• Tesla delivered its first heavy trucks, Semis, to the giant Pepsi.
• The towing capacity of the Semi would be 84,000 pounds.
• By 2024, Tesla hopes to produce 24,000 Semis for the North American market.
More than three years after promising the launch of the production of an electric heavy truck, Tesla has delivered its first models to the giant Pepsi. It all happened at an event held at a factory in Reno, Nevada. It was all broadcast live, including on the Twitter platform, the new property of Tesla’s great manitou, Elon Musk.
It was he who drove one of the three Semis (the name given to the model) in front of a crowd gathered inside the factory. One was white, another decorated with the Pepsi logo, then the third in Frito-Lay’s colors.
Pepsi is participating in a zero-emission transportation project at a Frito-Lay plant in Modesto, California. This is funded by a $15.4 million grant from the California Office of Atmospheric Resources for Clean Freight Technologies, which includes 15 Tesla battery-electric tractors and other trucks powered by electricity and natural gas. .
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In November 2017, when Elon Musk unveiled the Tesla Semi, he said that production would begin in 2019 and that the trucks would be able to follow each other autonomously in a convoy. Last October, he said the company’s fully autonomous driving system wasn’t quite ready.
“It’s been a long journey, five long years,” Elon Musk said, “but it’s really going to revolutionize the roads.”
The executive indicated that the truck is equipped with a three-motor powertrain, based on that of the Plaid version (the most powerful) of the Model S and Model X, a sedan and an SUV, respectively.
Two of the drive units will temporarily idle on the highway for maximum efficiency, while the other two will jump into action when torque and acceleration are needed, such as climbing a grade. Video released at the event shows the truck climbing a 6% grade and overtaking other vehicles.
Even better, the Semi’s regenerative capabilities help capture energy on descents and stave off the threat of brake failure and truck overspeed, Elon Musk said. “a significant improvement in safety for the truck driver and other people on the road,” he added.
About the engines, he added, “One of them is more powerful than the diesel engine in a truck-trailer. By comparison, the drive unit on a Tesla Model S Plaid has 1020 horsepower and 1050 lb-ft of torque. A diesel-powered tractor-trailer generally has an output of around 500 to 600 horsepower, but its torque can vary from 1000 to 2000 lb-ft.
Elon Musk said the delivered model had a range of 800 miles when pulling an 82,000-pound load. The normal load limit for a semi-trailer is approximately 80,000 pounds. Technically, we therefore have an even more competent vehicle with this electric solution.
Elon Musk also clarified that tests had been carried out. In particular, the Semi was able to travel between the cities of Fremont and San Diego, California, a journey of just under 500 miles.
Tesla hopes to produce up to 50,000 units by 2024 for North America.
To power his monster, Elon Musk said Tesla has developed a next-generation, liquid-cooled, “megawatt-class” V4 DC supercharger that allows the user to squeeze one megawatt through a normal-sized charging cable. The charger is promised for next year.
According to Elon Musk, the commercial trucking industry accounts for 20% of greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector and 33% of particulates.
Tesla said other vehicles would use the Semi’s powertrain, and the company would use the truck for its own utility needs.