EURACTIV — 2022-12-02
US automaker Tesla on Thursday 1 December delivered its first battery-powered heavy duty truck, dubbed “Semi,” and built to tackle long hauls with the handling of a sporty sedan.
“That thing looks like it came from the future,” Telsa chief Elon Musk said while handing over the keys to PepsiCo executives at the vehicle maker’s Nevada manufacturing plant.
With its sleek design, the Semi has been highly anticipated since Musk unveiled a prototype in 2017, but the launch of full-scale production was delayed well past the initial 2019 expectation.
“The sheer amount of drama between five years ago and now is insane,” Musk told a small audience invited to the factory for an event marking the occasion.
“A lot has happened in the world. But, here we are. It’s real.”
In the meantime, other manufacturers have entered the market, from traditional truck makers such as Daimler, Volvo and China’s BYD, to startups like US company Nikola.
The competition has also begun to roll out their deliveries, and have many orders of their own waiting to fill.
However, the truck that “the market has been waiting for… is the one from Tesla,” says Dave Mullaney, a transportation specialist with sustainability think tank RMI.
Legacy manufacturers have primarily converted their diesel-designed trucks to electric.
Tesla’s Semi, on the other hand, “was designed to be electric from the very first design,” says Mullaney.
If the vehicle lives up to expectations, “it’s going to be a huge difference,” he adds.
Musk reiterated the claim Thursday that a Semi had driven 500 miles (800 kilometres) with a total weight of nearly 82,000 pounds (more than 37 metric tons).
The range of electric vehicles currently on offer is only between 250 to 300 miles.
“You have all the power you need to get the job done,” Musk said of the Tesla Semi.
“This is a game changer.”