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Tesla Ramps Up Its Truck Initiatives

Tesla recently posted three new job listings calling for workers for the “Semi-Truck production lines”, suggesting that the project is finally underway.

It looks like Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) wants to move ahead with its postponed plans for an electric Semi truck after three recent job postings emerged. The listings call for employees to work on “Semi-Truck production lines” at its Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada where Tesla already makes batteries for its vehicles in a partnership deal with Panasonic.

Tesla’s Semi truck woes

Tesla is behind on its plans for the Semi truck, having first revealed the initiative back in 2017, declaring that it would deliver the trucks within two years. Back then, Tesla said it planned to sell a 300-mile range edition of the Semi for around $150,000, and a 500-mile range for $180,000. Tesla also confirmed that both trucks would go from 0-60 miles per hour in five seconds without cargo, or 0-60 in 20 seconds with an 80,000 carrying cargo.

In 2019, Tesla took reservations for the Semi truck from the likes of Anheuser-Busch, DHL Group, PepsiCo, Pride Group, and Walmart. However, shortly after taking these orders, Tesla announced Semi production delays during a third-quarter earnings call in 2019 and then again in April 2020. In June 2020, Musk sent an email to all his employees stating the need for ‘volume production’ of the Semi truck. 

However, during the company’s third-quarter 2020 financial report, the Semi initiative was discussed only very briefly. Tesla said the truck was in the development stage and noted U.S. locations for Semi production were still to be decided upon. 

In an interview with the European Conference on Batteries, Musk boasted that Tesla was looking to make a Semi that could travel even longer distances than originally proposed: 

“You could take the range, for long-range trucking, easily up to 800 kilometers and we see a path over time to get to 1,000 kilometer range with a heavy duty truck.”

Tesla has strong competition in the electric truck market. Daimler is already in small-scale production of an electric truck with its heavy-duty eCascadia model. Lion Electric is also planning a SPAC, a brand new factory to build the trucks in the U.S., and has signed a deal with Amazon to deliver 2,500 battery-powered trucks over the coming five years. 

When will production start for the Semi truck?

Musk has promised to start production of the Semi truck this year, but Tesla has still not confirmed the exact timeline. Even with the long delays, interest in the new model has not been dampened. For example, big-name clients like Walmart have been shown their enthusiasm for the electric truck by placing reservations. Tesla’s president of automotive, Jerome Guillen, announced that Tesla “promised some early units to some long-term, very patient, and supportive customers.” 

The current status of the electric Semi truck will likely come up during Tesla’s earnings call this week as shareholders will be eager to hear about the latest developments in producing yet another highly profitable model. 

Tesla is set to report earnings on Wednesday, January 27 at 5:00 PM Eastern Time. Listen to Tesla’s earnings call here.

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