Tesla Delivers First Semi Truck to PepsiCo After 3-Year Delay

Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled the company’s first heavy-duty Semi on Thursday at PepsiCo without offering updated pricing forecasts or production plans for the truck.

Musk, who appeared on stage at an event at Tesla’s factory in Nevada, said the battery-powered, long-range truck would reduce pollution on highways, surpass existing diesel models in power and safety and introduce fast-charging technology that Tesla will use in its upcoming Cybertruck pickup.

“If you’re a truck driver and you want the most badass rig on the road, this is it,” Musk said, noting that it’s been five years since Tesla announced it was developing an all-electric truck. Even so, industry experts still doubt that battery-powered trucks can economically carry heavy loads for hundreds of kilometers.

Tesla did not announce pricing for the Semi at Thursday’s event, provide details on the truck’s range that it had previously predicted or provide an estimate for deliveries to PepsiCo or other customers. Tesla said it will begin using the Semi to ship parts to its factory in Fremont, California.

In 2017, Tesla said the 300-mile version of the Semi would cost $150,000 (approx. Rs. 1,21,76,500), and the 500-mile version $180,000 (approx. Rs. 1,4,611,200), but Tesla’s passenger rates have increased significantly since then.

PepsiCo, which completed its first truck load, had ordered 100 trucks in 2017.

Brewer Anheuser-Busch, United Parcel Service Inc and Walmart were among the other companies that stocked Semi.

Musk said the Semi has been doing test runs between Tesla’s Sparks, Nevada factory and its facility in Fremont, California. Tesla said it has completed 500 miles of travel on a single charge with a Semi that weighs 81,000 pounds in total, without providing a breakdown of cargo weights.

‘It doesn’t show well’

Some viewers expressed skepticism about the presentation, which ended without Musk answering questions.

“It’s not very convincing – moving a load of chips (the average weight of each packet is 52 grams) can in no way be said to be a proof of concept,” said Oliver Dixon, senior analyst at Consultancy Guidehouse.

Tesla had originally set a 2019 production target for the Semi, which was first introduced in 2017.

The Semi is capable of charging at 1 megawatt and has liquid cooling technology in the charging cable in an updated version of Tesla’s Supercharger that will be found in the Cybertruck, Musk said.

The Cybertruck is scheduled to go into production in 2023.

Tesla said other, future vehicles will use powertrain technology developed by Semi without providing details.

Musk said the Semi has three times the power of any diesel-powered truck and uses regenerative braking to improve efficiency.

In a slide shown as part of Musk’s presentation, Tesla showed an image of a future “robotaxi” being developed with a mock-up of the future car covered under a canvas.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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