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Tesla Semi Truck: The Future of Commercial Trucking?

  • Tesla
  • Silas Smith
  • 6 minutes

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The Tesla Semi truck and Roadster 2 were unveiled at the same event four years ago in December 2017. Semi was hyped by Elon Musk as “the safest and most comfortable truck ever.” Despite being given the first glimpse so long ago, we were not aware of how much the model would vary by the time production began. Well, it took an awfully long time for the company to get going with the Semi.¬†

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So, what were the¬†claims of Tesla about their all-electric truck? We will help you learn more about the ‘future of trucking,’ as Tesla calls it, in detail. This guide will include details like the Tesla Semi truck price, release date, and the latest updates about the model.¬†

Specifications of the Tesla Semi 

Range: 300 or 500 miles 

0-60 mph: 20 seconds (acceleration estimate with payload) 

Powertrain/Electric Motors: 3 independent motors 

Energy consumption: Less than 2 kWh per mile 

The Semi uses three Model 3 motors, which was a major change from what was announced. During the year following the unveiling of the prototype, Musk specified the Tesla Semi would come out with four motors. The architecture is rated at 1,000 volts. Also, the charging connector that comes with the truck has a liquid cooling feature and can reach 70% charge in just 30 minutes. 

Another highlight of the Tesla Semi is the traction control, which helps prevent jackknifing. Also, the regen brake system will help the driver use less brake when going down a slope. The regenerative braking will also help in reducing the battery power used. An automatic clutch system will also help maintain proper power distribution by the motors. One of the three motors will keep running, and the other two will use the clutch system when more power or speed is required.  

How much is a Tesla Semi truck? 

When Tesla announced the heavy-duty Semi trucks back in 2017, two variants were supposed to come out. The 300-mile and the 500-mile versions were priced at $150,000 and $180,000, respectively. Back then, a long-haul diesel truck, which Tesla was aiming to replace, would cost you close to $125,000. 

But years have passed, and the initial costs of most Tesla vehicles, including their best-performing cars, have increased multifold. In the last couple of years, the prices of Tesla Model 3 and Model Y saw a steep rise due to multiple factors. So we can also expect the actual cost of the Tesla Semi truck to increase. 

Operational costs do matter! 

Even though the upfront costs of buying an electric vehicle-passenger or commercial-is higher than the conventional automobiles, you need to consider the operation cost. Even though the Tesla Semi truck will be much pricier than their diesel counterparts, the operational costs could be cut down by a huge margin. 

Both diesel and Tesla Semi trucks will need maintenance and other operational costs. But compared to the diesel truck, the cost per mile will be nearly 20% less for the Semi truck. The company estimates a cost of $1.26 per mile for the Tesla Semi compared to $1.51 per mile for the diesel truck. These estimates were made with assumptions that the vehicles have traveled a 100-mile route carrying an 80,000-pound load moving at an average speed of 60 mph.  

So, the initial Tesla Semi truck price can be a bit high, but it can also be easily recovered in other operational and maintenance costs. That is the reason why giants like UPS and PepsiCo have jumped in to place massive orders for the Tesla Semi as early as possible. 

Tesla Semi interior and design 

It is unlike any conventional semi-truck that you have seen, both from the outside and inside. The Tesla Semi truck interior is a spacious cab that has the driver’s seat more centrally aligned. Tesla was not joking when it said this is the future of trucking.¬†

To either side of the driver, there are two displays. The one on the left will show features of the truck, like the tire pressure, an avatar of the truck, a speedometer, a battery indicator, parking brake controls, and air supply metrics inside the trailer. On the other hand, the right horizontal display shows the console to music, cabin temperature controls, phone, and more. 

The Tesla Semi resembles a bullet with a narrow, sleek nose and a flat bottom. The drag coefficient, which is a rating for the wind resistance the vehicle experiences, plays a major role in helping the vehicle travel fast and for longer distances. For the Semi, the rating is 0.36, which is much lower than for conventional diesel trucks. 

When will Tesla Semi be available? 

The Tesla Semi is actively under production, and deliveries are also underway. There have been different rumors about the Tesla Semi release dates, but in November 2022, Musk set a date- December 1, 2022. Deliveries have started, and the initial ones went to PepsiCo in early December 2022. In addition, Musk is planning to complete the production of 50,000 more units by 2024 and become one of the top three models in the electric truck market.  

Back in 2017, there were some big players from different industries placing large orders for the Semi truck. One of these was PepsiCo, which ordered 100 trucks. It is also the first client to receive the trucks on December 1, 2022. From 2017 to 2022, other companies like FedEx, DHL Supply Chain, United Parcel Service, Walmart Canada, and Walmart made orders ranging from 10 to 150 trucks. 

Wrapping up 

Even though the production model varies from the prototype that we saw in 2017, the Tesla Semi is a great entry for the American company into the commercial vehicle sector. Also, the Tesla Cybertruck has already marked its entry into the pickup truck market. Tesla has its eyes set on becoming a big player in the commercial market. Legacy players like Volvo and Nicola are currently topping the sales charts. The current Tesla Semi needs some exciting changes to achieve the goal of becoming one of the top-three electric trucks.   

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