Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted Thursday that production of its long-delayed all-electric semi-truck has begun with first deliveries beginning in December.
The automaker introduced an all-electric prototype Class 8 truck, called the Tesla Semi, at a splashy event in November 2017 in Hawthorne, California, on the property of the company’s design studio and Musk’s other company, SpaceX.
The disclosure came more than a year after Tesla launched a truck development program led by Jerome Guillen, a former Daimler president who joined the company in 2010. Guillen left Tesla in 2021, just a few months after his position changed from president of the company’s entire auto industry to a more limited role leading Tesla’s heavy truck unit.
Tesla initially planned to begin production of the semi-truck in December 2019. However, the program was repeatedly delayed.
Last year after Guillen’s departure, Tesla pushed production of its Semi-truck program to 2022 due to supply chain challenges and limited availability of battery cells, the company said during its second quarter earnings report. By January 2021, the company had finished engineering 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 stopped 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 in December 2017, will be the first customer to receive the vehicles.
Deliveries to Pepsi are expected on Dec. 1, Musk said.