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The skeptics who thought the Tesla Model Y reveal timing was "curious" - taking place at a time when the company is under regulatory scrutiny from the SEC and its cash balances are constantly being called into question - likely had a point. But now, they are likely going to have a bigger one: Tesla is now accepting $20,000 deposits on its new Semi, per its website, and also taking $200,000 deposits for its "Founders Series" Semi. 

The semi has been in testing since 2017 and has been occasionally spotted on the West Coast. This past Sunday, a new reservation page at Tesla.com went live allowing truckers to put down a deposit for the semi. 



And what would a reservation page for a Semi be without a "Founders Series" option that will cost significantly more? Those that absolutely must do their coast-to-coast trucking in a "Founders Series" edition of the semi (why wound anyone?) would be forced to plunk down a $200,000 deposit.


The Semi is said to "start" at $150,000 for 300 miles of range and $180,000 miles for an extended range model with 500 miles of range. We'll believe that when we see them. As a report notes:

Tesla did not give any estimated delivery date for customers who order a Semi, and the company faces competition from startup Nikola, which is developing electric and fuel-cell powered semis, as well as from established truckmakers such as Daimler, Volvo, truckmakers and PACCAR, which builds Peterbilts and Kenworths. 

The team over at Perseid Capital recently did a cashflow analysis of Tesla to try and figure out how dire the cash situation could be. They put together a schedule of “opportunities to fail” between now and the end of May:

  • 3/14 - Payroll

  • 3/14 - Model Y reveal

  • 3/15 - $11.6M coupon payment on 2022 CV

  • 4/1 - April lease payments

  • 4/1? - $182M Solar City debt repayable

    • I haven’t been able to find an exact date, but most bonds seem due on the 1st

  • 4/2 - Inside EV’s March sales score card

  • 4/11 - Payroll

  • 4/25 - Payroll

  • 5/1 - May lease payments

  • 5/1 - Q1 earnings announcement

  • 5/9 - Payroll

  • 5/23 - Payroll

The Perseid analysis disclaims:

"Of course, these are just dates that could catalyze a crisis. Tesla could run out of cash at any time or not at all. A powder keg could blow without warning. Creditors and/or the executives could force a bankruptcy tomorrow. Or Elon could really be a genius leading Tesla into the future via a paradigm of 'creative chaos'. No promises."

Here are 5 scenarios they modeled for Tesla's cash balance going forward:

As for us, we’re sure that the timing of opening these reservations, coming at a point where the company is arguably in the midst of chaos, is just coincidental and has nothing to do with the company's balance sheet.