Tesla made its first full-year profit as its production continued to ramp up despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

In its fourth quarter earnings update for 2020, Tesla announced a net income of US$721 million from a total of US$31 billion revenue.

“This past year was transformative for Tesla,” the company said in a statement.

“Despite unforeseen global challenges, we outpaced many trends seen elsewhere in the industry as we significantly increased volumes, profitability and cash generation”.

Tesla’s thin yearly profit was helped by a US$401 million in sales of emissions credits in the fourth quarter.

Tesla was just shy of its delivery target of 500,000 cars, delivering 499,647 by the year’s end but it is continuing to scale-up production to meet capacity of its existing factories in California and Shanghai.

Between those two factories, Tesla said it could produce one million cars a year and it is currently constructing new factories in Berlin and the home of Cybertruck production in Texas.

In an online earnings call, Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk said he was excited about the company’s production expansion.

“The fundamental efficiency of the company will be much better having factories on each continent and having two factories in the US,” he said.

“So I’m super excited about the future and looking forward to making it happen.”

Musk become the world’s richest person earlier this month off the back of a ballooning Tesla share price that rose an unbelievable 760 per cent in 2020.

The company looked to be in the doldrums in mid-2019 as analysts turned bearish on Tesla over its slow production, high spend rate, and safety concerns.

While the final 2020 quarter earnings pointed to a profitable future Tesla shares took a hit dropping two per cent during trading on Wednesday and a further five per cent after hours.