EV maker's boss, Elon Musk, attributes 12-month delay to difficulties in scaling up battery production
Felix Page Autocar writer
14 June 2019

Tesla boss Elon Musk has announced that the launch of the brand's Semi electric lorry will be delayed until 2020, citing an already strained battery supply for production of its range of EVs. 

Speaking at the firm's annual shareholders meeting, Musk said Tesla would strive to ramp up battery production as quickly as possible, going so far as to suggest a venture into metal mining could be a possibility. 

Despite the delay, customers are still able to reserve Semis. Existing customers include large companies such as Walmart, UPS and FedEx, but it is remains to be seen whether the delayed release will discourage further investment in the zero-emissions truck.  

Such bottlenecks are no new phenomenon for Tesla; for example, Model 3 production was brought to a halt in early 2018 by worker shortages and software issues. The brand's fourth model, the Model Y, a Jaguar I-Pace rival, is due on the US market next year, with Musk aiming for an output of 2000 examples per week by September 2020. 

The Semi will be capable of driving for up to 600 miles on a gingle charge, even when fully loaded, Musk has previously claimed.

His claim followed the boss of Daimler's lorry division, Martin Daum, suggesting that the Semi's statistics "defied the laws of physics".

The Semi with the 600-mile claimed range costs $180,000 (£132,720 at today's rate) in the US. A lower-spec variant with a 300-mile range will be priced from $150,000 (£110,565). Prices for diesel lorries in Britain start at about £85,000 by comparison.

Our Verdict

Tesla Model 3 2018 road test review hero front

Lowest-price, largest-volume Tesla yet has wooed the buying public in the US. Should UK buyers join the queue for a Model 3?

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

At the November 2017 event in Hawthorne, California, where Tesla also showed its new Roadster sports car, Musk said the Semi, which was previously referred to as the Tesla Truck, was capable of accelerating from 0-60mph in 5.0sec.

Tesla Semi: UK truckers 'don't care about performance'

He also said it was able to hit 60mph in 20.0sec when the trailer is fully loaded with 80,000lb (almost 36 tonnes) of cargo. This beats the average sprint time for diesel-powered rivals by around 40sec.

The Semi's energy recovery systems are claimed to be capable of recovering 98% of kinetic energy to the battery. For regular charging, the lorry can be connected to Tesla Megachargers – a new high-speed DC charging solution – that are said to add about 400 miles in 30 minutes and can be installed at origin or destination points, much like the existing Superchargers.

Efficiency is boosted by a low wind resistance, with Tesla claiming the Semi has a drag coefficient of 0.36Cd. It states that most of its competitors are closer to 0.65Cd.

Tesla has refrained from going into further detail about the lorry's drivetrain and battery but has revealed that the vehicle features advanced autonomous technology to prevent jackknifing of the trailer. Onboard sensors are installed to detect instability and can adjust torque sent to each wheel and independently actuate all brakes to avoid jackknifing.

Additionally, surround cameras provide autonomous object detection and reduce blindspots, alerting the driver to safety hazards and obstacles. The Semi also introduces a new Enhanced Autopilot system, with automatic emergency braking, automatic lane keeping, lane departure warning and even event recording.

The Semi can travel in a convoy, allowing one or several examples to autonomously follow a leader.

Alongside the claims for performance and safety, Musk said the Semi would provide users with massive savings. Figures produced by the company state that owners "can expect to save $200,000 or more over a million miles based on fuel costs alone".

Read more

Saloon showdown: 2019 Tesla Model 3 vs new BMW 3 Series​

Lead battery tech could make electric car charging cheaper​

Join the debate

Comments
74

2 May 2017
Lorry! Bonkers British word. It's a truck! ;-)

25 August 2017

Yeah Ia gree I hate "lorry" truck sounds much better.

XXXX just went POP.

16 November 2017
geed wrote:

Lorry! Bonkers British word. It's a truck! ;-)

 

In the US a truck is what we in the UK call a pick up. The US call an articulated lorry a semi.

iIn the US the best selling vehicle for decades has been a truck, the Ford F-150.

27 November 2017
Campervan wrote:

geed wrote:

Lorry! Bonkers British word. It's a truck! ;-)

 

In the US a truck is what we in the UK call a pick up. The US call an articulated lorry a semi.

iIn the US the best selling vehicle for decades has been a truck, the Ford F-150.

It's not a lorry or a truck, it's a Tractor Unit. When connected to a trailer then the combination is a lorry. A truck is the wheels of a skateboard.

Birds Eye Potato Waffles, they're Waffly Versatile

14 June 2019
Leslie Brook wrote:

Campervan wrote:

geed wrote:

Lorry! Bonkers British word. It's a truck! ;-)

 

In the US a truck is what we in the UK call a pick up. The US call an articulated lorry a semi.

iIn the US the best selling vehicle for decades has been a truck, the Ford F-150.

It's not a lorry or a truck, it's a Tractor Unit. When connected to a trailer then the combination is a lorry. A truck is the wheels of a skateboard.

 

To log onto Autocar's website I had to verify what a "Cross Walk" was.... I have no clue what one is...

Anyway can you explain what a semi is ?

ex boy scout, automotive engineer and all round geek.....

15 June 2019
supercarrambler wrote:

Leslie Brook wrote:

Campervan wrote:

geed wrote:

Lorry! Bonkers British word. It's a truck! ;-)

 

In the US a truck is what we in the UK call a pick up. The US call an articulated lorry a semi.

iIn the US the best selling vehicle for decades has been a truck, the Ford F-150.

It's not a lorry or a truck, it's a Tractor Unit. When connected to a trailer then the combination is a lorry. A truck is the wheels of a skateboard.

Anyway can you explain what a semi is ?

Surely as an ex boyscout you'd know that.

14 June 2019

I just don't believe it!!!

15 June 2019
geed wrote:

Lorry! Bonkers British word. It's a truck! ;-)

It's a lorry.

Birds Eye Potato Waffles, they're Waffly Versatile

20 September 2019

Tesla has developed an electric semi-truck and has brought in early customers such as PepsiCo, Walmart and UPS. Tesla's CEO Elon Musk also has said that an electric pickup truck is in the works, too.

The startups might not be the worst thing for the big OEMs. That might end up being just the slow pace of innovation. 

2 May 2017
Musk also claimed that the Tesla truck could be driven around ‘like a sports car’

What the hell is the point in that? What will be the top model, the GT3 RRS

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week