Tesla Semi faces a longer-than-expected road to production

It’s turning out to be a long road to launch for the Tesla Semi.

Unveiled in 2017, the all-electric Class 8 truck has already missed its originally intended launch date of 2019. Now the company led by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk says it won’t hit the market until 2021.

The news was revealed during the company’s quarterly earnings update on Wednesday, April 30 in which it reported profits of $16 million. The announcement was delivered by Tesla in concise terms, saying simply: “We are shifting our first Tesla Semi deliveries to 2021.”

There was no mention of why it is taking so long to get the Tesla truck on the road. The coronavirus could certainly be a factor, with the pandemic causing global disruption to industries around the world. It has already led to the temporary closure of Tesla’s main auto factory in Fremont, California.

Tesla unveiled the futuristic-looking truck to great fanfare three years ago, but since then it’s all gone a bit quiet. In 2019, we learned that the company had received around 2,000 pre-orders from a range of global clients, among them Walmart and Anheuser-Busch. In the same year it was also spotted hauling new cars along a California freeway as part of an apparent road test.

When the vehicle finally makes it to market, customers will be able to enjoy zero to 60 miles per hour acceleration in 20 seconds when loaded to its 80,000-pound maximum gross vehicle weight, and a range of 300 or 500 miles depending on the configuration. And with its sleek, unique design, it’s bound to turn heads when cruising between customers, too.

We’ve reached out to the company to ask what’s going on with the Semi and will update this piece when we hear back.

Wednesday’s earnings report landed Musk in the news again after he sounded off during a call with investors. The Tesla chief was clearly upset about the shelter-in-place orders called as part of efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus, describing them as “fascist” and claiming they’re undermining people’s rights.

“This is not democratic, this is not freedom,” Musk told Tesla investors, adding, “Give people back their goddamn freedom … I think the people are going to be very angry about this.”

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