Tesla’s Model 3 bottlenecks delay unveiling of semi truck

By BLOOMBERG

NEW YORK • Tesla Inc pushed back the reveal of its semi truck by three weeks as CEO Elon Musk focuses on boosting production of the cheaper sedan that the electric-car maker is counting on to dramatically increase sales.

Resources are being diverted to address the bottlenecks holding back the Model 3, Musk wrote in a tweet last Friday. He’s also delaying the semi unveiling to Nov 16 because Tesla is prioritising efforts to increase battery output for Puerto Rico, which has sought the company’s help to restore power following Hurricane Maria.

Tesla built only 260 Model 3 sedans during the third quarter, less than a fifth of its 1,500-unit forecast. The company has offered scant detail about the problems it’s having producing the mission-critical car that starts at US$35,000 (RM148,400), roughly half the cost of the least expensive Model S sedan. A delayed ramp up risks the ire of some of the almost half a million reservation holders who started paying US$1,000 deposits early last year.

“We are deep in production hell,” Musk wrote last Friday, in response to a tweet asking whether those on the Model 3 waiting list would get more information about their car.

Tesla slipped 0.5% to US$354.95 as of 5:35pm in New York last Friday, after the close of regular trading. Optimism about the company’s efforts to mass produce Model 3s has contributed to the stock surging 67% this year.