Tesla said on Tuesday it would invest more than $3.6 billion to expand its Nevada manufacturing complex with two new factories, including the first facility to mass produce its long-delayed Semi electric truck.
The other factory will make new battery cells, called 4680, and have the capacity to make enough batteries for 2 million light-duty vehicles annually. Together, the plants will employ about 3,000 people.
The Elon Musk-led company’s existing complex in the city of Sparks makes lithium-ion batteries, vehicle parts and other products such as Powerwall, a power backup system for consumers.
Unveiled in 2017, the Semi was initially expected to go into production in 2019 but its first delivery was delayed to December, when Musk handed a vehicle to PepsiCo. The move marked Tesla’s first foray into the trucking business.
The 18-wheeler truck has a range of 500 miles on a single charge and can carry 81,000 pounds including the cargo. It may qualify for tax credits of $40,000 offered for clean commercial vehicles under the Inflation Reduction Act, which was signed into law in August.
Tesla Chair Robyn Denholm said in November that Tesla might produce 100 Semis in 2022, but the company did not disclose any figure in its fourth-quarter production report.
The EV maker aims to produce 50,000 of the trucks in 2024, Musk had said on a post-earnings call in October.
PepsiCo plans to roll out 100 Semis in 2023. Other customers for the truck include brewer Anheuser-Busch, United Parcel Service and Walmart.
The Semi will face competition from Daimler’s Freightliner, Volvo and Nikola Corp, which have also rolled out their own battery-powered trucks.