After more than 5 years of waiting, Elon Musk finally announced the start of mass production of the Tesla Semi. The vehicle was presented back in 2017 and at that time it was supposed to start being produced by the year 2019. The dates were extended due to significant delays up until today, when manufacturing has officially begun, as per the latest available information.
This announcement has been made through Elon Musk's official Twitter account, where a few hours ago he released the following tweet in which the date of the first deliveries was announced, along with the identity of the first customer who will receive the models: "Excited to announce the start of production of the Tesla Semi Truck with deliveries to Pepsi on December 1st!".
Last May Tesla began accepting the first reservations of the Tesla Semi for (refundable) $5,000, to which an additional $15,000 would be added ten days later for the manufacturing registration and configuration of the vehicle. Just two months ago, in mid-August, Elon Musk announced the arrival of the vehicle for the end of this year, although he did not mention the start date of production or first deliveries, with which everything was left under a halo of mystery.
Finally, last night the CEO made public both data that were still missing to complete the puzzle of Tesla's electric truck. After this first tweet, Elon Musk added that the first units will be those with the most capable motorization and a 500 mile range: "500 miles of range and super fun to drive", Musk announced.
According to the latest technical specifications, the production version of the Tesla Semi will be equipped with three electric motors, instead of the four previously announced. Tesla has not announced the power or torque they will offer, although it describes its truck as "a beast", more powerful and more efficient than conventional trucks. Another new fact has to do with its fast charging times: the Tesla Semi will be able to charge 70% of the battery in 30 minutes using the "Tesla Semi chargers", that is, the Megacharger that the company has already begun to install and that will serve to recharge electric trucks with powers in the order of megawatts.
Tesla says its electric truck will consume less than 2 kWh per mile. The battery capacity has never been published, but as we do know that there will be a version with 300 miles of range and another with 500 miles of range, this would lead us to batteries with a capacity of around 604 kWh for the 300-mile Tesla Semi version and around 1000 kWh for the 500-mile version.
Assuming this capacity for the batteries, and taking into account the recharging times announced by Tesla, a charging power of 840 kW can be deduced for the version with the smallest battery, and 1,400 kW (1.4 MW) in the one with the longest range, as long as it is plugged into Tesla fast chargers or one of equivalent power. These figures, however, are theoretical calculations based on the approximations of range and consumption announced by the manufacturer.
Tesla also mentions the savings that using the Semi can mean compared to an equivalent diesel truck. According to Tesla, its electric truck will allow the customer to save up to $200,000 in energy costs in the first three years of use. The calculation has been made taking into account the average price of diesel and electricity in California between February and July 2022, and taking into account that the Tesla Semi is considered a Class 8 in the United States. The company ensures that it will be able to maintain the maximum speed allowed with slopes of 5% and will be able to accelerate from 0 to 60 miles in 20 seconds, even when loaded.
PepsiCo is presented as the first company that will receive its shipment of electric vehicles for the transport of goods (in this case, food and beverages). This company was the first to announce the reservation of 100 Tesla Semi, one of the largest orders to date, just a month after the model was launched, back in 2017. They have waited many years to receive their first units but next December 1 will begin to become a reality.
For the time being, the Tesla Semi will begin ramp up production in the Giga Nevada factory. A first estimate spoke of a production of around 5 units per week for a first phase, although later Tesla will transfer said manufacturing to Giga Texas, where they hope to achieve a much higher production volume. Last year, both companies (Tesla and PepsiCo) installed one of the first Megacharger stations in order to charge these electric trucks at their Modesto location, where their soft drinks are bottled and subsequently transported.
All images courtesy of Tesla Inc.
Nico Caballero is the VP of Finance of Cogency Power, specializing in solar energy. He also holds a Diploma in Electric Cars from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and enjoys doing research about Tesla and EV batteries. He can be reached at @NicoTorqueNews on Twitter. Nico covers Tesla and electric vehicle latest happenings at Torque News.