Tesla’s aggressive goals for Model 3 production have run into a series of setbacks, and the knock-on effect spilling over into the company’s planned electric semi truck debut, which has again been pushed back from its overdue September launch.
Elon Musk announced the later, November 16 unveil date for Tesla Semi via Twitter, while blaming both “Model 3 bottlenecks” and the ongoing humanitarian situation in Puerto Rico for the delay.
Tesla Semi unveil now Nov 16. Diverting resources to fix Model 3 bottlenecks & increase battery production for Puerto Rico & other affected areas.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 6, 2017
Earlier this year, Tesla announced plans to produce up to 5,000 Model 3s per month by the end of 2017, though the announcement was met with skepticism at the time.
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A report last week by The Wall Street Journal revealed the company is producing major components of the car by hand, and confirmed production is falling well short of the stated goals.
2017 Tesla Model 3
Though Tesla claims the report overstates the extent of the problems facing the factory, Musk did admit on twitter that the Model 3 is “deep in production hell.”
Between the continued production difficulties and Tesla’s efforts to send battery packs to Puerto Rico, the company decided to “recalibrate” the timing for both Model 3 production and the truck’s official debut.
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With an all-electric drivetrain and the capability to trial so-called “platooning” technology, Tesla’s semi has the potential to make waves in a segment that doesn’t yet competition in production.
However, the battle to be the first to the market with an electric tractor trailer is a heated one.
Giants like Daimler — parent company of Freightliner — are actively working on their own green truck solutions.
Just last month, diesel mainstay Cummins announced an intra-city semi capable of towing up to 44,000 pounds with a range of 100 miles, that it says will be in production before the end of the decade.
Tesla’s truck reportedly will feature two to three times that range, though official confirmation of that is yet to come.
— Aaron Miller