By on June 10, 2020

Tesla Semi, Image: Tesla

Tesla’s valuation got a big boost on Wednesday after CNBC published the contents of a company memo. In it, CEO Elon Musk told employees that it’s time to get cracking on the electric semi truck he said would reach customers in 2019.

Could be, especially given the lengthy delay that followed his initial 2017 promise. The timing is even more suspect given this week’s proclamation by a would-be rival.

Tiny Nikola, which aims to build an electric semi truck of its own, as well as an electric pickup with the help of an undisclosed automaker, saw its market cap soar to $26 billion Tuesday just on the strength of that promise alone. Wall Street’s reaction was something we’ve seen with Tesla in the past, and indeed, the following day saw Tesla’s leaked memo do the same. Tesla’s stock rushed past $1,000 a share.

“It’s time to go all out and bring the Tesla Semi to volume production. It’s been in limited production so far, which has allowed us to improve many aspects of the design,” Musk said in the memo. “Production of the battery and powertrain would take place at Giga Nevada, with most of the other work probably occurring in other states.”

Musk confirmed the memo via Twitter, claiming he didn’t yet know where final assembly of the electric class 8 trucks would take place. Nor did he offer a timeline for a market entry.

Back in 2017, after Tesla revealed a semi concept to an unsuspecting public, Musk claimed the vehicle would reach customers in 2019. That date came and went with no ultra-green (and presumably ultra heavy) class 8 truck; at the time, Tesla was trying to get the Model 3 out the door. The Model Y crossover was to follow, lending the impression that Tesla, with only a single U.S. assembly plant to its name, was looking far down the road.

In an April 2020 earnings report, Tesla stated that production and deliveries of its semi truck would be delayed until 2021. With that year now only 6 months away and still no assembly site chosen, it’s probably understandable why Musk failed to provide a timeline. Seems unlike him, to be frank.

Then again, maybe the lack of clarity helped the company’s valuation. All investors heard was what they wanted to hear, and Tesla closed the day with a share price of $1,025.25 — its highest showing ever.

[Image: Tesla]

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22 Comments on “It’s Semi Time, Musk Says, Pushing Tesla’s Stock Into the Ionosphere...”


  • avatar

    irrational exuberance at it’s finest.

  • avatar
    boowiebear

    I was just reviewing electric car market share numbers yesterday, The predictions are all over the place. Current market share globally is around 2%. Some crazy annual growth rates are needed to get to larger shares. I believe the 2% is all early adopters whom benefited from the tax credit. With the costs and trade-offs with gas engines, it will be tough for them to get over the hump to mainstream. I could be wrong. I was wrong about the iPad. Investors want something to believe in I guess.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      @boowiebear: It isn’t so much their EV business that everyone is getting excited over. It’s their move into the power distribution business. A lot of money to be made there. Tesla Energy is going to be their real money maker.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    These things are amazing.
    Since it’s downhill from Giga Nevada to Fremont, the trucks transporting battery packs and drive assemblies actually arrive with more charge than they left with. And they’re empty (lighter) going back so the round trip is basically free!
    (at least that’s what the Musk followers claim)

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    Al Capone said not to invest in the stock market cuz its a racket. Heres exhibit a.

    Stocks aside if you want to see a battery vs gas parallel comparison look at the battery lawn mowers vs the gas ones. Itll show you the future when theres more electric cars makers to choose from. Youll see similar parallels.

    • 0 avatar
      boowiebear

      I did do some research on battery mowers. Pretty interesting market. So many manufacturers and models. I wasn’t able to find one that fit my needs just yet, but may look at it when my Toro dies…if it ever does. I was surprised to see steel decks instead of aluminum. I think the use case for an electric mower is a slam dunk. Limited time/distance, charging only needed in one location. Though the batteries for the Toro model is $249!!

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Maybe the electrics will change things, but as much as I am in the “I only buy new” camp for cars, I hate new mowers. They all seem to be cost cut.to death. Honestly I think my last used mower may have been my greatest score on a wheeled vehicle ever. I mean like Wayne Carini finding that unrestored Stutz Bearcat in a barn in Georgia.

        1985 John Deere lawn tractor with a Kawasaki motor. Owned since new by a retired rocket scientist that had worked on the Saturn V program and the Shuttle among others. Came with a stack of original manuals, receipts and and parts he’d stockpiled. 200 bucks. I almost hate to use it it’s in such good shape. Fires right up every time. My Dad’s new Deere is flimsy garbage in comparison. Anyway, I love that mower. Hopefully the electrics are built to that level.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    The concept is good; the shape of the tractor, combined with some aerodynamic work on the trailer, can realize remarkable ‘fuel’ mileage, as the Shell Aerodynamic Demonstrator shows. Adding the electric drive with the massive torque to help it get to speed more quickly than any diesel means this thing can get the equivalent of 21 to 27 mpg.

    • 0 avatar
      TimK

      I remember all of those articles in the 1960s about the gas turbine revolution that would change the trucking industry. Same kind of breathless hype and aerodynamic prototypes from GM and Ford. Here we are sixty years later and they’re all still diesels. Good luck to Tesla, maybe they have a battery breakthrough in their back pocket.

      • 0 avatar
        boowiebear

        I agree, energy density and recharge speed would seem to really limit the use. Maybe short-haul local makes sense. Tough to out do such a proven technology such as diesel without some over-arching environmental mandate trying to mess with normal market incentives.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        “maybe they have a battery breakthrough in their back pocket.”

        According to the numerous articles and their patent filings, they have several breakthroughs. The “tabless” technology, new electrode technology, and the Maxwell dry electrode process are just a few.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Kind of exciting. Getting a semi just thinking about it.

  • avatar

    Future looks exciting. The company which comes first with electric semi will dominate the market like Tesla does with BEVs. How many mainstream Tesla-killers failed to even try to challenge Tesla not because they did not try but because it turned out to be hard, because all smart people are in Silicon Valley. Go Tesla!

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      There are already a number of electric semis on the road, from Daimler Benz, BYD and others. Problem is, they all have roughly 200 miles of range or less, about ⅔ of Tesla’s claimed MINIMUM range and maybe ⅓ of their claimed maximum range.

      • 0 avatar
        boowiebear

        “Claimed” is key. Other makers have a leg up in the sense that their Semi’s are real and can be iterated on with feedback from users in the 2-3 years it will take Tesla to deliver.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          @boowiebear: Your response is acknowledged and accepted; however, Tesla has a habit of achieving its claims–at least where range is concerned. I do expect that 300 miles is perfectly achievable, even with battery packs on the tractor unit alone. I also believe that the 600+ miles is also achievable on the tractor alone… simply carrying more battery packs. Keep in mind that a diesel tractor still has ballast weight over the front axle to maintain a fixed minimum weight over the steer wheels. That weight alone is the equivalent of 2-4 Model S battery packs, even more once you take the engine out. Remove the transmission and driveshaft to the differentials and that tractor can carry quite a few batteries without gaining all that much weight.

          That said, a much more effective replacement for OTR trucks would be hydrogen fuel cells. The truck chassis is big enough to carry all the conversion area it needs for 1000 horsepower equivalent power plus hydrogen enough to exceed 1000 miles of range as well.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            @vulpine: We still don’t know the gravimetric density of the battery packs. They’ve made a lot of breakthroughs. It has to be over 300-350 Wh/kg at this point. Maybe they’ve even managed to hit 500. We could possibly be looking at packs half the weight of current technology. Won’t know for sure until battery day whenever they finally decide to have it.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    My forays with the Tesla stock has led to nothing but heartache. From when I bought it in 2011 at $34 and sold for no profit after getting tired of it stagnating for a year to my stop-loss at $460 in mid-March after having bought back in in 2014. I just can’t seem to catch a break with it.
    What little I have now I’m definitely holding onto no matter what. So… RIP Tesla.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    I would have thought that Tesla’s stockholders–and especially stakeholders–are more interested in autonomous semis than electric semis.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    I would have thought that Tesla’s stockholders–and especially stakeholders–are more interested in autonomous semis than electric semis.

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