Unsurprisingly, the Tesla Semi will start production later than planned.
With all the publicity surrounding the polarizing Tesla Cybertruck lately, you'd be forgiven for forgetting all about the Tesla Semi. Tesla's revolutionary electric semi-truck first debuted in prototype form alongside the Tesla Roadster concept back in 2017, but the automaker has remained suspiciously quiet about it lately.
However, a leaked email reportedly sent to reservation holders from the company suggests the Tesla Semi will start limited production in the second half of 2020.
"We are on track to produce limited volumes of the Tesla Semi in the second half of 2020," the email reads. This is later than planned, as the production of the Tesla Semi was slated to enter production in 2019 when the prototype was unveiled. By contrast, the reports claim the Tesla Model Y is said to be starting production early.
The email also provides some insight into the test program for the Tesla Semi.
"Over the last few months, we have continued testing the trucks in real world conditions," the email says. We also spent time at a proving ground to evaluate the truck's resilience over rougher road conditions. It continues:
"Using instruments mounted on the vehicle, we collected road input data to ensure the trucks can handle severely degraded roads. At our own Fremont test facility, we subjected the trucks to a number of high energy, discreet events such as curb strikes, pot holes, and other harsh inputs to confirm the truck is capable of handling common hazards. Our test vehicles have held up great thus far and continue to impress. In addition to real-world test, we also successfully completed several important engineering development checkpoints."
Tesla has already improved the Semi's range since its debut, but the email confirms that more improvements are being implemented.
"As the truck's design continues to mature, those improvements are being rolled into our plans for building more production-representative vehicles," it reads.
When it was announced in 2017, Tesla claimed the Semi will have a range of 300-500 miles, but Elon Musk has since claimed the range will be closer to 600 miles in the range-topping model when it launches. The range-topping Tesla Semi is expected to start at $180,000, while an entry-level version with a 300-mile range is expected to be around $30,000 cheaper.
The more production-intent version of the Tesla Semi Truck is pictured below. As you can see, it drops the rear covers over the wheels, and traded the exterior cameras for a set of more pragmatic mirrors. Meanwhile, the center-mounted driving position remains intact.