Tesla’s latest quarterly report says the company is postponing the first deliveries of its Semi electric truck until 2021. Fleet operators that pre-ordered the semi-trucks to help limit their supply chain emissions will have to wait a bit longer.
To date, Albertsons, Walmart, Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi, J.B. Hunt Transport, DHL, and UPS are among the companies that have made their orders for Tesla Semi trucks public.
Musk first unveiled prototypes for the all-electric truck in November 2017, promising acceleration from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 20 seconds, a range of 300 to 500 miles, and an estimated fuel savings of more than $200,000. In 2018, while testing prototypes, Musk said that the production version would likely have a range closer to 600 miles, Electrek reported.
However, the truck was behind schedule even before the latest announcement, according to Transport Dive. Originally the Tesla Semi was supposed to debut last year.
The 2020 Q1 report and an earnings call on April 29 did not offer a specific reason for the delay, but co-founder and CEO Elon Musk cited battery production capacity during an earnings call in late January.
“If you don’t improve battery production capacity, then you end up just shifting unit volume from one product to another and you haven’t actually produced more electric vehicles,” Musk said. “So that’s part of the reason why we have not, for example, really accelerated production of the Tesla Semi because it does use a lot of cells.”
Meanwhile, competition is heating up. In early March, Battery-electric and hydrogen fuel-cell electric heavy duty truck manufacturer Nikola Motor Company merged with publicly traded VectorIQ Acquisition Corporation. Nikola said that they already have more than 14,000 pre-orders representing $10 billion in potential revenue. Commercialization for the Nikola One truck is set for 2022, according to Ars Technica.
Also in March, Daimler Trucks North America announced customer experience testing would take place over the next 22 months for its fleet of all-electric pre-series trucks, which includes six heavy-duty Freightliner eCascadias and two medium-duty eM2 106 trucks.
In Japan, Toyota and Hino Motors are developing a hydrogen fuel cell heavy-duty commercial truck prototype that has a suggested cruising range of 370 miles.