Could the EV maker pose a threat to traditional truck companies?
After an arduous journey filled with delays and empty promises, the Tesla Semi has finally entered production. At the time, little was known about Musk's latest product, save for the fact that the first examples will head to PepsiCo on December 1. The beverage corporation is just one of several blue chip customers that have placed orders for the Semi.
But at the company's third-quarter earnings call, Elon Musk unveiled some interesting tidbits about the Semi. Most importantly, Tesla aims to increase Semi production and has shared a goal for 2024. "We will be ramping up Semi production through next year...we're tentatively aiming for 50,000 units in 2024 in North America," said Musk.
The outspoken CEO was reticent to give an exact figure for the Semi, but said it costs "a lot more than a passenger vehicle...a few heavy trucks of this nature would be worth several Model Ys," he added. While 50,000 doesn't sound like that big of a number, it's very impressive when you consider the American semi-truck market.
According to Statista's latest figures, Peterbilt dominates the Class 8 truck market, and, in 2020, the company sold nearly 72,000 vehicles in America alone. In 2019, that figure was higher still, at just over 100,000 units. Given the immense interest in the Tesla Semi, Musk is clearly confident his electric hauler can make a dent in this segment.
Frankly, we'd be surprised if it doesn't. The Semi may be an entirely new way of hauling things and, yes, electric power does mean drivers would have to stop and charge. But, fleet managers will quickly forget about these drawbacks once they realize the savings to be had.
Tesla claims that in just three years, operators will save up to $200,000 in fuel bills. What's more, fewer moving parts means cheaper and less frequent maintenance. It's not like charging the big Tesla will be a pain, either. The company claims a range of up to 500 miles and says the Semi can get 70% of its range back with just a 30-minute charge.
Hopefully, the Semi has spurred the Tesla team to finish development work on the constantly delayed Cybertruck (which Musk made some bizarre promises about) and the long-awaited Roadster replacement. The automaker says the former will arrive as soon as next year, a whopping five years after it was first unveiled to the public.
In the meantime, expect to see the Semi hauling goods up and down America's interstates. It should be quite a sight to see, with that slippery body and futuristic design. Hopefully, they prove reliable - we've already spotted a broken-down pre-production model, which isn't exactly a good look for the new truck.