Tesla posts largest-ever quarterly profit on record deliveries

Kirkhorn and other executives on Wednesday vowed to continue cooperating with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as the regulator examines the company’s Autopilot driver assist system.

“Safety is extremely important for Tesla,” Kirkhorn said. “It’s the right thing to do.”

Lars Moravy, vice  president  of vehicle engineering, noted the automaker was cooperating with the agency and will continue to provide information it requests on additional topics.

“We’ll work through them one by one to make sure all the facts come out and that NHTSA is well-informed on what our strategy is for active safety and passive safety,” Moravy said.

On Tuesday, Musk criticized Missy Cummings, a Duke University engineering and computer science professor, who was named by NHTSA as a new senior advisor for safety. “Objectively, her track record is extremely biased against Tesla,” Musk said on Twitter.

NHTSA in August opened a formal safety probe into Tesla’s Autopilot system in 765,000 U.S. vehicles after a series of crashes involving Tesla models and emergency vehicles.

Kirkhorn said the automaker’s “safety score” system, which grades a customer’s driving performance and has been used to roll out its “Full Self Driving” driver-assist system to some beta-testers, is active on roughly 150,000 vehicles. He said the probability of a collision for those using the safety score system is roughly 30 percent lower than those who don’t.

Kirkhorn said the company remained on track to achieve a goal of 50 percent year-over-year volume growth, although fourth-quarter production could be hampered by a number of factors, including the ongoing chip shortage or supply chain issues at ports around the U.S.

He said Tesla planned to begin production at assembly plants in Texas and Germany before the end of the year, although the EV maker will not deliver vehicles from those factories until 2022. The company had previously said the Cybertruck, which will be built in Texas, would be out in late 2021 but has delayed those plans.

Kirkhorn said Wednesday it would provide updates on changes to the pickup next year.

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