Tesla pushes back semi-truck launch as it deals with Model 3 delays

9 Oct 2017

Trouble at Tesla Towers. Image: Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock.com

The Tesla semi-truck won’t be revealed in October, according to CEO Elon Musk.

It’s no secret that Tesla has been dealing with some production issues regarding the Model 3 in recent months. Last week, it was reported that thousands of customers who ordered their Model 3 cars will have to wait for a while as bottlenecks in the production line were cited for the slow-down.

Only 220 Model 3 vehicles have been delivered to customers since its launch this summer, despite Tesla having as many as 400,000 orders for the car on its books.

Bottlenecks and natural disasters

The long-awaited electric semi-truck was supposed to be unveiled on 26 October, but Musk tweeted that this would be pushed back to 16 November. He cited the need to work on the bottlenecks evident with the Model 3 as the primary reason for the reshuffled schedule.

In a statement, Tesla said: “It is important to emphasise that there are no fundamental issues with the Model 3 production or supply chain. We understand what needs to be fixed and we are confident of addressing the manufacturing bottleneck issues in the near-term.”

Shares in Tesla fell after a Wall Street Journal report on 6 October alleged that Tesla was building large portions of the Model 3 by hand. According to CNBC, shares dipped by 2.2pc after today’s market open (9 October). The company called this report “fundamentally wrong and misleading”.

Musk had responded on Sunday (8 October) with an Instagram video of the automated production line for the Model 3.

The Model 3 body line slowed down to 1/10th speed

A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on

Tesla dismisses ‘misleading’ report

A Tesla statement issued to CNBC said that the report in The Wall Street Journal was misleading. The company took issue with the paper writing about some of the manual processes as a revelation, when in fact “every vehicle manufacturing line in the world has both manual and automated processes, including the Model S and Model X line today”.

The statement was firm and explained that the company is just currently in a production dip. “We are simply working through the S-curve of production that we drew out for the world to see at our launch event in July. There’s a reason it’s called production hell.”

Musk also said that Tesla is working with Puerto Rico, sending hundreds of its power bank units along with technicians to set them up. Understandably, this scale of disaster relief will contribute to the postponement of the semi-truck reveal.

Image of a Tesla service centre in Indianapolis via Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock.com

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects