After a period of battery production limitations, Tesla claims that their first orders of electric semi trucks will be delivered this year, but the company has yet to figure out how to facilitate widespread manufacturing of the already infamous semi trucks.
Back in January, Musk explained that the semi truck was ready for production, but the company was having difficulties manufacturing enough 4680 battery cells to power the rigs.
“We simply don’t have enough cells for it,” Musk said in a January interview.
“If we were to make the Semi like right now, which we could easily go into production with the Semi, but we would not have enough cells for it right now. We will have enough cells for Semi when we are producing the Tesla 4680 in volume.”
While production of the Tesla 4680 cell is still a concern, Tesla’s recent Q1 2021 report states that concerns surrounding the battery for the Model Y car have been resolved, and that Tesla Semi trucks will begin shipping out to those who have ordered them at some point this year.
“We are currently building Model Y capacity at Gigafactory Berlin and Gigafactory Texas and remain on track to start production and deliveries from each location in 2021. Gigafactory Shanghai will continue to expand further over time. Tesla Semi deliveries will also begin in 2021,” said Tesla in its Q1 2021 report.
“The Semi, due to its large size, increased range, and need for excessive power output requires a significant number of battery cells. The Semi could have been produced earlier, but it could have affected the production processes of Tesla’s mass-market vehicles, like the Model 3 and Model Y. Ultimately, the widespread consumer vehicles take priority, and the Semi project simply had to wait,” explained Teslarati writer Joey Klender.
“Demand is no problem, but near-term cell supply makes it hard to scale Semi. This limitation will be less onerous next year,” said Musk during a Q3 2020 Earnings call.
“We need to solve the cell constraint before ramping Semi to significant volume. That’s the only real constraint on Semi’s progress.”
Musk predicts that large scale production of the 4680 batteries will take another 12 to 18 months, meaning large scale production of the electric semi truck will likely take even longer.