Automotive

Tesla's long-awaited Semi hits the highway with a 500-mile range

Tesla's long-awaited Semi hits the highway with a 500-mile range
Tesla has commenced delivery of its all-electric Semi
Tesla has commenced delivery of its all-electric Semi
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Tesla has delivered the first production models of its Semi truck to PepsiCo
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Tesla has delivered the first production models of its Semi truck to PepsiCo
A look inside the Tesla Semi cabin
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A look inside the Tesla Semi cabin
Tesla has commenced delivery of its all-electric Semi
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Tesla has commenced delivery of its all-electric Semi
Graph detailing the performance of Tesla's Semi across a 500-mile test run
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Graph detailing the performance of Tesla's Semi across a 500-mile test run
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Tesla’s long-awaited Semi truck is now being rolled out to its first customers, with the first production models landing in the hands of food and beverage giant PepsiCo. The automaker revealed the news at a launch event on Friday, while sharing some impressive details on the electric big rig’s range and performance.

Tesla first flagged an all-electric heavy-duty truck in CEO Elon Musk’s Master Plan, Part Deux back in 2016, with the aim of improving the costs and safety associated with cargo transport, and of course its environmental footprint. The Tesla Semi was revealed a year later, with pre-orders from the likes of Budweiser following and deliveries planned for 2019.

Tesla has delivered the first production models of its Semi truck to PepsiCo
Tesla has delivered the first production models of its Semi truck to PepsiCo

The pandemic and other factors combined to delay these deliveries for three years, but the Semi has since been put through “hardcore” testing in a range of conditions, according to Musk at the launch event on Friday. The vehicle’s powertrain shares the same tri-motor configuration and carbon-sleeve rotors as the ridiculous Model S Plaid, which Tesla says affords it three times the power of any diesel truck on the road.

One of those motors is constantly engaged, while two of those motors, for torque and acceleration, can actually disconnect so that they’re not spinning unnecessarily, Musk explained, improving the efficiency of the truck along the highway. It even does so while pulling 82,000 lb (37 metric tons), and has an ability to tackle everyday inclines with speed, with regenerative braking capturing kinetic energy on the way down.

Graph detailing the performance of Tesla's Semi across a 500-mile test run
Graph detailing the performance of Tesla's Semi across a 500-mile test run

This powertrain was put through its paces on a November 25 test drive, in which a fully-loaded Tesla Semi straight off the production line weighing 81,000 lb (36.7 tons), traveled 500 miles (804 km) 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.”

The video of this test run offers a look at life inside the cabin, with drivers seated in the center and large touchscreen displays on either side. Designing the cabin around the driver in this way also allows them room to stand up and change clothes, along with space for personal cargo storage and wireless device charging.

A look inside the Tesla Semi cabin
A look inside the Tesla Semi cabin

With an aerodynamic design that is more “bullet” than "barn door," Tesla claims the Semi uses less than 2 kWh of energy per mile (1.6 km). It has also developed new charging technology with liquid-cooled cables to deliver megawatt-class charging, which Musk said will also be available for the Tesla Cybertruck when it goes on sale.

Deliveries are now underway, Musk confirmed at the end of the presentation, with the first cargo runs packed with snacks from PepsiCo subsidiary Frito-Lay completed a day earlier.

You can check out the full presentation below.

Source: Tesla (Twitter)

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6 comments
6 comments
Manuel Harder
Isn't it interesting that they never mention the payload, the most important thing :)
Chase
@Manuel Harder, The Drive did an article speculating that the battery pack has to be at least 850kWh to go that far with that efficiency, and rough math would put the battery pack north of 10,000lbs on its own. I wouldn't be surprised if these trucks are pushing the highest-end of the average for a Class 8 truck at around 35,000lbs.
claudio
Seems strange that the truck is equipped with 2 standard huge rearview mirrors vs. now fairly common (on new trucks here in Europe) side cameras, much more aerodynamically effective
Jinpa
How long did it take to recharge it, using what voltage? Compare to refilling gas/diesel tanks. That would be unpaid dead time for a driver. How many recharge kiosks are available at the recharge station(s) for these big-battery rigs? Tesla cherrypicking facts facts for a P.R. handout isn't very convincing, especially since Musk has closed its PR department and doesn't take questions.
claudio
These are the specs of the Volvo FH Electric currently sold in Europe:

Battery capacity 180–540kWh, 2-6 batteries.
Charging time (full charge​) 9.5h with AC (43 kW)
​ 2.5h with DC (250 kW)
Range Up to 300km/186miles (4x2 tractor trailer)

In order for the Tesla semi to do 500miles/800km you'd need roughly triple sized batteries and it'd take triple time to charge them... good luck with that
Donn Treece
The article states that the PVW of the truck with payload was 81000 pounds. To the best of my recollection, having driven semis for 25 years. that exceeds the allowable GVW by 1000 pounds. Coming down from Fremont you have at least 2 scales on I5 alone. Neither of them caught you running overweight?