- Tesla Chief Elon Musk announced Wednesday the Tesla Semi will be manufactured at a Gigafactory the company is building near Austin, Texas. The company is building on 2,000 acres, he said, and the facility will also house production for the Cybertruck, as well as Model 3 and Model Y for the eastern part of North America.
- Tesla CFO Zachary Kirkhorn confirmed the OEM had been using "a few" Tesla Semis to deliver cars, "but we're going to accelerate that," he said of the project. "I want to be clear that the first few units, we will use ourselves ... to carry our own freight, probably mostly between Fremont and Reno, which is a fantastic test route," he said on the company's Q2 2020 earnings call. "We're going to prove that we have very good reliability. And so far, the early units do have it, but we'll do that at a larger scale."
- Next year, the company said, it has more sales coming up and will increase the diversity of its customer portfolio, which Kirkhorn said "didn't make sense" to do until now. "And we have also promised some early units to some long term, very patient and supportive customers, and we'll do that," Kirkhorn said.
Tesla's "very patient" customers have already endured delayed production. In its Q1 2020 earnings call, the company postponed the first delivery of the semi to 2021 — a second postponement, as first delivery was originally scheduled for 2019. And still, Musk said "there's a long way to go" with the Semi.
One of Tesla's concerns has been its capacity to manufacture batteries. On the company's Q4 2019 earnings call in January, Musk said accelerating production of the Tesla Semi would take battery resources away from other products, such as Model 3 or Model Y.
When asked about battery constraints, Musk did not comment directly, only asking mining companies to "please mine more nickle."
Nickle-based fuel cells have higher density and, therefore, higher range, Musk said. "Obviously, those are needed for something like Semi, where ... every unit of mass that you add in battery pack, you have to subtract in cargo," he said. Model 3, which runs on an iron-phosphate battery back, will be in volume production later this year in China. "And that frees up a lot of capacity for things like the Tesla Semi and the other projects that require higher energy density," Musk said.
The company did not give details on who the first customers might be to receive orders. J.B. Hunt and Walmart, which ordered "multiple" trucks for testing within hours of the truck's unveiling, could be on the shortlist. In 2018, one Morgan Stanley analyst suggested there may have already been 1,200 pre-orders.
Kirkhorn said the company will be ready to ramp up sales next year. Though he admitted that "maybe a little biased" because of his own personal excitement. "We have a lot of very unique technology that we're always dreaming about that we will be putting into that Semi," he said.