Tesla's electric truck is getting closer to being a reality on the road, and the company's latest moves point in that direction. Tesla has updated its website with some changes to the specifications of the Tesla Semi and new audiovisual material with a truck that, apparently, is very close to being a production version.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently announced that the Tesla Semi would hit the market later this year. It is about the eleventh promised date but this time it seems to be closer to becoming a reality than on previous occasions. Tesla's electric truck, first introduced in 2017, could reach its first customers later this year or early 2023.
And there is news in this regard, as Tesla has withdrawn from its website the possibility of ordering its electric truck. The Austin company began accepting orders last May, upon payment of a $20,000 deposit ($5,000 at the time of ordering and $15,000 at the time of assigning manufacturing).
The reasons why Tesla has stopped taking orders are unknown, but there could be two possibilities: that it has received a large enough number to exceed production capacity in the short term; or a possible change in the pricing policy that would increase the price initially announced, and therefore not fall for the deception in the face of their customers. Up until now advertised prices ranged from $150,000 to $180,000, depending on the chosen battery capacity. Where before there was a button to place actual orders, now there is a link button to stay informed about possible news.
As for the news in the technical specifications section, the production version of the Tesla Semi will be equipped with three electric motors, instead of the four that had been announced so far. Tesla has not announced so far 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 recharging: the Tesla Semi will be able to recharge 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 megawatt neighborhood. Although Tesla has not yet announced the maximum charging power of these megachargers, we can make some approximate calculations with the data offered by the company on the consumption and autonomy of the truck.
Tesla says that its electric truck will consume less than 2 kWh per mile; the battery actual capacity has never been published, but we do know that there will be a version with 300 miles of range and another with 500 miles of range. This leads us to batteries with a capacity of 604 kWh for the Tesla Semi with less autonomy and around 1000 kWh for the version with a higher range.
Tesla Semi is a game changer! Fully Loaded at 82k lbs Gross Combination Weight:• 0-60 mph: 20 seconds• Range: 300 or 500 miles• Fast Charging: Up to 70% of range in 30 minutes• Fuel Savings (est.): Up to $200,000 over 3 years@Tesla @elonmusk pic.twitter.com/Ml6qpytzAk— Dima Zeniuk (@DimaZeniuk) August 19, 2022
Assuming this capacity for the batteries, and taking into account the recharging time announced by Tesla, a charging power of 840 kW can be deduced for the version with the smallest battery, or 1,400 kW (1.4 MW) in the one with the greatest 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 Tesla.
The company also mentions the savings that using the Tesla Semi would yield as compared to an equivalent diesel truck. According to them, the electric truck will allow the customers to save up to $200,000 in the first three years of use (and that is only in energy costs). The calculation has been made taking into account the average price of diesel and electricity in California between February and July 2022. Let us remember that the Tesla Semi is considered a Class 8 in the United States, with a combined gross weight of 82,000 lbs. 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.
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.