No longer will big gas-guzzling vehicles be the only solution to hauling heavy loads distance. I wrote about the companies that had placed orders back in 2020 and the first deliveries to some of those companies happened today.
Introducing the Tesla SEMI
Now I must preface, Tesla is not the first Electric truck to market, but they certainly are the most interesting. When you consider the power-to-weight ratio and the motor that is doing the heavy lifting (pardon the pun) they are one of the standouts.
Friday the 2nd of December 2022 Tesla presented the production version of the SEMI and delivered them to Pepsi Co and Frito-Lay.
The new SEMI rethinks the way truck drivers interact with their vehicles. As an example, it is possible to stand up in the cabin and change out of a jacket and hang them up before sitting in the driver’s seat to drive.
The SEMI weighs in at 82000lbs when fully loaded and can cover a range of 500 miles (804 kilometres)
With 1 x Plaid motor that drives the truck most of the time and a further two more motors that engage for torque and acceleration, it is a very powerful vehicle. This tri-motor configuration is clutched and geared automatically, which offers a seamless experience for the driver.
Elon Stated in the presentation” It is an elephant that moves like a cheetah”, he went on to state that the vehicle has 3 times the power of any diesel truck on the road today. This type of power and acceleration is unprecedented in the trucking industry.
One comment which caught my attention related to the 1000volt powertrain and how it will be used beyond the Tesla Semi. If I was speculating that might very well speak to either the CyberTruck or another vehicle in the works. Whatever it is it will be impressive for a smaller vehicle to have this type of technology.
Tesla Semi Delivered, one notable difference between the existing Deisel trucks and the new Electric SEMI by Tesla is the ability for anyone to hop in and drive. It drives, excluding the size, the same as driving a Tesla Vehicle.
It has a central driving location with two large screens to either side allowing for cameras to see the length of the truck and trailer, navigation, speed gear and other metrics specific to large trucks. (Images Courtesy of Tesla.com YouTube Channel)
One notable omission related to “Autopilot” and “Full Self Driving” (FSD). Something I am sure will either be in the software or still in development. This is all yet to be confirmed by Tesla but if history is anything to go on there is great confidence that it is on the road map.
A video of the truck driving for over 8 hours was shown and can be accessed on Tesla’s Youtube channel. It demonstrated the ability of the vehicle and helped to show how the vehicle performs under normal daily driving conditions.
Carryover of Proven Technology
During the presentation, Elon and the team made comments that the SEMI had within its technology that is already proven out with Tesla’s Current Fleet. This included
- Drive Units
- Infotainment Systems
- Heat Pump System
- Power Inverters
These components have been distributed throughout the Tesla fleet over the years and it is a testament to Tesla that they continue to evolve and improve on their already amazing innovation. To include these elements in the Semi only reinforces the importance of consistency and transferability of the functionality of these components.
Tesla Semi Delivered, Electric vehicles are by their own admission revolutionary vehicles in an industry that has been lagging over the last many years. As we move to a world of electrification and renewable energy there is a need to be able to transfer that electrical current in larger and larger volumes.
That is why Tesla continues to innovate their charging infrastructure. This is no different for the Tesla Semi. Elon and team introduced the 1MW – DC CHARGING INFRASTRUCTURE showing the evolution of V3 – V4 of the Cable technology. This new cable version has shown great improvements in charging times and capability.
It was also announced that this new infrastructure will be part of the CyberTruck configuration, and they will be retrofitting the Charging network starting next year. It would stand to reason that long term this may become the standard for all Tesla vehicles.
For now, though the Semi with such a large battery pack is required to meet the need of the distances to travel for Heavy vehicles it is important to charge in the most efficient way with the least amount of time and this cable helps to realize this ability.
Tesla Semi Delivered, Tesla has made no secret of their Master plan and they again showed this at the [presentation. Now that the Semi is heading into production the focus shifts to CyberTruck.
Not only will CyberTruck be a new evolutionary vehicle, but it will again learn and adopt several innovations that have come before.
The Tesla Semi is a beautiful, well-thought-out vehicle that will influence the view of what heavy vehicles are, can do and deliver in the future. Tesla has already stated it will integrate them into its own fleet and continue to learn and grow their development.
Congratulations to Tesla and the Semi Team on taking the time to get this right. I cannot wait to see how it evolves over the coming years.