Tesla has delivered its first semi-electric Tesla trucks to customers and revealed details of its production version of the vehicle, delivering on a five-year-old promise.
Today, the company held its Tesla Semi Delivery event in Nevada.
As expected, Tesla delivered the first electric trucks to longtime reservation holder Pepsico and held a presentation to reveal more details about the production version of the Tesla Semi.
There were no big surprises during the presentation.
Tesla has essentially delivered on its original promises made in 2017 when it first unveiled prototypes of the Tesla Semi.
Despite the lack of major changes, it’s still a big moment since the electric truck has the potential to change the trucking industry for good by eliminating emissions and dramatically reducing costs.
The company started by explaining why it was changing from manufacturing consumer electric vehicles to a Class 8 electric truck. Together, they represent approximately 20% of emissions:
Clearly, battery electric Class 8 trucks have the potential to significantly reduce those numbers.
But they need to be just as capable, if not more so, than diesel tractor-trailers to conquer the market, and that’s exactly what Tesla claims to deliver.
In terms of the technology powering the truck, things have changed since the original prototypes, but not in a major way.
Tesla now uses a three-motor drivetrain which is basically the same as the Model S and Model X Plaid.
Dan Priestley, Tesla Semi program manager, explained that Tesla uses one of the motors for cruising geared towards maximum efficiency at highway speeds and the other two motors are used for torque when cranking. acceleration to create a smooth driving experience never seen in a Class 8 truck before.
To prove the capability, Tesla shared a very impressive video of an 82,000 pound loaded Tesla Semi driving past a diesel truck at a 6% incline on Donner Pass as if nothing had happened:
Okay, it’s powerful, but can it travel long distances? Well, yes it is possible. Tesla promised 500 miles of range on a full charge five years ago, and it delivered.
Tesla shared data for a 500 mile drive with a full load of just under 82,000 lbs total with the tractor. It started in the Bay Area with a 97% state of charge and ended in San Diego with still 4% charge:
Tesla reiterated that it can achieve less than 2 kWh per mile efficiency, which means trucking companies can realize up to $70,000 in fuel savings per year depending on their electricity cost.
Once the battery is depleted after around 500 miles, you can expect lightning-fast charging thanks to the new 1 megawatt charging technology developed by Tesla. The automaker also said it will be coming to the Cybertruck.
It felt like I was back in 2012 with the event as Elon Musk again listed some basic benefits of electric vehicles that people coming from internal combustion engines wouldn’t necessarily experience, like drivers of truck that haven’t had the opportunity to go electric just yet.
Things like regenerative braking, which can greatly improve safety in trucks, and the millisecond reaction time of electric motors, which results in better traction control.
Tesla also unveiled several quality of life features for Tesla Semi drivers, such as an automatic suspension dump for easy trailer locking, a stand-up cab, and easy-to-use light controls. inspections.
There is no doubt that the interior of the vehicle is cool and quite a change from most diesel trucks on the market today.
Now these machines are in the hands of customers for the first time, starting with Pepsico/Frito Lay.
There were no major surprises out of the event other than maybe the Cybertruck will have the same charging tech, but that’s not really about the Tesla Semi.
It felt like it was more about keeping promises made five years ago, and they mostly did, to their credit.
There are only two major points that Tesla hasn’t discussed that I think are important and we should know about: price and weight.
Tesla has not updated the price, which was originally $200,000. I feel like that may have changed after five years, but no news from Tesla on that.
The other thing is the actual tractor weight, which is critical since tractor weight dictates load weight and load is trucking business. How much a truck can carry means how much money a trip can make to a certain degree.
Class 8 trucks have a total limit (truck plus trailer with load) of 80,000 lbs and the tractor itself weighs between 12,000 and 25,000 lbs depending on the model. The difference is what it can carry.
Tesla only mentioned a total weight of 82,000 pounds (electric trucks are allowed an additional 2,000 pounds) during the event, but it never confirmed the Tesla Semi’s weight or load capacity. That would be important information to have.
Missing these two important pieces of information aside, I feel like the event was impressive and that Tesla could have a very disruptive new product on its hands.
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