Tesla is ready to take money for its Semi Truck

Tesla has opened up reservations for its all-electric Semi truck, scheduled to go into production in 2023. You can create a reservation on the company’s website by paying $5,000 upfront, then $15,000 within ten days. A word of caution, though: the $5k is refundable, but it appears the $20k ain’t.

You’d be forgiven for having overlooked all about Tesla’s Semi, which was reported in 2017 with futuristic concept art and jealous specs.

The company conveys the truck will be powered by four independent motors on the rear axles, go 0-60mph in 20 seconds, and maintain 300 or 500 miles of battery range.

Prices begin at $150,000, and there have been several orders from businesses like Walmart and FedEx in the low-dozens field.

But since that 2017 unveiling, Tesla has struggled with production for the Semi — which is understandable considering how quickly it managed to scale up manufacturing on its other EVs. Currently, the truck is scheduled to go into production next year, but we wouldn’t be too surprised if there are further delays (or even spec changes).

However, this news demonstrates Tesla’s incredible ability to generate cash flow from customers by encouraging them to put down deposits for products that don’t yet exist (a trend that other EV manufacturers have since copied). Essentially, paid reservations are a way for the company to take out interest-free loans from fans. So even if the Semi isn’t much closer to production, it’s certainly ready to generate deposits.

The Tesla Semi is an all-electric battery-powered Category 8 semi-truck in influence by Tesla, Inc. Two concept vehicles were revealed in November 2017, and production is planned for 2023.

The company initially disclosed that the truck would have a 500 miles (805 km) field on a full charge. However, with its new batteries, it would be able to drive for 400 miles (640 km) after an 80% charge in 30 minutes utilizing a solar-powered “Tesla Megacharger” charging station. In addition, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that the Semi would come standard with Tesla Autopilot, which allows semi-autonomous driving on highways.

The Semi was first cited in the Tesla 2016 Master Plan. Tesla said that they have a working prototype that uses ‘a bunch’ of Tesla Model 3 electric motors. As of April 2017, Jerome Guillen led the Tesla Semi program.

Guillen was earlier in charge of Freightliner’s Cascadia Diesel-engine Class 8 semi before uniting Tesla to configure the Model S production line but left the Semi program a year later to conduct one of the Model 3 all-around assembly lines and afterward became Tesla’s president of automotive in September 2018. The new leader for the Semi program has not been publicly disclosed as of late 2019.

The Semi was disclosed at a press conference on November 16, 2017, where Musk delivered additional specifics. He asserted that the electric Semi would cost 20 ¢/mi (12 ¢/km) less to drive than a diesel truck if charged at a Megacharger, where Tesla would ensure a price of 7 ¢/kWh (in the United States). If the Semi is not set at a Megacharger, the savings would depend on the cost of electricity; the high price in California, for example, may eliminate the operating cost benefit.

In November 2017, Tesla hurled that the expected price of regular production interpretations for the 300-mile (480 km) & 500-mile (800 km) span renditions would be US$150,000 and US$180,000, respectively. In addition, the company stated they would offer a Founder’s Series Semi at US$200,000.

In March 2018, Tesla revealed that the Semi was being tested with actual cargo, hauling battery boxes from Nevada to California. Then, in August 2018, a Tesla Semi prototype crossed from California alone—without escort or accompanying automobiles—for a week to come at the J. B. Hunt headquarters in Arkansas.

A toy version of the Semi was released in January 2020 as part of the Matchbox Convoys line with a black truck, box trailer, and a red Model S. A second version was released with a silver truck, trailer with pipes forklift.