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Tesla Semis Go On First Trip

Tesla’s Semi, the electric truck that the company unveiled a few months ago, has been sent on its first cargo trip, transporting battery packs from the gigafactory in Nevada to the Tesla car factory in California. That’s what Elon Musk said in an Instagram post with a picture showing two Semis ready to leave the gigafactory.

The Semis should help to bring down logistics costs of transporting battery packs from the gigafactory to other facilities, which Musk, according to Electrek, had earlier referred to as “gigantic.” The distance between the gigafactory and the Fremont car plant is some 250 miles, so the trip would demonstrate the range of the Semis: according to Tesla, the trucks can travel 500 miles with a full load without a recharge.

There are skeptics, however. “If Tesla really delivers on this promise, we’ll obviously buy two trucks -- one to take apart and one to test because if that happens, something has passed us by. But for now, the same laws of physics apply,” Daimler’s head of trucks told Bloomberg last month.

But Tesla’s Semi does comply with the laws of physics, after all. There have been eyewitness reports—plus videos—of Semi test drives on California highways. Daimler’s executives have good reason to be worried. If the Semi does have a 500-mile range, and if it does perform as promised, it will turn into a potentially deadly competitor for Daimler’s own electric truck line, which is slated to reach markets in 2021. That’s three years after Musk said the Semi will go into mass production.

Related: U.S. Oil Export Boom Boosts Pipeline Demand

While it’s true that Tesla has had more than a little trouble meeting its own deadlines, it may have learned its lesson with the Model 3, and the Semi could indeed become available next year.

But it’s not just a question of timetables. Observers question the performance of the truck too. According to figures released by Tesla, Electrek notes, the battery pack of the truck should have a capacity of 1 MWh and it should be very heavy and very expensive. Also, such a battery pack should not be possible based on the current battery cell technology that Tesla uses in its other vehicles. It’s never too late for Tesla to surprise truckmakers, though, and manage to make the Semi cheaply enough to sell for US$150,000-180,000.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • GREG FOREMAN on March 09 2018 said:
    Great, the truck can travel 500 miles between recharges. Yippee!!
    Now what about the infrastructure required to support this behemoth? Such mundane items as rechargers, mechanical support and the cost associated with “upgrading” to provide such support. I haven’t seen anyone, anywhere provide such “mundane” information.
    The only cost point referenced is the initial cost of the truck varying between $150-180K dollars-outrageous. One could “pick-up” a comparable size Freightline or Peterbilt for half of that price. The cost of an installing a “charging station” would run from $15-30K per station. Furthermore, charging just one truck would require the electrical equivalent needed to power from 3-4K homes for per charge and require an hour to an hour and a half to charge only 80%.
    Of course, these facts assume the technology necessary to accomplish this feat exist-but it doesn’t.
  • ken on March 08 2018 said:
    While it’s true that Tesla has had more than a little trouble meeting its own deadlines, it may have learned its lesson with the Model 3, and the Semi could indeed become available next year.

    You are hilarious Irina. "It may have learned its lesson?" You have a funny opinion. There's no lesson to learn here, there is only reality.
  • Louis Spring on March 08 2018 said:
    How much does the truck weigh? Load limit on many bridges off the interstate is 5 tons...

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