Welcome to Thomas Insights — every day, we publish the latest news and analysis to keep our readers up to date on what’s happening in industry. Sign up here to get the day’s top stories delivered straight to your inbox.
It was 2017 when Tesla first unveiled an all-electric semi-truck that was hailed as offering a promising future for low-emission logistics.
Offering a purported 500 miles of range on a 30-minute charge, the Class 8 truck has a look The Verge described at the unveiling of its prototype as a “hulking and menacing hauler” that was “an apparition in metallic silver-white.” Needless to say, there was some hype.
Since then, and quite true to style, Tesla has kept us waiting. The company pledged to begin production in 2019, a timeline that’s since been obliterated as Tesla worked through kinks while orders piled up in the meantime.
Fast forward to now, and a new report from Electrek suggests that Tesla is on the cusp of full scale production on its semi-truck. In March, Electrek exclusively reported that a production line was being built adjacent to Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory. Now they’re saying “the drive axle production line is ready and the general assembly line is going through its final debugging before starting production.”
Tesla hopes to produce five trucks per week at the outset, and Electrek reminds us that even the slowest rollout will still mean significant disruption in the market. That’s because, despite some competition in the field of electric Class 8 trucks, Tesla’s range for the price makes it, according to Electrek, “the lowest cost of operation of any semi-truck.” The rig is also said to be equipped with the semi-autonomous technology that Tesla boasts in its passenger vehicles.
So can Tesla stick to its initial promise of features and price? The notoriously slippery company could go either way, within reason, but in the end it may not matter: anything close to the original business case could be enough to start the ball rolling when it comes to electrified over-the-road logistics.
Image Credit: Tesla