Tesla CEO Elon Musk has made the announcement shareholders had been waiting for since 2017, when the Semi Class 8 electric truck was first unveiled in prototype form. Musk says Tesla is finally starting production of the Semi, with deliveries to begin December 1, when Pepsi will receive the first trucks.
The CEO made the announcement on Twitter, adding that the Tesla Semi has a 500-mile (805-kilometer) range and is "super fun to drive." A barrage of questions from curious users followed in the thread, but Elon Musk did not reply to any of them.
The way Musk phrased the announcement—"Excited to announce start of production of Tesla Semi Truck with deliveries to @Pepsi on Dec 1st!"—makes it difficult to say for sure whether production has already started or is starting soon.
Nonetheless, starting production of the Semi is a big milestone for Tesla, even though the moment is long overdue. The EV maker originally said that the Semi would enter production in 2019, but that did not happen and the SOP got repeatedly delayed since.
It's not clear where the first production Semi trucks are being made. Tesla has been making Semi prototypes close to its Gigafactory in Nevada, but mass production of the vehicle is expected to take place at Gigafactory Texas. The plant near Austin has already started making Model Y crossovers this spring, but it's unclear whether the Semi assembly line is also good to go.
In January this year, Elon Musk said Tesla would release no new products in 2022, but on August 10, after the US Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act, the executive said the 500-mile version of the Tesla Semi would start shipping this year. The new legislation makes heavy-duty electric trucks eligible for as much as $40,000 in federal tax credits.
Now, the fact that Pepsi will be the first customer for the Semi has been known for quite a while. The company pre-ordered 100 Tesla Semi electric trucks in 2017 as part of its drive to reduce fuel costs and fleet emissions.
In November 2021, PepsiCo CEO Ramon Laguarta said the company was expecting the first Tesla Semi deliveries in the fourth quarter of 2021. Obviously, that didn't happen, but Q4 2022 could be the real deal. According to Bloomberg, the food and beverage giant expects to deploy an initial 15 Tesla Semi trucks by the end of the year.
In an October 7 tweet, PepsiCo confirmed that it will receive the first Tesla Semis on December 1 to support its Frito-Lay plant in Modesto (CA) and its PepsiCo beverages plant in Sacramento (CA).