Tesla has now sold 250,000 electric cars, more than GM (but fewer than Nissan)


2017 Tesla Model 3

2017 Tesla Model 3

Enlarge Photo

Electric-car maker Tesla posted its best quarterly sales results in company history after it closed out the third quarter with 26,150 units sold.

Despite the figure's cause for celebration, the figure may be interpreted as a downside by some since the third quarter's sales in 2017 just inched past Q3 2016 with a 4.5 percent increase.

With the Q3 results, Tesla has now sold nearly 257,000 electric cars, surpassing General Motors, but still trailing Nissan.

DON'T MISS: 2017 Tesla Model 3 prices, features, details, specifications from Handover Party

It's clear the Tesla Model S is nearing its sales potential, and the company admitted production bottlenecks have slowed Model 3 production.

Tesla's Q3 figure should be higher after the Tesla Model 3 officially entered production in late July of this year.

But, the company built just 260 cars as Q3 closed out—a figure well shy of CEO Elon Musk's estimated 1,630 units, according to an InsideEVs report.

2017 Tesla Model S

2017 Tesla Model S

Enlarge Photo

Still, Tesla is confident Model 3 production will ramp up significantly through Q4 and it aims to produce 5,000 units weekly by December 2017.

Until then, the Silicon Valley-based automaker said it has identified production bottlenecks and it will address them.

The various issues, which the automaker did not describe in detail, may be part of Musk's self-described "production hell," which he said would likely last for six months.

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Musk said additional Model 3 options and a performance variant will arrive after the half-year mark.

Tesla continues to rely on the United States as its largest market with 55 percent of its total sales in the country.

Of the 257,000 vehicles sold, roughly 144,664 were sold in the U.S., according to Tesla registration data; the automaker does not release quarterly deliveries by country.

2017 Tesla Model S

2017 Tesla Model S

Enlarge Photo

The U.S. sales figure is important since federal tax credits for electric vehicles expire per automaker after the 200,000th unit is delivered.

If Tesla's production timeline pans out as described, Tesla's 200,000th car might be delivered in Q1 of 2018.

From there, tax credit figures will drop to $3,750 three to six months after the 200,000th car's delivery date.

CHECK OUT: Tesla Q3-2017 deliveries: Model S, Model X strong; Model 3 misses goal

What potential havoc they could wreak on early Model 3 buyers awaiting their delivery remains to be seen.

The Model 3 starts at $35,000 before any tax credits or incentives are applied, while the better-equipped Long Range Model 3 variant starts at $59,500.

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