The Head of Tesla's Heavy Truck Unit Has Left
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Jerome Guillen, the recently appointed Tesla Heavy Trucking Unit president, has stepped down after barely three months in office. The long-time Tesla Executive was appointed in March to head the Heavy Trucking Unit, which is also in charge of the self-driving car's production.
While Tesla didn't shed light on the reason for his departure, the automaker praised Guillen for his contribution to the company. In fact, in an official Tesla report, Chief Financial Officer Zachary Kirkhorn said "We thank him for his many contributions and wish him well in his future career."
Tesla appointed Guillen in 2010 as the head of the Tesla Model S program. He later served as the vice president of worldwide sales and service before becoming the vice president of trucks and other programs in 2016. Guillen later on (from 2018) became the head of automotive, a position he left in 2021 to steer the Heavy Trucking Unit.
Before joining Tesla in 2010, Guillen served as an executive at Daimler, where he oversaw the successful development of the Cascadia truck program.
A blow to semi-truck production
Tesla isn't new to executive turnovers, according to Bloomberg. However Guillen's departure from his position as one of the top four execs in Tesla’s leadership is a huge loss to the electric car giant. This is especially true while the world is eagerly waiting for the Tesla semi-trucks, which was Guillen’s responsibility.
At Tesla, he has been in charge of the Tesla Semi, a heavy-duty all-electric truck that Tesla promises to be the safest truck ever. The semi-truck, which is expected to disrupt the heavy transportation industry, is yet to hit the road as expected, as there are not enough cells to put semi-trucks into production.
While the CEO, Musk, is convinced that the production of the new higher-density 4860 battery cells will solve the cell production issue, it's still not entirely clear when these eagerly awaited trucks will arrive.
The trucks, which were expected to start trickling into the market in 2019, will probably arrive in late 2021 unless the delivery date is postponed further to 2022.
Competition is stiffening in the electric truck segment
With Guillen gone, the production of Tesla's semi-trucks will probably delay further. If so, the delay will open opportunities for other automakers to catch up, creating competition. Over time, enhanced competition will disrupt the monopoly status that Tesla would otherwise enjoy in the semi-truck market.
Many truck manufacturers are promising to produce more electric trucks soon, like the Ford E-Transit van and Daimler Freightliner eCascadia. This means that the more Tesla delays with the semi-truck productions, the more it opens up room for stiffer competition in the coming years.
More problems for the electric car giant?
Tesla recently canceled the production of its Model S Plaid+, a sedan that was expected to achieve a quarter-mile within 9 seconds or less. The model was initially to be released in late 2021 before the production date pushed further to mid-2022, but the model is now canceled altogether.
While Musk points out that the Model S Plaid+ is unnecessary because the Model S Plaid is "just so good", there's the possibility that the use of 4680 batteries (which also power the canceled model) is proving difficult to implement.
Absolutely, this cancellation will create room for competition from other players like Rimac Nevera and Lucid Air.
Expectations are still high
Amidst the problems facing Tesla, there's hope the semi-truck will be available in 2022. With a 300 to 500 mile range, the ability to haul over 80,000 pounds of cargo, and the improved security features, Consumer Reports feels that Tesla semi-trucks will indeed revolutionize the transportation industry. Many trucking companies such as DHL, Walmart, and FedEx have already made bookings hoping to cut shipping costs in the future.