Longtime Tesla senior official Jerome Guillen has resigned from his position as the president of Tesla Heavy Trucking, a position that he had held since March 11. His previous roles in the company included overseeing automotive operations, sales and service, and engineering, as well as overseeing the development of the Model S sedan.
“We thank him for his many contributions and wish him well in his future career,” Tesla said in an update to paperwork filed with the SEC that reflected Guillen’s resignation.
Guillen had previously served as the director of business innovation at Daimler AG, which made the decision to buy battery packs and motors from Tesla in 2009, a move that helped save Tesla from bankruptcy. His experience in semi truck manufacturing includes working on product development for the truck manufacturer Freightliner.
The Tesla Semi has faced multiple delays since the debut of a prototype in November 2017. Musk had initially planned on making it available to customers by the end of 2019. Now the Semi may begin production near the end of 2021 or be pushed back to 2022. These delays could be seen as simply a function of Elon Musk’s typically ambitious product development timelines that often get pushed back.
Much of the holdup has been caused by delays in the development of a “heavy-duty” lithium-ion battery that can handle the task of powering a semi truck. Some experts say that it would be next to impossible to create a battery that would make an electric semi truck suitable for long hauls.
Both Tesla and some battery makers that supply the automotive industry have been working on improvements to battery technology that may help make long-haul trucking using trucks like the Tesla Semi more feasible. An Israeli company recently developed a battery that can add 100 miles of range to an average electric vehicle in just five minutes, for instance.
Companies that have already placed pre-orders plan on using it for hauls that take less than a day due to limitations in its range. They have shown a willingness to be patient as they wait for a truck that can help them meet their goals of making their operations more environmentally friendly. Walmart Canada even tripled its order of Tesla Semis in September 2020.
Tesla plans to manufacture the Semi at the Gigafactory near Reno, Nevada, and at the Gigafactory currently under construction in Austin, Texas. The Austin factory is expected to employ about 10,000 people. Elon Musk has called for more housing in the Austin area and made $30 million in donations for education and community improvement projects in the Boca Chica area in a bid to make Texas more attractive to qualified engineers and technicians who can work at his companies.
He has said that he expects Austin to be America’s next boom town in the wake of his dispute with the state of California over its response to COVID-19. Even before that dispute, Tesla decided that Austin would be a good place to build Cybertrucks and Semis. Now it has a new job opening for president of Tesla Heavy Trucking in the wake of Jerome Guillen’s departure.