Tesla is delaying the launch of its electric semi-trailer program until 2022 due to supply chain challenges and limited battery cell availability, the company said in its second quarter earnings report on Monday. .
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has previously warned of battery supply constraints and the effect this could have on the Tesla Semi, which was first unveiled as a prototype in November 2017. In January, Musk said engineering work on the Tesla Semi was complete and deliveries were due to begin this year. He added the caveat, at the time, that the availability of battery cells could limit the company’s ability to produce the Semi.
This warning was apparently justified. Extract from the letter to shareholders published today after market close:
We believe that we remain on track to build our first Model Y vehicles in Berlin and Austin in 2021. The pace of the respective production ramps will be influenced by the successful introduction of many new products and manufacturing technologies, related current challenges. to the supply chain and regional authorization.
To better focus on these factories, and due to the limited availability of battery cells and global supply chain challenges, we have postponed the launch of the Semi truck program to 2022. We are also making progress on the industrialization of Cybertruck, which is currently slated for production in Austin after the Model Y.
Although not mentioned in the call or in its earnings report, the delay follows the departure of Jérôme Guillen, a critical Tesla executive who was working on the development and eventual production of the Tesla Semi. Guillen’s resignation in June came just three months after he was transferred from the post of auto president, which included overseeing the Tesla Semi, to a post with less responsibility as head of heavy trucking. . Guillen had led all of Tesla’s automotive business from September 2018 to March 2021.
Meanwhile, Tesla’s Cybertruck, which is slated to go into production at the end of 2021, could also be pushed back to next year. Musk did not respond to questions, but comments from Musk as well as Tesla’s VP of Engineering Lars Moravy during the earnings call suggest it could move to 2022.
Cybertruck is currently in its alpha phase of prototyping, with basic engineering and vehicle architecture completed. While Model Y takes priority, the company is entering a beta phase of the Cybertruck later this year, Moravy said.
“We will be looking to ramp up production in Texas after the Model Y goes into service,” he added.
Musk has addressed the difficulty of the Cybertruck, perhaps to ease expectations of its arrival in 2021.
“The Cybertruck ramp will be tough because it’s such a new architecture,” Musk said. “It will be a great product; it might be our best product yet, but it comes with a lot of fundamentally new design ideas.
He went on to point out that he used it as other vehicles went from prototype to series production: Manufacturing is difficult.
“At the risk of being repetitive, it’s actually easy to make prototypes or a handful of low-volume production, but anything that’s produced at high volume, which is really what’s relevant here, is going to go just as fast. than the slowest of roughly orders of magnitude 10,000 unique parts and processes.