Tesla has delivered its first production Semi truck to food and beverage multinational PepsiCo at a streamed handover event held at its Nevada Gigafactory.
First presented in 2017, the Tesla Semi truck was intended to be in production by 2019 but delays caused by the global pandemic and supply chain issues meant that it has taken five years to develop the truck to the point where customer deliveries could begin.
Elon Musk presented at the event alongside Dan Priestley, Senior Manager of Tesla Semi Truck Engineering. The Tesla CEO explained why he believed it was essential for his company to push forward with commercial vehicle production.
“People might wonder why we would build a Semi truck because of you look at the unit volumes, it’s small compared with passenger vehicles,” said Elon Musk. “100 million passenger vehicles are sold each year while, for semi trucks, it’s more like 400,000. But (semi trucks) account for more than 20% of vehicle emissions because you’ve got a huge vehicle and it’s being driven constantly.
“So, when you factor in the size of the vehicle and the amount it’s being driven, it’s 20 per cent of the emissions. From a health impact in cities, this is gigantic.”
The Tesla Semi truck is fitted with three electric motors, two of which will only be engaged when the driver needs extra torque or power. Tesla has stated that the truck will have a range of 500 miles.
Musk has previously suggested that Tesla will be producing 50,000 Semi units annually within two years. PepsiCo, the New York-based food, snack and beverage corporation, placed an order for 100 when the vehicle was launched in 2017. When fully loaded, a Tesla Semi will take 20 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 60mph and will be able to climb a 5 per cent gradient at 60 mph.
Tesla itself will be using Semi trucks as part of its logistics fleet in order to get first-hand feedback from drivers, technicians, and support staff.
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