Better late than never. Electric-car maker Tesla (TSLA 12.06%) is about to ramp up production of its long-awaited semi truck, with the first deliveries occurring on Dec. 1. When Tesla Semi was unveiled nearly five years ago, the plan was to bring it to market by 2019.

With 500 miles of range, the new all-electric truck will be the company's first commercial vehicle, CEO Elon Musk revealed on Twitter Thursday afternoon. More importantly, the start of Tesla Semi production is a sign that some of the automaker's production constraints are easing, as the truck's delayed launch was primarily due to supply chain challenges.

Reintroducing you to Tesla Semi

Though investors likely read about Tesla Semi when it was announced in 2017, it's been long enough that a refresher on the upcoming vehicle makes sense. At the time of its launch, the vehicle's 500 miles of range was perhaps the biggest surprise. Impressively, this estimated range is achievable with an 82,000-pound gross combination weight, or the total weight of the vehicle, cargo, passengers, and trailer combined.

For comparison, Tesla's entry-level Model 3 has an estimated driving range of 267 miles. The Model S can drive about 375 miles on a single charge.

According to the electric-vehicle company's website, Tesla will also eventually bring to market a 300-mile range version of the vehicle. But in his tweet this week, Musk only mentioned the start of production of the 500-mile-range version.

Other impressive stats about the truck include a zero-to-60 miles per hour acceleration time of 20 seconds, a 70% charge in 30 minutes using Tesla's Semi chargers, over-the-air software updates, and remote diagnostics.

Improving production constraints?

One of the main reasons Tesla has waited until the end of 2022 to begin deliveries of Tesla Semi has been supply chain issues. In 2021, much of the company's resources and attention were dedicated to addressing various production constraints. With supply chain challenges persisting into 2022, management actually said in its January earnings call that it would not introduce any new products this year. "It would not make any sense because we'll still be parts-constrained," Musk explained during the call.

With Tesla now starting production of Tesla Semi, and the first deliveries of the new vehicle set to begin on Dec. 1, perhaps the company's production constraints are improving.

There's certainly been evidence of accelerating production in the company's quarterly deliveries, offering more anecdotal evidence of an improved supply chain environment. Third-quarter deliveries were a quarterly record of about 325,000, up 42% year over year and 35% sequentially. And even these figures understate the company's production progress, as it ended the quarter with an abnormally high percentage of produced vehicles in transit to customers. Total production for the quarter was about 366,000, up more than 41% sequentially.

Of course, investors should note that Tesla Semi deliveries in 2022 will likely be limited. Indeed, Musk only mentioned one customer taking deliveries on Dec. 1 -- though it's a rather large customer. It's Pepsi, which reportedly made reservations for 100 Tesla semi trucks.

It's not out of the ordinary, however, for initial deliveries to be limited -- especially for Tesla. The company's new-vehicle production usually ramps up on an S-curve, with slow increases in production initially, followed by a sharp acceleration later.