Five years after its unveiling and three years after it was initially supposed to go into production, the first Tesla Semi truck was officially delivered to a customer, in this case Pepsi. As usual, Tesla organized an event to mark the occasion, but even though everybody was expecting Elon Musk and his team to reveal more about the all-electric hauler, not that much new information was actually shared.
PepisCo used its first Tesla Semi to deliver snacks to the event. The company ordered 100 Semi trucks back in 2017 in a bid to cut on fuel costs and transport-related carbon emissions. The snack and beverage giant said it would use these electric trucks to haul cargo between its two plants in California (the Frito-Lay plant in Modesto and the beverage factory in Sacramento).
Elon didn’t even take questions at the end of the presentation, suggesting that the company still wasn’t ready to fully detail the truck’s specs, exact pricing or how it has been handling putting this model into production – these surely would have been among the questions he would have received.
He did mention that the Tesla Semi would be the first Tesla vehicle to run on a 1,000-volt electrical architecture, which is necessary in order to enable the vehicle to charge at the kind of rates the company has advertise. We already knew Tesla had advertised the Semi would be able to charge at ultra-fast rates of up to 1 MW, which require “immersion cooling technology” to keep charging cables from literally melting.
This tech will allow the truck to gain 70 percent state of charge in just 30 minutes, and according to Tesla this tech will trickle down to the Cybertruck too, so expect that to have a class-leading charging capability.
The Tesla CEO also clarified that the Semi is able to drive up to 500 miles on one charge, even when it’s loaded, and the company uploaded a timelapse video (embedded above) showing that it was possible. This is quite remarkable and according to Musk the truck used just under 2 kWh/mile, which means that for a 500-mile trip it would require a battery approaching 1,000 kWh capacity.
One of the ways the manufacturer could have achieved the truck’s good efficiency may have something to do with the fact that unless extra power is needed, only one of the truck’s three (reportedly Model S Plaid) motors are working, and the other two spin into life only when needed. The truck can apparently accelerate from standstill to sixty in 20 even when laden.
Another comment made by Musk during the presentation had to do with the Semi’s driving dynamics. He mentioned that when not loaded, it feels quick and it’s just like any other Tesla to drive. “This thing has crazy power relative to a diesel truck,” he said, “basically it’s like an elephant moving like a cheetah… If you’re a trucker and you want the most badass rig on the road, this is it.”