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Tesla CEO Elon Musk Says First Semi Trucks Ready


The long wait for Tesla’s newest vehicle is finally over, and the thousands of reservation holders will finally begin getting their hands on the trucks some said may never be built: the Tesla semi truck.

Tesla semi on track 2021
Tesla offered up a sneak peek at the semi truck as it ran laps around a test track in March 2021. Now its ready for the road.

CEO Elon Musk revealed in a tweet Thursday night the company is in production on the semi and PepsiCo Inc. will get the first deliveries of the new vehicle Dec. 1. “Excited to announce start of production of Tesla Semi Truck with deliveries to @Pepsi on Dec 1st,” Musk tweeted. He followed that with another missive, “500 mile range & super fun to drive”

Musk offered no confirmation on how many trucks the maker of Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Doritos and other Frito Lay snack foods will be getting with the first deliveries, but it placed an order for 100 of the trucks. The company was among the first to step up with its order.

The projected cost for the trucks $180,000, although under the new federal guidelines, it may be eligible for as much as $40,000 in federal tax breaks.

Worth the wait?

Tesla fans have been waiting for the EV segment leader to begin building trucks for some time — both the Cyber Truck and the Semi truck have experienced long and repeated delays. 

Musk tweet about semi deliver to PepsiCo

Musk introduced the Semi truck to a raucous crowd in 2017. At the time, he said production would begin in 2019. However, the vehicle’s arrival was pushed back for several reasons, most notably it would take batteries away from the hot-selling Model 3 and Model Y. 

However, a glimmer of hope showed up in 2021 when the company began putting the truck through its paces on the test track. Ultimately, the company opened the order books this past May with those placing orders initially now putting down $5,000 with a $15,000 wire transfer to follow within 10 days of the initial payment. 

Tesla says the truck has a drag co-efficient of 0.36 cd, and uses less than 2 kWh per mile. The truck is propelled by four independent motors on the rear axles. Reaching 60 mph takes 20 seconds with an 80,000-pound load, and the Semi can climb a 5% grade at 60 mph according to Tesla.

The cab features a centered driving position and two screens flanking the steering wheel. Tesla will equip the trucks with its Autopilot semi-autonomous driving system. The automaker didn’t release any specifications for the Semi’s battery pack size.

Not the only game in town

While Tesla may be the best known EV maker, it’s not the only player in the segment. Freightliner Trucks, America’s bestselling semi-truck brand, unveiled its new battery electric eCascadia in Long Beach, California, in May.

Musk with Semi - reveal 11-16-17
Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed the semi truck in November 2017.

The eCascadia comes with dual motors that deliver 395 horsepower and max torque of 23,000 pound-feet or a single motor that’s good for 195 hp and max torque of 11,500 lb-ft. Buyers also have a choice of thee lithium-ion batteries: a 194-kWh battery that charges in 1.5-3 hours, a 291-kWh unit that replenishes in 2-4 hours, and a 438-kWh pack that takes 2-6 hours to recharge.

The truck has a range of about 230 miles, depending on configuration, and a combined gross weight of 82,000 pounds. The new truck features Active Side Guard Assist, which helps prevent the truck from making a right turn when a cyclist or pedestrian is detected on the passenger side of the vehicle at speeds up to 12 mph.

Mercedes-Benz is producing its eActros electric truck. Based on Daimler’s eArchitecture, and offered in in two- and three-axle configurations, its electric axle uses two integrated electric motors and a two-speed transmission to deliver as much as 400 kW. Available with either 315- or 420-kWh battery packs, each truck is good for an estimated 249 miles with as much as 30 tons of gross combined weight. The truck can recharge from 20% to 80% in slightly more than an hour using DC fast charging.


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