Tesla often makes waves in the news, but it’s not always a negative story. CEO Elon Musk announced that the long-awaited Tesla Semi truck would start shipping later this year. The vehicle was unveiled in 2017 and was initially scheduled for production in 2019. In a surprise tweet today, Musk promised Semi deliveries in 2022 and Cybertruck deliveries in 2023.
The global pandemic, severe ongoing supply chain shortages, and significant inflation have all made it more challenging to deliver new vehicles than ever before. That said, it’s not surprising that we’re now over halfway through the year and haven’t seen a Semi on the highways. Tesla moved toward the production of the truck in 2020, but supply issues caused a delay to 2022.
Tesla began production, but there was no immediate indication that it would follow through on deliveries this year. The automaker’s focus was squarely on building and delivering the Model 3 and Model Y, so the Semi had seemingly fallen by the wayside. Musk’s tweet is a surprise in this context because Tesla was so heavily invested in building its existing vehicles.
More choices and better products are good for buyers, but the Tesla Semi already has serious competition in the electric trucking space. Earlier this year, Mercedes-Benz’s Freightliner released the eCascadia, an electric Semi with a decent range and fast charging. Deliveries are expected to begin soon. Beyond the commercial space, Tesla’s first-mover announcement of the Cybertruck only served to motivate legacy automakers. Ford released the F-150 Lightning earlier in 2022, and Chevrolet will roll out the Silverado EV next year. Rivian was the first to market, and its R1T is one of the most innovative pickups on sale today.