San Francisco — Tesla has posted a surge in electric-car deliveries that could prove pivotal to earning an elusive profit, overcoming a series of distracting missteps by CEO Elon Musk. The company handed over 83,500 vehicles in the third quarter, doubling its total in the prior three months. Of those deliveries, 55,840 were Model 3 sedans, in the range of Tesla’s forecast as it finally started to mass-manufacture the sedan. Shares were little changed in pre-market trading. The results could prove to be a watershed moment for Musk, who jeopardised his future with Tesla by prematurely claiming he had the funding and investor support to take the car maker private. He settled fraud charges brought by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last week by agreeing to pay $20m and step down as chair. The agency initially sought to bar him from serving as an officer or director, a pursuit that would have overshadowed the progress the company has made in manufacturing more vehicles. T...

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