When it was presented in November 2017, the Tesla semi-trailer truck caused either enthusiasm or disbelief – and at least with a view to the schedule, the skeptics were right. As early as 2019, Tesla wanted to start producing the electric tractor with enormous power and range at moderate prices. This did not become until the end of 2020, and in May 2020 Tesla sent letters to semi-customers, according to which “low volume” production would not start until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. After all, Tesla seems to want to keep this date – on the other hand, it was more cautious about its electric pickup Cybertruck.
Development of Tesla cell production on schedule
“With luck,” there will be a few deliveries of the Cybertruck before the end of this year, CEO Elon Musk said on Wednesday in the conference call on Tesla’s business figures last year. This is not a real shift, because when it was launched in November 2019, Tesla had already spoken of a start of production at the end of 2021. Since then, the website has also said that production will “approach” towards the end of this year. What is new, however, is Musk’s statement that it takes luck.
On the other hand, Tesla mentioned in the report for Q4 2020 that deliveries would begin this year, which roughly corresponds to the statement from last May. In the subsequent conference, however, Musk gave a new reason for this. “We could go into production with the semi without any problems,” he said. But at the moment Tesla simply doesn’t have enough batteries for it – they would only be available when the volume production of its own 4680 cells is running. Elsewhere in the conference, the Tesla boss mentioned that there were still no insurmountable obstacles to be overcome, but did not provide any concrete information on progress.
As Tesla’s head of technology, Drew Baglino, said on the subject, all problems that occurred in setting up the 4680 pilot production have been resolved so far. The systems for a capacity of 10 gigawatt hours (presumably per year) have already been delivered to the building used for this purpose next to the electric car plant in Fremont, and Tesla is on schedule to achieve this goal by the end of the year.
Even bigger presses for Cybertruck
With an annual output of 10 gigawatt hours, the cell factory in Fremont, which Tesla calls “pilot production” because of its much larger plans, would probably be one of the ten largest in the world, CEO Musk repeated. For the battery gigafactory together with Panasonic in the US state of Nevada, for example, around 35 gigawatt hours per year were recently named.
But Tesla has more plans than the Semi, and so, despite the in-house reinforcement, there is an acute lack of cells as it has for years: a Semi usually needs five times as many of them as an electric car, Musk said now, but you can’t five times as much Ask a price for it. So it doesn’t make sense for Tesla to start producing the e-truck already. The same should apply to the Cybertruck, which, according to Musk from Battery Day, also needs the 4680 cells – and, as he now said, even larger giga presses than the world’s largest, which have recently been used for the Model Y in Fremont will.