Tesla Semi, the automaker’s upcoming electric semi truck, is ready for production, but CEO Elon Musk says that they need the new 4680 cells to produce any volume.

Tesla Semi

When unveiling Tesla Semi in 2017, the automaker said that the production versions of Tesla Semi, which are class 8 trucks with 80,000-lb. capacities, would have 300-mile and 500-mile range options for $150,000 and $180,000, respectively.

However, CEO Elon Musk said that they found opportunities to extend that range during testing.

A year later, Musk said that the Tesla Semi production version will have closer to 600 miles of range.

After a few delays, Tesla talked about “low-volume production in late 2020, but the timeline was later pushed to 2021.

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

The CEO later said that the Tesla Semi would be produced at Gigafactory Texas in Austin.

Recently, we have also seen indications that Tesla is gearing up to have some production of the Tesla Semi at Gigafactory Nevada.

Tesla needs its new 4680 cells for the electric truck

During the conference call following the release of Tesla’s Q4 2020 earnings, the automaker’s management commented on the progress in bringing the Tesla Semi to production.

CEO Elon Musk said that Tesla could bring the electric truck to production right now, but they don’t have the battery cells:

“If we were to make the Semi like right now, which we could easily go into production with the Semi, but we would not have enough cells. We would have to supply cells ourselves for Semi when we are producing the 4680 in volume. But for example, Semi would use typically 5 times the number of cells that a car would use, but it would not sell for 5 times what a car would sell for. So it would not make sense for us to do the Semi right now, but it will absolutely make sense for us to do it as soon as we can address the cell production constraint.”

Tesla confirmed that they still plan to start deliveries of the Tesla Semi this year, but it is likely going to be in low volume using 4680 battery cells from Tesla’s pilot plant in Fremont.

The automaker said that they are on target to reach 10 GWh of production capacity at the plant this year and deploy 100 GWh of production capacity in Berlin and Texas by the end of next year.

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