Tesla Semi: First Experiences

Last December, the first Tesla Semi Trucks were delivered, five years after they were announced. And now CNBC visited one of the first customers, PepsiCo. The company, which includes beverage brands Pepsi and snacks like Frito Lay, has received 36 Semis so far and is using them in two locations: 15 in Modesto and 21 in Sacramento, both in California.

The routes the trucks travel in the process include 100 miles (160 kilometers) one way from Medosto to delivery, and 300 to 400 miles (480 to 640 kilometers) out of Sacramento. Beverage cans and snack packs are transported.

PepsiCo has yet to use the full range; they’ve gotten 425 miles (680 kilometers) of driving so far. Tesla had promised 500 miles (800 kilometers) of range at full load – 80,000 pounds (36,287 kilograms) are allowed in the U.S. – and highway speeds when it unveiled the Semi in December 2017.

Autonomous driving has not yet been unlocked for the semi trucks, but the hardware is already installed in the vehicles.

The cost in particular could prove to be an advantage of the semi. Although it costs about twice as much to buy as a diesel truck, its fuel costs are about 20 percent less than diesel per mile.

California has a regulation called Advanced Clean Trucks, which includes quite strict regulations regarding emissions. Under this program, zero or near-zero emission trucks are to be successively put on the roads. Since California is considered the fourth largest economy in the world with a population of 40 million, several major ports, and taken alone, regulations are radiating out to other states and countries. As a result, the transportation market is changing dramatically right now, and all manufacturers are scrambling to bring such zero-emission trucks to market.

California’s Advancen Clean Truck program also distributed funding to PepsiCo, which helped retrofit its Modesto distribution center with a charging station. As a result, four so-called Tesla Mega Chargers were installed that can charge at 750kW. Since the start of this initiative, PepsiCo has already reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 91 percent.

Although drivers were not allowed to be interviewed for this article, feedback so far has been positive, according to PespiCo spokespeople. They no longer have to fill up and handle diesel, but simply park the truck and plug it in when their shift is over. The vehicle’s performance has also been well received by drivers so far.

While there have been isolated reports of broken down semis, PepsiCo sees those as purely initial problems that occur with any new technology. In addition to the 36 Tesla Semis, PepsiCo also has electric trucks from other manufacturers in operation, as well as 37 liquefied natural gas trucks from Volvo Trucks.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said at the last shareholder meeting that as early as 2024 the rampup should be ready to produce several thousand semis per year.

Paru le 16 juin 2022. Disponible dès maintenant en librairie, chez l’éditeur et sur Amazon.

Le dernier titulaire d’un permis de conduire est déjà né

L’automobile telle qu’on la connaît va disparaître. L’intelligence artificielle, la voiture électrique, la voiture autonome et l’économie du partage sont en voie de révolutionner l’industrie automobile au cours de la prochaine décennie. Cette révolution technico-économique affectera tous les domaines, pas seulement celui de l’automobile. Le dernier titulaire d’un permis de conduire est déjà né révèle les technologies perturbatrices qui prennent forme actuellement et propose une chronologie du moment où elles s’imposeront. L’auteur, chercheur en technologie, communique sa vision de l’industrie automobile de demain et l’impact sur les emplois notamment dans l’industrie automobile et pétrolière, l’environnement, les sciences, l’urbanisme, les hôpitaux, les services policiers et la sécurité, la politique, les lois, l’hôtellerie et la restauration, l’immobilier, l’économie mondiale et la société en général. Des dizaines de milliers d’emplois seront supprimés définitivement dans plusieurs domaines, mais la nouvelle économie en produira deux fois plus selon les experts. Découvrez comment ces bouleversements dans le monde des transports, notamment les robotaxis, affecteront vos vies, votre budget et comment vous y préparer, et pourquoi c’est une bonne chose.

This article was also published in German.

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