Elon Musk raises doubts about Tesla’s battery cell and electric truck production this year

Elon Musk is raising doubts about Tesla’s cell and electric truck production capacity this year in a new comment on Twitter.

Tesla Semi, the automaker’s electric semi truck program, has already seen several delays since it was first supposed to hit the market in 2019.

Recently, it felt like things had changed and the Tesla Semi looked closer to production than ever before.

Last summer, CEO Elon Musk told employees in an email obtained by Electrek that “it’s time to bring Tesla Semi to volume production” without updating the timeline.

This year, Tesla has indicated that the electric truck would enter production by the end of the year with some deliveries to customers.

We have been seeing some evidence of that actually happening with new Tesla Semi prototypes being spotted for the first time since the original two prototypes unveiled in 2017.

Finally, just last week, PepsiCo, one of Tesla’s biggest reservation holders for the Tesla Semi, said that they expect 15 electric trucks from Tesla by the end of the year.

However, despite all these recent indications that Tesla could produce a decent numbers of electric semi-trucks this year, Musk threw some colder water on that this weekend in a new comment on Twitter:

Tesla’s electric truck production has been linked to the production of the new Tesla 4680 battery cell that the automaker unveiled during its ‘Battery Day’ last September.

The comment is vague enough that it doesn’t discard the possibility of Tesla producing some electric trucks this year, but it does appear that the CEO has a less optimistic outlook on the Tesla Semi program than previous statements led us to believe.

Electrek’s Take

Again, the comment is vague. The guy simply asked about how the Tesla Semi is coming along and Elon straight up says that there’s not enough cell, but it will “probably be OK next year”.

We know that Tesla is currently only producing the new 4680 cell at its pilot plant in Fremont factory, but even though it’s just a “pilot plant”, Tesla apparently plans to ramp it up to several gigawatt-hours of production capacity.

It would be enough to produce a decent number of Tesla Semi electric trucks, but Tesla also needs to use some of the production capacity to support the start of production of the Model Y at Gigafactory Berlin until Tesla can ramp up its local 4680 battery cell production there.

We didn’t expect high volume production of Tesla Semi until the automaker achieves volume production of battery cells at Gigafactory Texas.

Is this what Elon is referring to? Would there still be some Tesla Semi production in 2021?

Some have also linked delays in vehicle programs using Tesla’s 4680 cells, like the Model S Plaid+, to potential delays in Tesla’s battery cell production plans.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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