Tesla Semi trucks impress in real-world range and performance testing, first PepsiCo driver shares his review of the electric long hauler

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PepsiCo-owned Tesla Semi trucks are participating in an electric freight testing and research project by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) named “Run on Less”. This is an 18-day testing program taking place at electric truck depots of various companies across California.

The NACFE testing and research started on 11th September and will conclude on the 30th. PepsiCo has inducted 3 Tesla Semi trucks for range and performance assessment in this program.

So far, in the first 4 days, Tesla Semi trucks have shown impressive results when it comes to range and efficiency. The good thing about these tests is that NACFE publishes the results on the Run on Less website on a daily basis.

The trucking industry is making strides in decarbonizing its operations. More fleets are making investments in alternative fueled vehicles, especially battery electric trucks. In an effort to help fleets understand the benefits and challenges of battery electric trucks in larger numbers, the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE), is conducting Run on Less – Electric DEPOT September 11-30 where it will not only track the activity of the 21 electric trucks — including two Tesla Semis — but will also look at total depot electric energy and fuel for all the trucks per day and what that will mean in total electrical energy if all trucks at the depot are converted to electric vehicles.

Source: NACFE press release
One of three PepsiCo Tesla Semi trucks participating in the NACFE "Run on less" real-world tests.
One of three PepsiCo Tesla Semi trucks participating in the NACFE “Run on less” real-world tests. Credit: PepsiCo / NACFE.
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When I searched through the results of Tesla Semi trucks for range and efficiency tests, they were no less than impressive. On some trips, Tesla Semi trucks achieved more than 500 miles (~800 km) of range in a single day. However, it’s not clear from NACFE reports if the trucks were charged multiple times during the day.

But being able to do 500+ mile runs in a single day for such a large vehicle with a heavy load is certainly an achievement by Tesla (TSLA). At its unveiling, Tesla offered 2 variants of the Tesla Semi, one with 300 miles and the top-tier variant with 500 miles of range.

So, in NACFE’s independent testing, Tesla Semi trucks are scoring some impressive range numbers. For example in the first day’s test of Tesla Semi #1, the truck covered a total distance of 416 miles (~670 km). The truck made 3 deliveries on this evaluation day.

Graph: Tesla Semi (test truck #1 on Day 1) charging & range for covering 416 miles in a day during Run on Less testing in Sacramento, California. Source: NACFE.
Graph: Tesla Semi (test truck #1 on Day 1) charging & range for covering 416 miles in a day during Run on Less testing in Sacramento, California. Source: NACFE.
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By looking at the Charging vs. Distance Covered graph (above), we can see that the truck started the day with the battery at around 95% state-of-charge (SoC). After covering a distance of around 335 miles the battery SoC dropped to almost 18%. So, the Tesla Semi truck utilized 77% of the battery in a 335-mile trip.

This is slightly lower than the ideal 77% (385 miles) range of a 500-mile Tesla Semi. These NACFE tests are conducted in Sacramento, California and a variety of factors like terrain, traffic congestion, and weather can affect the range of an EV. However, this Tesla Semi was recharged to complete the rest of the ~81 miles till noon.

However, on Day 2, the Tesla Semi truck #2 had quite a busy schedule from morning to midnight. It completed 4 trips and covered a distance of 794 miles (1,278 km) in a single day. This result concludes that the Tesla Semi truck can be used for long-haul shipping with quick charging stops during trips.

Tesla Semi truck completed 4 deliveries and covered a distance of 794 miles in a single day in 4 trips. Credit: NACFE.
Tesla Semi truck completed 4 deliveries and covered a distance of 794 miles in a single day in 4 trips. Credit: NACFE.

A Tesla Semi requires a Megacharger station that provides enough power output to the truck to be charged in a reasonable amount of time. Drivers can take a rest after a 300-400 mile trip as the Tesla Semi charges its batteries for the next part of the journey.

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Months after the first prototype unveiling of the Tesla Semi in 2017, the head of Daimler Trucks Martin Daum criticized the electric semi truck’s advertised range of 500 miles. He even said that it was not possible to achieve such a range staying inside the laws of Physics.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk verbally answered Martin’s criticism during the company’s Q1 2018 earnings call. After all these years, now we finally know who understood Physics better — yes, you’re right, it’s Elon Musk. A Tesla Semi can easily achieve a 500-mile range.

PepsiCo bought 36 Tesla Semi trucks in December last year. The multinational beverage company was the automaker’s first client to receive the delivery of the Tesla Semi (class-8 electric semi-truck).

To address the only issue that is charging the electric Tesa Semis on long-hauls, the automaker is building a Megacharger network on highways and trucking rest stops across North America and Europe.

PepsiCo also interviewed the driver who was the first-ever person to drive a Tesla Semi outside Tesla, and he has remarkable comments about the electric semi truck.

It’s a really fun vehicle to drive. I appreciate that PepsiCo and Frito-Lay have put them in our hands.

Eric Bettencourt / PepsiCo press release
Video: PepsiCo Tesla Semi driver shares his experience with the sustainable electric freight truck by Tesla.
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Related Tesla Semi News & Stories

Iqtidar Ali
Iqtidar Alihttp://www.teslaoracle.com
Iqtidar has been writing about Tesla, Elon Musk, and EVs for more than 3 years on XAutoWorld.com, many of his articles have been republished on CleanTechnica and InsideEVs, maintains a healthy relationship with the Tesla community across the Social Media sphere. You can reach him on Twitter @IqtidarAlii

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