model S only accounted for about 1 percent of Tesla’s deliveries so far in 2021.

This makes a lot of sense, and like InsideEVs wrote, it’s pretty much exactly what Elon Musk expected.

Why Tesla didn’t need the Tesla Model S to be successful 

Like Teslarati wrote, Musk once called the Model S and the Model X “niche products.” This is largely because of their price tags, which are, at least compared to the Model 3, pretty expensive.

The Model S, for example, starts at about $70,000, while the Model X starts at about $80,000. Instead, Musk saw the more affordable cars in Tesla’s lineup as the pathway for Tesla’s future success. 

After all, both of the Model 3 and the Model Y start at about $40,000. While $40,000 isn’t cheap, it does make the Model 3 and the Model Y more accessible for more people. As such, it’s no surprise that the two cars have been selling so well this year.

However, the biggest reason why the Tesla Model S and the Model X dropped in sales is simple. Like InsideEVs wrote, Tesla halted the production lines for both cars, as those lines are being retooled in preparation for the production of the refreshed versions of those two cars. The 2,000 or so deliveries that Tesla did for both cars came out of inventory rather than any new production, according to InsideEVs.

The Tesla Model S refresh can do wonders, though

While Tesla may not have needed the Tesla Model S to be successful in 2021, the Model S isn’t going anywhere. In fact, Musk believes that there is a high demand for the refreshed versions of the Model S and the Model X, according to InsideEVs. If true, then this can mean that when those refreshed models launch, they will contribute to a significant amount of sales for Tesla.

One of the more significant changes that Tesla is making for this refresh is in terms of the trims. Instead of the Performance trim, customers will now have the option of getting the Plaid trim. This trim will cost well over six figures, but it’ll significantly increase the car’s performance and specs. 

With the Plaid trim, the Model S’s three electric motors can propel it from 0 to 60 MPH in less than 2.0 seconds. Not only is it fast, however, but it’ll also have some great range, as the Plaid trim should get about 390 miles of range. Furthermore, the Model S has exclusive access to the Plaid+ trim. That trim will make the Model S even faster, and it’ll bump up its range to about 500 miles.


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