New York — Back when Tesla delivered 95,000 cars to customers during the spring quarter of 2019, the stock price was languishing at about $235 and Elon Musk’s electric car company was valued at “only” $40bn. Fast forward a year and the shares are now priced at more than $1,200. With a market capitalisation of $224bn, Tesla has surpassed Toyota as the world’s most valuable carmaker.

Yet in the second quarter of 2020, Tesla delivered 91,000 vehicles — about 5% fewer than the same period last year. That’s pretty underwhelming for a company whose fans view it as a fast-growing technology company in the mould of Amazon.com, rather than a sluggish metal-bashing carmaker...

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