By Matt McFarland, CNN Business
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Thursday that production of its Semi truck has begun, and deliveries to one customer, Pepsi, will occur in December.
Pepsi said in a statement Friday that the trucks will support its Frito-Lay plant in Modesto California, and its Pepsi beverage plant in Sacramento. Neither Musk nor Pepsi said how many trucks would be delivered.
“We are looking forward to this next step in our PepsiCo Positive journey and will provide more details once we have taken delivery,” PepsiCo spokesperson Andrea Foote said, referring to the company’s sustainability efforts.
Tesla first announced the Semi in November 2017 and production was said to begin in 2019. Companies like Walmart, FedEx, Anheuser-Busch, City Furniture and J.B. Hunt Transport Services have claimed they have made reservations. Production delays are common at Tesla. Its Cybertruck production was announced to begin in 2021 but has been pushed back to next year, and the second generation of Tesla Roadster, which was originally announced at the same event as the Semi, was supposed to go into production in 2020, but that has been pushed back to 2023 at the earliest.
Musk reiterated Thursday that the Semi will have a range of 500 miles. Electric trucks are well-suited for some routes, but their heavy weight compared to diesel and fuel cell trucks can force businesses to scale back heavy loads.
Musk made the announcement following the news Tuesday that he’s revived his original proposal to buy Twitter for $44 billion. Musk had previously attempted to terminate the deal last month, claiming Twitter violated the agreement by misrepresenting the number of spam and fake bot accounts on the social media platform.
Musk, the world’s richest man, has sold about $15 billion in Tesla stock this year, but it’s still not clear if Musk has sufficient liquid funds to close the Twitter deal. Musk, who has received commitments for debt and equity financing, may need to sell additional shares of Tesla to finance the purchase. He could also sell shares of SpaceX, borrow against his holdings in Tesla or SpaceX, or raise money from other investors. Any borrowings to finance the deal have gotten much more expensive recently, however, as interest rates have risen.
Musk’s text messages from earlier this year, which were revealed recently during an ongoing legal battle with Twitter, showed conversations to raise billions from wealthy contacts of his, including Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison.
Musk’s Semi truck announcement did not immediately jolt Tesla stock higher. Tesla shares fell roughly 5% in trading Friday morning.
Tesla did not respond to a request for comment and generally does not engage with the professional news media.
— CNN’s Chris Isidore contributed to this report.
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