Since the Tesla Semi was first launched in 2017, the anticipated production date has been pushed...

Since the Tesla Semi was first launched in 2017, the anticipated production date has been pushed back several times.

Photo: HDT file photo

Tesla shares topped $1,000 for the first time on June 10, as reports surfaced that the company is pushing to ramp up production of its electric heavy-duty Semi truck.

According to Reuters, Tesla chief Elon Musk told his staff in an email Tuesday before the market opened that it was time to “go all out” to bring the Tesla Semi commercial truck to “volume production,” but he didn’t specify a time frame.

Just a month and a half ago, Musk said in an earnings call that the long-awaited battery-electric truck wouldn’t be in production until 2021.

Tesla’s shares rose about 6% to hit $1,000 on Wednesday after Reuters reported Musk’s email. Reuters noted that Musk’s message coincided with a surge in the share price of rival electric-truck maker Nikola. Nikola on Wednesday announced it had hired former Tesla executive Mark Duchesne to head its manufacturing and former Caterpillar exec Pablo Koziner to head its hydrogen fueling and battery recharging business.

Apparently in response to the latest news about the Semi, Nikola founder Trevor Milton tweeted, “I love the competition!” and touted the Nikola fuel-cell truck’s lighter weight.

The two companies also appear to be in a battle as to who will have a zero-emissions pickup on the market first, the Tesla CyberTruck or the Nikola Badger. Nikola recently announced it is opening up reservations for the Badger on June 29.

“This is Elon making noise because of Nikola,” Ben Kallo, an analyst at Robert W. Baird, told Bloomberg. He said other factors are fueling the Tesla stock’s gain, including strong sales in China and the anticipation of a "Battery Day" event.

Initially, when the Tesla Semi was introduced in 2017, Musk announced production would begin in 2019. Companies such as Anheuser-Busch, J.B. Hunt, Fedex and UPS put in orders. Over the next year, Tesla Semis were spotted along highways and details started to emerge on an electric truck charging network. Then, in April 2019, during Tesla’s first-quarter earnings call, company officials indicated that production would begin in 2020. This was pushed back further in January, when a leaked email sent by Tesla to a company that had reserved one of the Semis reportedly said production would begin in the second half of 2020, with a limited run.

LISTEN: Electric Trucks Might Not Be as Easy as we Thought (HDT Talks Trucking podcast)

Originally posted on Trucking Info

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