Tesla delivered its first electric Semi trucks last night, which are expected to be more powerful and capable of traveling longer distances than any EV currently whizzing down I-80. Pepsi (PepsiCo, Inc), which was in the long haul for the long haul, will be the first company to receive the trucks. When the trucks were first announced in 2017, it ordered 100 of them.
“I can’t believe it’s been five years” Musk said launching the event. “Sorry for the delay,” he added.
During the presentation, one of the trucks was seen driving up California’s Donner Summit on Interstate 80. On the upslope, the truck is seen accelerating past a diesel truck. “If you’re a truck driver and you want the most badass rig on the road, this is it,” Musk said. “This thing has crazy power compared to a diesel.”
Currently, the range of electric trucks is limited: Renault’s EV semi, for example, can only travel 125 miles on a single charge. These electric trucks are only used for local and regional trips, allowing them to charge overnight at factories and distribution centers. Elon Musk, on the other hand, promised that his truck could travel 500 miles on a single charge which Musk demonstrated with a speed-up video of a trip from Tesla’s Fremont, Calif. factory to San Diego, a feat that would change the game for heavy-duty EV adoption.
However, EV semis face more speed bumps than even an 18-wheeler can overcome:
- Batteries for these trucks are extremely difficult and expensive to produce, especially due to the shortage of lithium, the main component of an EV battery, and other critical minerals.
- The amount of electricity needed to power EV trucks is mind-boggling. According to a National Grid study, the projected power required to convert a single gas station into a charging station to support smaller EVs and semis by 2035 would be enough to power a small town.
Apart from personal EVs, which have gained popularity in recent years, EV Semi trucks are still in their early stages. If the Tesla Semi succeeds, it could be a big win for 1) the nascent commercial EV industry and 2) Tesla, which needs a boost after its stock dropped more than 50% this year and its CEO Musk became distracted by a Twitter feud with Stephen King.