Elon Musk introduced it in 2017 and said it would come in 2019. Three more years later, it’s finally here: Tesla’s first production truck with a semi-electric drive.
Tesla marked the milestone with a Semi Delivery Event Thursday, held at the company’s Nevada Gigafactory, where the first Semi was officially delivered to PepsiCo.
The Semi is a Class 8 electric truck powered by three motors on rear axles, with a range of 300 or 500 miles (depending on configuration), a carrying capacity of 82,000 pounds and 0 to 60 mph acceleration in 20 seconds . “This thing has insane power compared to a diesel truck,” Musk said at the event.
Like other Teslas, the Semi charges quickly: Tesla specs say you can get a 70 percent charge in 30 minutes thanks to Tesla’s one-megawatt liquid-cooled charging technology (the same technology will be used on Tesla’s upcoming Cybertruck). And it brings a lot of Tesla technology from other cars, including the infotainment system, power units and heat pump system. “It looks sick,” Musk said. “The thing looks like it’s from the future. It’s like literally driving a Tesla.”
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To prove that the semi really does have a 500 mile range, Tesla recently recorded a ride where a fully loaded semi made the 500 mile trip from Fremont to San Diego. The company released a time-lapse video of the feat; check it out below
However, those interested are primarily interested in the total cost of ownership. The Semi is expensive — $150,000 for the 300-mile version and $180,000 for the 500-mile version — but the savings come in energy costs (the Semi uses less than two kWh per mile), with the Semi saves up to $250,000 over a million miles, according to Musk.
During the event, Musk reiterated Tesla’s mission statement, which he believes is accelerating the move toward sustainable energy. That’s why the company didn’t just stick with building passenger cars, but also expanded into trucks and pickups with the aim of “covering important forms of terrestrial transport”. On a slide shown during the presentation, the vehicle categories depicted were Luxury (Model S and Model X), Intermediate (Model 3 and Model Y), Commercial (Semi), Pickup (Cybertruck), and a hidden category called “Robotaxi.” . Musk has spoken of these autonomous taxis several times; in April, he said the company aims to produce self-driving robotic taxis by 2024.
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As for the Tesla Semi, Musk mostly compared it to diesel trucks, but other companies, including Volvo and Daimler, have already put electric trucks on the road or are putting them on the road. Musk hasn’t said how many Semis Tesla plans to produce and sell, but given the competition, it’s going to be an interesting race.