Tesla Semi production begins with Pepsi getting the first deliveries

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted Thursday that production on its long-delayed all-electric semi truck has started with the first deliveries beginning in December.

The automaker introduced an all-electric Class 8 truck prototype, dubbed Tesla Semi, during a splashy November 2017 event held in Hawthorne, California, on the grounds of the company’s design studio and Musk’s other company, SpaceX.

The reveal came more than a year after Tesla launched a trucks development program, which was steered by Jerome Guillen, a former Daimler executive who joined the company in 2010. Guillen left Tesla in 2021 just a few months after his position was changed from president of the company’s entire automotive business to a more narrow role leading Tesla’s heavy trucking unit.

Tesla initially planned to start producing the semi truck in December 2019. However, the program suffered repeated delays.

Last year following Guillen’s departure, Tesla pushed production of the Semi truck program to 2022 due to supply chain challenges and the limited availability of battery cells, the company said during its second-quarter earnings report. As of January 2021, the company had finished engineering work on the Semi and was on track to begin deliveries that year. But even then Musk warned that the availability of battery cells could limit the company’s ability to produce the Semi.

The delays haven’t prevented the company from landing reservations, which were $5,000 at the unveiling, from a number of high-profile companies, including Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi, Walmart and UPS. Musk tweeted that Pepsi, which ordered 100 trucks back in December 2017, will be the first customer to receive the vehicles.

Deliveries to Pepsi are expected December 1, Musk said.