Tesla will not go through with the production of semi trucks until it can manufacture its own batteries, Musk says

“Prototypes are easy, scaling production is very hard,” Musk said.

The production of Tesla’s upcoming electric semi truck is on hold until the company can successfully mass produce its own batteries, Musk said during a company call on this week. 

Tesla’s 4680 battery cells were first unveiled during a presentation back in September 2020, but the company is still working on large-scale production or the large lithium ion cells that will act as the power source for their electric semi truck. 

“Prototypes are easy, scaling production is very hard,” Musk said. 

Since the unveiling of Tesla’s electric semi truck back in 2017, the expected release date has been pushed back several times, from 2019 to 2020 and now to sometime in the latter half of 2021. 

“The main reason we’ve not accelerated new products is — like for example Tesla Semi — is that we simply don’t have enough cells for it. 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.”

Tesla has already received electric semi truck orders from prominent companies such as Walmart, PepsiCo, and Anheuser-Busch, and has even used their semi truck prototypes to deliver cars to customer as part of a publicity stunt, but it will be a bit longer before the semi trucks make their official appearance as working rigs. Still, Musk says the electric semi truck is entirely feasible and ready-to-go, apart from the challenge of large-scale battery production, reported CNBC.

“Basically we do not see any issues with creating a compelling long-range truck with batteries apart from cell supply,” Musk said.

“If you’re not involved in manufacturing, it’s really hard to appreciate just how hard it is to scale production. It’s the hardest thing in the world!”