The long-awaited Semi truck from Tesla arrives on the road with a 500-mile range
- December 5, 2022
The first production models of Tesla’s long-awaited Semi truck have been delivered to PepsiCo, the world’s largest food and beverage company. At a launch event on Friday, the automaker shared the news and some impressive information about the electric big rig’s range and performance.
In 2016, Tesla first mentioned an all-electric heavy-duty truck in CEO Elon Musk’s Master Plan, Part Deux. The goal was to cut costs, increase safety, and reduce the environmental impact of cargo transportation. A year after its unveiling, the Tesla Semi received pre-orders from companies like Budweiser and was scheduled for delivery in 2019.
According to Musk at the launch event on Friday, the Semi has since been put through “hardcore” testing in a variety of conditions after being delayed for three years by the pandemic and other factors. The ridiculous Model S Plaid’s tri-motor configuration and carbon-sleeve rotors are used in the vehicle’s powertrain, which Tesla claims give it three times more powerful than any diesel truck currently on the road.
Musk explained that while one of these motors is always engaged, two of them—torque and acceleration—can actually disconnect to prevent unnecessary spinning, enhancing the truck’s highway efficiency. Regenerative braking captures kinetic energy on the way down, allowing it to tackle everyday inclines with speed while pulling 82,000 lb (37 metric tons).
A fully loaded Tesla Semi straight off the production line weighing 81,000 lb (36.7 tons) was put through its paces on a November 25 test drive, traveling 500 miles (804 kilometers) on a single charge.
“This wasn’t some ultra-clean, precise test track simulation, or something where we shut down a road,” said Tesla engineering chief Dan Priestley. “Nope, this is real-world … this is with traffic, this is true 500 miles.”
With drivers seated in the middle and large touchscreen displays on either side, the video of this test drive provides a look inside the cabin. The driver has space to stand up and change clothes, as well as space for personal cargo storage and wireless device charging because the cabin was designed around them.
With a streamlined plan that is more “bullet” than “barn door,” Tesla asserts the Semi utilizes under 2 kWh of energy for each mile (1.6 km). It has also developed novel charging technology that delivers megawatt-class charging through liquid-cooled cables. Musk stated that this technology will also be available for the Tesla Cybertruck when it sells.
Musk confirmed at the presentation’s conclusion that deliveries are currently underway, with the first cargo runs carrying Frito-Lay snacks completed a day earlier.