It's still unclear when the Tesla Semi electric Class 8 truck will actually start production.  -  Photo: Tesla

It's still unclear when the Tesla Semi electric Class 8 truck will actually start production.

Photo: Tesla

Nearly five years after Elon Musk introduced his electric Class 8 Tesla Semi in a flashy launch event, Tesla has started taking deposits for the truck, at $20,000 each.

However, potential buyers still don’t know when they will actually get their trucks. According to published reports, the Semi won’t be released this year, and it could be next year or later.

The Semi has seen a string of delays since the Semi was unveiled in 2017; at that time, it had a projected date of 2019 for availability. Last fall, supply-chain problems caused Tesla to once again push out the estimated date for production. Most recent indications were 2023 would be the earliest.

According to the Tesla website, Semi reservations require an initial $5,000 credit card payment. A $15,000 wire transfer payment is required for the first Tesla Semi, plus a $20,000 wire transfer for each additional Tesla Semi. Wire transfers are due within 10 days.

Those deposits presumably will be applied toward the Tesla selling price. In 2017, the company posted prices at $150,000 on its Standard variant, and $180,000 for its extended-range version.

Among the companies that previously said they had placed orders were Albertson’s, Anheuser-Busch, Golden State Foods, J.B. Hunt, PepsiCo, Pride Group, Schneider, UPS, and Walmart.

Tesla was noticeably absent at last week’s Advanced Clean Transportation Expo in Long Beach, California, while attendees waited in long lines for a ride-and-drive of Nikola Tre electric trucks, the new Freightliner eCascadia, Hyundai’s fuel-cell electric, and other zero-emissions commercial vehicles.

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