Back in 2017, a little company called Pepsico placed an order for 100 of Tesla’s freshly-unveiled Semi trucks. In the intervening few years, the Semi has faced delay after delay after delay; yet, somehow, despite Tesla not yet having built any Semi production facilities, Pepsico’s CEO thinks the company will take delivery of fifteen trucks by the end of 2021. What?
In an interview with CNBC, Pepsico’s CEO, Ramon Laguarta, claimed the company was expecting its first Tesla Semi trucks to enter its fleet by the end of 2021. From CNBC:
“Transportation is about 10% of our overall gas emissions so it’s important and we’re working on different solutions,” responded Laguarta. “We replace our fleet regularly, every ten years more or less...and we’re already starting to buy electric trucks actually from Tesla. I mean I don’t want to promote anybody but that’s the brand we’re using so far and we’re getting our first deliveries this Q4.”
Laguarta’s use of Q4 as a deadline does offer some flexibility. Many companies have a fiscal year that extends into the following calendar year, with Q4 of 2021 actually ending in January of 2022. Unfortunately for Laguarta, Pepsico isn’t one of those companies — their fiscal year ends before the calendar year does.
Tesla, to its credit, has made some headway on Semi production. The company has leased another building near its Giga Nevada plant where it will build some components of the truck. It’s begun installing “Megacharger” charging stations in Nevada as well, which are rumored to be used for test trips between Nevada and Fremont in prototype Semis.
Those are all baby steps, however, for an automaker that hasn’t yet decided which plant will actually do the final assembly of the Semi. Tesla’s Q3 quarterly update for investors lists the Semi’s status as “in development,” alongside the Roadster and an unnamed “Future Product.” The truck’s production location is marked “TBD,” while even the still-not-in-production Cybertruck has a decided final factory.
With Tesla’s priorities focused on the Model Y, then the Cybertruck, and then the Roadster and Semi, it’s unclear why Laguarta is under the impression that Tesla will deliver fifteen Semis this year. With Elon definitively saying production won’t happen until the Tesla can build its 4680 batteries, it may be quite some time before your not-Coke is delivered without diesel.