Tesla Semi, the automaker’s newly unveiled electric big-rig truck,
will have a base price of $150,000. Tesla’s lowest-priced model is
expected to travel 300 miles on a single charge, while the longer-range
truck will have a 500-mile range and cost $180,000.
Morgan Stanley analysts initially predicted the Semi could start at
$100,000, on the assumption that batteries may be leased separately.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said during the big reveal last week
that the truck would cost less to operate compared to traditional
diesel trucks — to the tune of about $1.26 per mile compared to the
$1.51 per mile it costs to maintain a diesel hauler.
A $20,000 deposit is required to reserve a standard Tesla Semi.
Buyers who want the limited “founders series” must pay the full $200,000
price up front. Production is expected to begin in 2019. Several major
corporations, including Walmart, J.B. Hunt, and Meijer have already placed orders for the Semi.
Semi-relatedly, Tesla’s brand-new Roadster comes in around the same
price point as the Semi: $200,000 for the base model, and $250,000 for
the founders series — the payment for which is due in full, up front.
Roadster production begins in 2020.
Some industry watchers have pointed to the new vehicles as a
cash-grab for Tesla; the company is struggling to overcome production
bottlenecks with its mass-market Model 3, the most affordable, and
most-desired Tesla. There are some 450,000 orders for the compact sedan.
Tesla fell far short of expectations for Model 3 production in the
early going, producing just 260 examples of the car by the end of
September. The company has pushed back production and delivery estimates
as a result.
According to a Bloomberg report published this week,
Tesla in the last 12 months has been burning through about $480,000 per
hour. In the absence of additional funds, the company would run out of
money by next summer, the Bloomberg data concluded. Tesla has previously
said it has the resources to keep the lights on.
Additionally, capital markets and Tesla customers have generally been reliable partners.
Tesla stock hovered between $300 and $320 recently, with some investors
expecting it to touch $400. But, there could be some volatility on the
horizon, according to one Morgan Stanley analyst as investors look for signs of progress on the Model 3 assembly line.
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