Tesla’s long-delayed semi just took a major step toward practical reality. When CNET reportsthe automaker has started taking it reservations for its electric big rig. You’ll need to pay a $20,000 deposit ($15,000 of which is via wire transfer), and Tesla still hasn’t narrowed launch past the expected 2023 production window. But that’s notable when early commitments have been largely limited to bulk orders from companies like PepsiCo and Walmart.
The Semi was introduced in 2017 alongside the second generation Roadster. The machine was intended to turn conventional truck driving on its head, with a maximum range of 500 miles, fast “megacharger” top-ups, and a 20-second 0-60 mph time with an 80,000-pound payload. It’s still expected to start at $150,000, potentially making it viable for companies that want intercity hauliers without the usual fuel costs or environmental impact.
However, as with the new Roadster, the launch did not go according to plan. Tesla has delayed the Semi multiple times, most recently to deal with chip shortages and limited production capacity for the necessary 4680 battery cells. Reservations at this stage are less about an impending delivery and more about securing future revenue, just like cybertruck deposits (estimated at 1.3 million as of November 2021) helped Tesla secure billions in revenue whenever the pickup truck arrives.
Still, Tesla might not be too concerned about the wait. Competitor Nikola is just ramping up production of its electric semi-trailer truck, and established brands like Freightliner aren’t having great success with their electric vehicles. The Semi will enter a relatively young field in which both the level of awareness and the technology have advantages.
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