There has been a substantial amount of criticism about the lack of pricing information on the up-coming Tesla electric truck. Tesla changed this over the past 24 hours. On a newly released version of the Tesla Semi page, the vehicle is listed at $150,000 for a 300 mile version, $180,000 for a 500 mile version, and $200,000 if you want a limited production “Founders Series” model, which is limited to the first 1000 vehicles.
A diesel truck, such as Freightliner’s Cascadia model costs around $150,000 at retail, with large enterprise fleets paying around $130,000. This pricing is in the same range as other class 8 vehicles for over-the-road trucks.
One other thing of note was that Tesla increased its deposit for orders from $5000 to $20,000. This suggests that they have had incredible demand and want to attract as much free capital as possible. The $20,000 deposit is quite large for commercial vehicles, where companies are sensitive to holding up cash in under performing assets.
The price of the Tesla Semi is certainly surprising, given the promised economics of the truck. Tesla is likely to lose a lot of money in the first couple of years of production, as it builds market-share and ramps up to scale. Many skeptics have pointed out that the batteries alone will cost more than $200,000, based on the specs that the technology is expected to have. Musk is certainly not shy about losing money. One report showing Tesla to lose as much as $20,000 per vehicle produced.
As long as Wall Street continues to finance losses, Tesla can continue to accelerate its burn.
Regardless of the outcome, the other manufacturers are not sitting idly as Tesla threatens their market-share. Many of the OEMs we spoke with have questioned Tesla’s ability to compete, but have also mentioned their own innovative products that are soon to be released- with electrics and semi-autonomous technology on the horizon.
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