Politics aside, Puerto Rico is in a bad place right now. When Hurricane Maria made landfall in late September, it devastated the U.S. territory. Farmers lost their crops, people lost their homes, and the electrical grid was pulverized. Tesla has been making national headlines as CEO Elon Musk gets involved with providing relief to the island, even speaking with the Governor of Puerto Rico to start working on improving their power grid. But, amid Model 3 production delays, this doesn't go without sacrifice to other areas of Tesla's business - namely the Semi event which was scheduled for later this month after being potentially seen in the wild earlier this week.
The Tesla Semi is one of the most anticipated pieces of commercial equipment in quite a long time. The "beast" of a truck is one of Tesla's greatest future contributions to the commercial transportation industry, so as long as Tesla can deliver on the many needs of the industry, including range, power, and the ability to easily (and quickly) recharge. For the second time in a month, Tesla has announced that they will further delay the Semi event until mid-November, raising concerning questions among the public.
We reached out to Tesla regarding the Tweet by Musk regarding the delay, however the company declined to comment.
When Musk took to Twitter about the delays, a lot of mixed responses were given by the community. Some investors were wary about the negative impression that this implies regarding Tesla's readiness of the Model 3, which is already facing production delays. Others griped over their hotel bookings and changes in flight plans, as they had already booked rooms to watch the unveiling of the Semi at the end of the month despite the event being only tentatively scheduled for the October date. No matter the small amount of negativity, the response from the public for the reasoning of aiding Puerto Rico's power grid seemed to be overwhelmingly positive.
More surprising is that the public has had so much interest in something which is more so aimed at large corporations and other independent contractors who will be purchasing the vehicle, rather than the individuals who will be driving alongside them on the road. Such has been called "the Apple effect" by some, denoting the correlation between Apple's user base and that of Tesla's niche tight-knit community.
After Tweeting back and forth about the possibility of powering Puerto Rico by using solar energy and Powerwalls, the Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello indicated on late Friday evening that he has had a "great initial conversation" with the Tesla boss and have begun the process of seeking out solutions to territory's tired and tortured power system.
In addition to offering to Musk has indicated his priority of ramping up battery production for Puerto Rico, presumably to use for its Powerwall appliances that have been relentlessly shipping to the island. The company has also cut off shipments to suppliers who are price gouging for the installation of the units.
Despite the political controversy surrounding the disaster in Puerto Rico and the production hell which continues to prove difficult for the Tesla team, Musk is still continuing to hype up the Semi, calling the specifications of the truck "better than anything [he's] seen reported so far". It's fairly reassuring to know that the industry is still in for a surprise, given that the expectation for range is already 300 miles. Hopefully once the company stabilizes its efforts, and Puerto Rico is back on its feet, things at Tesla will continue to thrive as planned.