Tesla Semi

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Last Tuesday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed that the Semi Class 8 electric truck will eventually boast a 621-mile range (approximately 1000 kilometers) per single charge. 

Musk also stated that this goal is attainable due to Tesla new in-house battery cells and battery pack technology. 

Why is Elon’s Musk Announcement Significant?

In a livestream interview for the European Battery Conference, Elon Musk further elaborated on the potential range of the Tesla Semi:

“Getting a range of let’s say 500 kilometers is I think quite easy, trivial to be frank, for a semi truck and this is assuming a truck that is pulling a load of 40 metric tons. If you want, for long-range trucking, you can take the range up to, we think, easily 800 kilometers, and we see a path over time to 1,000 km range for a heavy duty truck. We think this is going to be extremely competitive and compelling to trucking companies”

Tesla is currently taking orders on trucks with advertised ranges of 300 to 500 miles (500 to 800 kilometers) per single charge. While those numbers are impressive, it gives the impression that the Semi is best suited for short or medium routes.

If the trucks sport a 1000-kilometer range, however, they will become ideal for interstate long-haul trucking in the United States. Long-haul trucking, or LHT, is defined as commercial truck voyages that are more than 200 miles from origin to destination.

Thus, the Tesla Semi is going to use the company’ new 4680 battery cells and the new structural battery pack design. Both components were revealed during Tesla’s Battery Day event last 

The 4680 cells are slated to increase energy density by five times, increase overall range by 16%, and improve power output by six times. 

The new battery pack design was dubbed a “structural battery” by Musk. This means that the battery pack is not just an energy device but an actual structural part of the vehicle. It will reduce overall vehicle mass by 10% and increase overall range by 14%.

Matte red Tesla Semi spotted on the San Jose highway in California last September / Image Source: u/sikhlyf – Reddit

A Quick Overview of Tesla Semi

The Tesla Semi is an all-electric battery-powered Class 8 semi-truck, currently in development by the automaker. A Class-8 truck is a lorry with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of over 33,000 lb (14,969 kilograms).

The Semi has a total of four independent electric motors on rear axles. It can also go from 0 to 97 km/hr in 20 seconds with an 36,287-kilogram payload. In case the truck is unloaded, it is able to reach the same speed in five seconds.

The base price for a 300-mile-range Tesla Semi is $150,000. The 500-mile-range variant will retail at $180,000. Founder’s Series Semis will be priced at $200,000.

All in all,  perhaps it is fair to say that Tesla looks set to completely disrupt the trucking industry.

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