You can finally pre-order Tesla’s Semi, the company’s largest vehicle yet — but doing so is going to be an investment. Reservations are officially live on the Tesla website, with $5,000 due at the time of your order and another $15,000 due 10 days later.
That $20,000 guarantees you’ll be one of the first to own the Semi, whenever it finally drops. When, exactly, your reservation will ship out is another question entirely. Tesla doesn’t seem to have any answers on that front.
If you thought that catch was rough, just wait until you hear this. While the initial $5,000 deposit is entirely refundable, the other $15K is absolutely not. Tesla is keeping that cash no matter what. So you’re going to be waiting a long time for that Semi to arrive, and you’re absolutely going to pay for those waiting privileges.
Long time no see — Like many Tesla concepts, the Semi was first shown off as a concept vehicle and then never spoken of again for years. In this case, the first concept was shown off nearly five years ago, with a projected production start in 2019. That was then pushed to 2020 before being delayed again to 2021. By the end of 2021, Musk had revised his estimate to late 2022 or early 2023.
High expectations — The most likely reason for this delay is that, as usual, Tesla has set the bar for itself very high here. The Semi is perhaps the company’s most futuristic concept yet, given how much power is required for hauling an 18-wheeler’s heavy cargo.
The Semi is expected to use Tesla’s new 4680 battery technology, giving it a driving range of about 300 miles per charge (or 500 miles for the fully loaded version). Those estimates go up by about 100 miles when the Semi is running empty. It’s also expected to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 20 seconds.
Just another promise — The thing about these reservations opening up is that, from a production perspective, it’s a pretty meaningless milestone. Tesla will certainly bring in some fresh funding from these pre-orders, but that won’t speed up the Semi’s release. The Cybertruck’s much-extended production timeline is a good reference point here, though in that case, the initial deposit was only $100.
To be fair, the Semi isn’t exactly a consumer vehicle, and making a $20,000 deposit is significantly more feasible for a business than it is for an individual. When it does finally release, the Semi is expected to start at $150,000.