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Once upon a time, Elon Musk wondered whether Tesla could make both cars and money at the same time. Back then, it wasn’t doing a very good job at either, so being able to do at least one seemed like a noble goal, albeit not necessarily for a car company, which theoretically exists to make money by making cars.

It has since become clear that Tesla can indeed make both cars and money. It’s just that the two things aren’t at all related.

Net income reached $438 million, a quarterly record for the company. What’s more, Tesla said it expects to increase vehicle deliveries by more than 50% this year from the 2020 total…. Tesla didn’t exactly earn its record profit from selling cars, however. The company said that it sold some of the $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin that it purchased in February, contributing $101 million to the bottom line. That is nearly a fourth of its total profit.

What is more, sales of regulatory credits to other auto makers to help them meet emissions mandates, which carry a 100% profit margin, reached $518 million. That accounts for nearly 100% of Tesla’s $533 million in pretax income. Those two helping hands helped avert red ink.

Another company in the autonomous-vehicle space has also found a novel way to make money therein by not making the thing it’s supposed to be making, and that is by selling the unit not making money by not making the thing.

Lyft Inc. is selling its self-driving division to a unit of Toyota Motor Corp. $550 million, a move the ride-hailing giant said will help it turn a profit sooner than previously expected…. Lyft said the sale would help it save $100 million in operating expenses…. A Lyft executive said the industry was becoming realistic: letting car makers develop the underlying technology, while tech companies help connect them to riders.

Tesla posts record net income of $438 million, revenue surges by 74% [CNBC]
Tesla Makes More Money Trading Bitcoin Than Selling Cars [WSJ]
Lyft Agrees to Sell Autonomous-Driving Unit to Toyota for $550 Million [WSJ]


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