For years, Tesla has been delaying the launch of the talked-about Tesla truck. Now, the brand is set to launch its first battery-powered semi truck this Thursday. With this truck, the brand hopes to reshape the growing electric heavy-duty vehicle market by offering longer ranges without recharging.

The brand has scheduled to hand over the keys to its first-of-its-kind electric truck named “Semi” at its Nevada manufacturing plant to the multinational food company, PepsiCo.

This Tesla electric heavy-duty truck with a sleek design has been anticipated since Tesla CEO, Elon Musk unveiled its prototype in 2017. For 5 years, this truck has been in the making, and now it’s ready to assume its place in the growing EV heavy-duty vehicle market.

Tesla Delivers First electric Semi Truck but no update on output, pricing
Tesla Delivers First electric Semi Truck but no update on output, pricing

Since 2017 till date, other manufacturers have entered the market as well, from traditional truck makers like Daimler, Volvo and China BYD to other startups like US company, Nikola.

These other competitions have started rolling out their deliveries and already have a long list of orders waiting to be filled.

However, the Tesla truck happens to be the truck that “the market has been waiting for,” says a transportation specialist, Dave Mullaney.

Legacy manufacturers have primarily converted their diesel-designed trucks to electric.

“The Tesla, on the other hand, was designed to be electric from the very first design,” says Mullaney, who also underlined the company’s 15 years of experience in electric vehicles.

He went further saying, “if the Tesla vehicle lives up to expectations, it’s going to be a huge difference.”

In a tweet made last month, Elon Musk said that one Semi had driven 500 miles (800 kilometres) with a total weight of 81,000 pounds (nearly 37 tons).

The electric vehicles currently being offered have a range of 250 miles to 300 miles.

Any Physical Limitations Of The Semi Truck?

To carry heavy loads over such long distances, the battery “needs to be very large – -that makes it very heavy, takes up a lot of space and is very costly,” says Mike Roeth, the director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE).

“The industry has kind of been wondering whether you can physically package that much battery” and keep the truck’s weight low enough to be able to do the job, Roeth adds.

With the ability to travel up to 500 miles without recharging, long-distance trips in electric trucks would be much more feasible, allowing drivers to return to warehouses on the same day.

Even longer trips could be taken over several days if drivers can find charging stations at truck rest stops.

The use of electric light-duty vehicles for short-haul deliveries has been steadily growing for some time, but new regulations are pushing manufacturers and transporters to speed up the transition and build out long-haul capabilities.

Cost Consideration Of Electric Trucks

For more people to gain more interest in electric trucks, their range must truly live up to promises and batteries would shrink, several analysts said. 

The charging infrastructure must also be built out. That means adding more charging stations but also building an electric distribution system strong enough to allow, for instance, ten trucks to plug in at the same time in one parking lot.

The Tesla EV Semi truck is expected to cost $180,000 for one.

One of the biggest factors for EV trucks will be price. An electric truck costs about 70% more to buy than a diesel truck at the moment, but in terms of energy and maintenance, it’s cheaper, Mullaney says.

Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives says that Tesla must now “prove they can produce at scale, they need to execute.”

Tesla Semi specifications

AspectTesla Semi Specifications
Drag Coefficient0.36 Cd
Powertrain3 or 4 independent motors on rear axles
Range300 or 500 miles
Acceleration 0-60 mph (with payload)20 seconds
Speed up a 5% grade65 mph
Energy consumptionLess than 2 kWh per mile
Fuel savingsMore than USD 200,000

On the other hand, in late October, Musk stated that Tesla is aiming to build 50,000 Semis by 2024.

This could be achievable for Tesla considering in 2018 when the production of the Tesla Model 3 was struggling to meet up, Musk showed that he was capable of getting his teams to speed up.

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