Tesla grew its workforce by nearly 50% during its monumental 2020

Tesla Berlin Gigafactory.

  • Tesla grew its global workforce by well over 20,000 people last year.
  • The company now employs at least 70,000 people, a nearly 50% gain over the previous year.
  • Tesla is poised to add more workers in 2021 as it prepares to open factories in Texas and Germany.
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In 2020, Tesla drastically scaled up production, broke ground on new factories, and launched the Model Y — and it hired like crazy to do it.

As of December 31, Tesla counted 70,757 full-time employees around the world, documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission this week show. That figure is up more than 47% from the previous year when the electric-car maker employed 48,016 people.



Tesla has gone on a hiring frenzy as it has worked to meet aggressive production targets in recent years. In 2020, the carmaker sold just shy of 500,000 vehicles, its biggest sales year to date.

By the end of 2017, Tesla employed 37,543 people, more than double the 17,782 it had on payroll the previous year, regulatory filings show.

Much of Tesla’s growth has come from the Chinese market, where its revenue more than doubled last year to $6.6 billion. China is one of the most important markets for electric vehicles — accounting for roughly one-fifth of Tesla’s sales last year — and the carmaker supplies it through a factory outside Shanghai that opened in mid-2019.

The electric-vehicle maker’s global workforce is poised to grow substantially in 2021 as it prepares to open up a new plant near Berlin, Germany, which will eventually supply Europe with at least 500,000 vehicles annually, Tesla says. Tesla has been hiring aggressively for engineers and other personnel in Germany, ruffling some feathers in the auto industry there.



Tesla also plans to start production at a new facility in Austin, Texas this year, where it will build its Cybertruck pickup.

Legacy car companies, meanwhile, had to slash jobs in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic battered auto manufacturing. Ford reportedly sought to lay off roughly 1,000 workers in North America last year, while Daimler, Mercedes-Benz’s parent company, reportedly cut thousands of workers loose at an engine plant that it’s converting to produce EVs.

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