Tesla Inc. announced that the company’s electric Semi, the freight-hauling truck with an all-electric powertrain, has completed its pre-production engineering work, and would be ready to go to market later this year. CEO Elon Musk said that the production plan for the Semi has been held back by the limited ability to get battery cells.
Delayed by two years
The Semi, first unveiled in 2017, was promised to arrive in customer’s hands in 2019. This was later pushed to 2020 and then last year, Musk had revealed during a Q1 earnings call that the Semi would be delayed until 2021 due to battery-cell supply constraints.
The company said that the special battery cells needed for the Semi are in short supply. The Semi, which will have a range of up to 500 miles, would use about five times more battery cells than Tesla’s passenger cars.
Chief Executive Elon Musk said in a Wednesday earnings call. “Scaling production is very hard, so a big part of the reason — the main reason we have not accelerated new products is — like, for example, Tesla Semi — is that we simply don’t have enough cells for it.”
He added, “A Semi would use typically five times the number of cells that a car would use, but it would not sell for five times what a car would sell for, so it kinda would not make sense for us to do the Semi right now. But it will absolutely make sense for us to do it as soon as we can address the cell production constraint.”
Semi – a test of Tesla’s ability to scale
Musk had announced that Tesla is “extremely confident” about its ability to produce long-range trucks with batteries. Tesla ramping up production to meet that goal will be a test of the company’s ability to scale and to meet pledges to fleet owners – who are more focused on cost and performance when compared to a typical Tesla buyer.
* Image courtesy of Tesla