Battery supply constraints will keep Tesla Semi in low production until end of 2024

After a long-awaited launch last year, CEO Elon Musk says the Tesla Semi will remain in low production volumes until the end of next year. The reason for the timeline is a familiar one, with Musk explaining on Tuesday battery supply constraints continue to be a bottleneck.

Tesla first unveiled the Semi in 2017 and originally planned to start production in 2019. However those plans took a backseat with the company needing to secure enough battery cells to supply the launch the Model 3 in 2018 and later the Model Y in 2020. Then came a global pandemic and further disruptions to the supply chain, pushing the launch of the Semi until late 2022.

In November last year PepsiCo took delivery of the first electric Tesla Semi, with all of the class 8 electric trucks being built at a new facility just up the road from Giga Nevada. A few months later the automaker announced plans to expand Giga Nevada itself to house a new “high-volume” production area for the Semi, but no timeline for when that facility will be up and running has been provided to date.

Based on comments from Musk, it looks like Tesla will keep producing the Semi in low volumes out of the adjacent facility until at least the end of next year. While speaking at the EEI 2023 (Edison Electric Institute) conference on Tuesday, Musk said he doesn’t expect higher volume production until the end of 2024, with Musk blaming it on battery supply constraints. (via The Wall Street Journal)

Currently the Semi uses Tesla’s 2170 battery cells, but Tesla hasn’t officially said how big the battery in the Semi actually is. We can however make an educated guess based on what data the automaker has shared. The Semi currently has an efficiency of 1.7kWh per mile. We also know the Semi has a range of 500-miles (804km) on a single charge while fully loaded at 81,000lbs. Using the figure of 1.7kWh per mile, that equates to a battery pack of around 850kWh to 900kWh, or the equivalent of about one dozen Model Y Long Range SUVs.

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