Tesla CEO Says ‘Cell-Constrained’ Electric Semi Won’t Hit Market This Year
Palo Alto, CA – Those hoping to see the long-awaited electric big rig dubbed “Tesla Semi” hit the market this year received some bad news late last week.
According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, production on the Tesla Semi is not expected to ramp up until “next year.”
In a Tweet questioning the expected rollout of the Semi and what year “follow-the-leader driverless platooning” will begin, Musk responded, “We are too cell-constrained right now, but probably ok next year.”
How’s Semi coming along, Elon?
What year do you think we’ll see follow-the-leader driverless platooning? pic.twitter.com/bE1oPMcQra
— James Stephenson (@ICannot_Enough) March 27, 2021
During an earnings call in January of this year Musk indicated production on the truck was being delayed to later this year due to trouble producing enough battery cells to power it.
“The main reason we have not accelerated new products – like for example Tesla Semi – is that we simply don’t have enough cells for it,” Musk said. “If we were to make the Semi right now, and we could easily go into production with the Semi right now, but we would not have enough cells for it.”
The company intended to address the issue later this year when it expected to go into production on its new 4680 battery pack.
The 4680 is a custom cell design that the company says will allow for greater energy density and range.
Musk explained that until the 4680 is ready, the commercial viability of the Tesla Semi is not feasible.
“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 kind of would not make sense for us to do the Semi right now,” Musk commented. “But it will absolutely make sense for us to do it as soon as we can address the cell production constraint.”
Earlier this month, Tesla gave the public yet another glimpse of its prized Semi, this time on a test track.
In a 17-second clip, the electric truck cruises past the camera and proceeds to continue making its way around the track.
Semi on the track pic.twitter.com/0QCTYGbLJv
— Tesla (@Tesla) March 14, 2021
Many surmised the teaser video was an attempt to reassure customers the Semi was “on track” for commercial availability later this year, but apparently that was not the case.
The Semi first made its public debut in 2017 and has already received orders for its electric big rig from major transportation giants such as UPS and Walmart.