How fast can Tesla grow? That’s a question worth a few hundred billion dollars or so. It seems that the answer mostly comes down to battery supply. Tesla is currently building giant automotive factories in Germany and Texas while expanding its Chinese factory. Its battery supply is also ramping up, but it seems like it can never catch up to vehicle demand and production capacity. On the last Tesla quarterly conference call, CEO Elon Musk indicated that they could be producing the Tesla Semi — a fully electric semi truck unveiled a few years ago — if they just had enough batteries for it. The only real holdup at this point is the lack of batteries.
Electric vehicle fans, especially climate and air quality hawks, have been eagerly awaiting production of this truck since then, since it could cut emissions so dramatically and could seemingly outcompete fossil-fueled semi trucks on cost and performance right out of the box. But we’ve had to wait as Tesla has ramped up Model 3 and Model Y capacity in order to turn profitable and remain profitable (while also decarbonizing a huge number of light-duty vehicle miles).
On the conference call, Tesla indicated that Semi production would begin later this year. Now, word on the street is that means mid-2021, not late 2021. See the thread below.
Tesla Semi Production Expectations
I may have additional info to share at a later date 🙂
— Sawyer Merritt (@SawyerMerritt) February 4, 2021
That makes a bit more sense. The US yearly sales of Class 8 trucks are ~200-250k units.
Obviously, not all production would be for the US market, but even so it’s a significant market share they’re aiming for. But I expect at least 2 yrs from start of production to reach that.
— 𝕋𝕒𝕧𝕚 (@tavi_chocochip) February 4, 2021
Personally, the Semi is the Tesla model I’ve found most exciting since the Model 3. There’s so much potential to cut pollution, the vehicle is so slick and smooth, the autonomous driving opportunities for trucks are transformative, and dozens of major companies pre-ordered Semis, showing strong demand for (or at least interest in) the new vehicle.
An estimate of 50,000 Semi truck sales a year seems reasonable. For now. Once Tesla Semi trucks can fully drive themselves, the value of the trucks seems like it would be appealing enough to lead to many more annual sales.
Tesla Giga Berlin Coming Along
Another tweet about Tesla caught my eye as further indication that Tesla production ramps are moving along fairly nicely. Alex Voigt noticed on the German Tesla website that the site now states underneath the Model Y: “Production is expected to start middle of 2021.”
🇩🇪 Giga Berlin
Now official on the German Order Page
"The production is expected to start mid of 2021" !!! pic.twitter.com/jxFx6r8JJL
— Alex (@alex_avoigt) February 3, 2021
Production of the Model Y and Model 3 in Germany would make the company a three-continent manufacturer, with mass-market production of the Model Y/3 on each continent. (Tesla already produces the Model 3 and Model Y in both the USA and China.) Producing the Model 3 and Model Y in Germany also means the cost could come down, as certain fees (like import duties) would no longer plague the models.
Let us know if you pick up any more scoops on Tesla vehicle production — whether they be Semi production, Berlin production, or Mars production plans.
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