Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced earlier this week that Tesla Semi has completed a 500-mile run for the first time while fully loaded at 81,000 lbs gross combination weight. The higher-end variant of the Tesla Semi class-8 electric truck has a range of 500 miles on a single charge with full load capacity.
The minimum requirement to qualify as a class-8 truck in the United States is to have a total gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 33,001 pounds (14,969 kg) or above. Tesla Semi far exceeds this requirement and Tesla even went a little far with the max allowed capacity of 80,000 lbs (36287 kg).
Elon Musk’s announcement came just a few days ahead of the Tesla Semi delivery event. Tesla is delivering its first-production batch of Tesla Semi trucks to PepsiCo today (event live stream timing and link below).
In the past, Elon Musk and Tesla have constantly been targeted for listing Semi’s range as 500 miles. Even the most knowledgeable people in the trucking industry were not convinced that Tesla will be able to deliver on its promise.
In 2018, Martin Daum, the then-head of Daimler Trucks and now a board member of the company said “If Tesla really delivers on this promise, we’ll obviously buy two trucks — one to take apart and one to test because if that happens, something has passed us by”.
“But for now, the same laws of Physics apply in Germany and in California,” Martin further added. Deliveries of the Tesla Semi with a 500-mile range to a corporate customer like PepsiCo today are going to be the best answer Tesla has for the critics.
Talking to CNBC, Tesla’s Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen said “Tesla Semi is a pretty radical approach to an industry that hasn’t seen change in the architecture of the vehicle since the inception”. Franz is right, what has changed radically about truck design in the last 100 years until Tesla Semi happened? Not much I think.
“So, by removing the motor and the transmission from the front of the vehicle, we could put the driver in the middle for the best command view, we could move him really far forward and create a really teardrop shape around the driver that goes back to the [cabin] for an incredibly aero efficient package,” Franz added to his comments. That’s how Tesla achieved a drag coefficient of 0.36 for Tesla Semi.
An early Tesla Semi prototype from 2017 is currently on display at the Petersen Museum, the description label of it states the following:
Targeting a vehicle segment that accounts for 18 percent of all vehicle emissions in the country, Tesla debuted the all-electric Semi in 2017. Like the company’s electric passenger vehicles, Semi features an aerodynamic design, which gives it a long range. Unlike conventional diesel-powered industrial trucks, Semi’s tri-motor design makes it capable of maintaining a highway speed of 65 miles per hour when hauling a full load up a five percent grade. Subjected to a variety of tests, this Semi “Alpha” prototype withstood temperatures as low as -40°C in Alaska during cold-weather durability and vehicle controls testing and completed a 5,000-mile endurance run along Route 66.
Tesla not only did put this early prototype through cold weather endurance tests in Alaska, the automaker performed these tests in Canada as well. Becasuse I reported back in 2020 that a Semi truck has been spotted in Canada and was returning home in March after rigorous cold weather testing.
Tesla was on and off weight-testing the Semi with concrete blocks and even making Model 3 and Model Y deliveries to customers during end-of-quarter rush times. Now Tesla Semi is ready to convert the logistics transportation industry to zero-emissions with first deliveries starting today.
Tesla Semi Delivery Event Time & Live Stream
Tesla live-streamed the Semi delivery event on 1st December 2022 at 5 PM Pacific Time. You can watch the recording in our coverage post of the event here.
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- Elon Musk, Tesla, and the Governor of Nevada to announce a new $3.5 billion Tesla Semi factory
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