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Elon Musk's claims about Tesla ring true after automaker passes major milestone: 'No other automaker approaches Tesla's numbers'

EVs have become increasingly popular in recent years.

EVs have become increasingly popular in recent years

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Tesla has announced via its official account on X, formerly known as Twitter, that it has produced its 5 millionth car.

If that claim is true, it represents a massive increase in the number of electric vehicles that the company has been able to produce in a relatively brief amount of time. According to InsideEVs, the automaker announced that it had produced its millionth car in March 2020 — 12 years into the company's existence — meaning that 80% of its total output has been in the past 3.5 years.

According to calculations from Green Car Reports, if Tesla sales continue to rise as the company projects, they will account for one in every seven EVs sold worldwide next year.

This is the type of exponential growth that controversial Tesla CEO Elon Musk has long predicted, and it appears that, in this case, his prediction wasn't overblown. 

That said, it's not as though Musk and Tesla have a perfect record for their statements aging well. Tesla is currently under investigation for allegedly lying about the battery ranges of its vehicles, and Tesla's Solar Roof program has seriously underperformed against company projections. 

In 2019, Musk aimed for 1,000 solar roofs per week, but as of March 2023, Tesla had installed only 3,000 total, according to Wood Mackenzie analysts.

Still, it is true that the company has grown more or less exponentially and that its EV cars have become increasingly popular in recent years — and that is a good thing for the environment. 

EVs, on average, are much more friendly to our planet than traditional gas-powered cars, which produce about 10,000 pounds of carbon pollution per year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. On top of that, a Consumer Reports study in 2020 said EV drivers spend about 60% less annually on fuel than drivers of comparable internal combustion engine vehicles.

Tesla's overall sales figures indicate there is a growing market for EVs, even if the company has no close competitors in the fully electric car market.

"No other automaker approaches Tesla's numbers based on EVs alone," Green Car Reports' Bengt Halvorson wrote, going on to name BYD of China as the closest globally. BYD recently announced it had reached 5 million cumulative "new energy vehicle" sales, which includes plug-in hybrids, Halvorson reported.

For comparison, Halvorson pointed out that it took Nissan 12 years in the EV business before it was recently able to say it surpassed 1 million EV sales globally.

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