Tesla ships first Semi to PepsiCo five years after
No details on orders or capacity for electric truck
Semi uses existing Tesla motors, to feature new
Dec 1 (Reuters) - Tesla Inc Chief Executive
Elon Musk delivered the company's first heavy-duty Semi on
Thursday to PepsiCo without offering updated forecasts
for the truck's pricing, production plans or how much cargo it
Musk, who appeared onstage at an event at Tesla's Nevada
plant, said the battery-powered, long-haul truck would reduce
highway emissions, outperform existing diesel models on power
and safety and spin-off a fast-charging technology Tesla would
use in its upcoming Cybertruck pickup.
"If you're a trucker and you want the most badass rig on the
road, this is it," Musk said, noting that it was five years
since Tesla had announced it was developing the all-electric
truck. Still, industry experts remain skeptical that battery
electric trucks can take the strain of hauling hefty loads for
hundreds of miles economically.
At Musk's first Tesla reveal since taking over Twitter - an
acquisition some investors worry has become a distraction - the
company did not announce pricing for the Semi, provide details
on variants of the truck it had initially projected or supply a
forecast for deliveries to PepsiCo or other customers. Tesla
said it would begin using the Semi to ship parts to its plant in
In 2017, Tesla had said the 300-mile range version of the
Semi would cost $150,000, and the 500-mile version $180,000, but
Tesla's passenger electric vehicle prices have increased sharply
Robyn Denholm, chair of Tesla, recently said the automaker
might produce 100 Semis this year. Musk has said Tesla would aim
to produce 50,000 of the trucks in 2024.
PepsiCo, which completed its first cargo run with the Tesla
truck to deliver snacks for those attending the Nevada launch
event, had ordered 100 trucks in 2017.
Brewer Anheuser-Busch, United Parcel Service
Inc and Walmart Inc were among other companies
that had reserved the Semi. Tesla did not provide details on
orders or deliveries to customers, nor an estimate on what the
total cost of ownership for future buyers would be compared to
Musk said the Semi has been doing test runs between Tesla's
Sparks, Nevada factory and its plant in Fremont, California.
Tesla said it had completed a 500-mile drive on a single charge,
with the Semi and cargo weighing in at 81,000 pounds in total.
Tesla did not disclose the weight of an unloaded Semi, one
key specification analysts had hoped to learn and an important
consideration for the efficiency of electric trucks.
Musk has spoken in the past about the prospect of fully
autonomous trucks. Tesla did not provide details on how Tesla's
driver assistance systems would function in the Semi it unveiled
on Thursday or future versions.
The Semi delivery presentation ended without Musk taking
questions, as he often does at Tesla events.
"Not very impressive - moving a cargo of chips (average
weight per pack 52 grams) cannot in any way be said to be
definitive proof of concept," said Oliver Dixon, senior analyst
at consultancy Guidehouse.
Tesla had initially set a production target for 2019 for the
Semi, which was first unveiled in 2017. In the years since,
rivals have begun to sell battery-powered trucks of their own.
Daimler's Freightliner, Volvo, startup
Nikola and Renault are among Tesla's
competitors in developing alternatives to combustion-engine
Walmart, for instance, has said it has been testing
Freightliner's eCascadia and Nikola's Tre BEV trucks in
'LIKE A CHEETAH'
The Semi is capable of charging at 1 megawatt and has
liquid-cooling technology in the charging cable in an updated
version of Tesla's Supercharger that will be made available to
the Cybertruck, Musk said. The Cybertruck is scheduled to go
into production in 2023.
Trucks in Semi's category represent just 1% of U.S. vehicle
sales but 20% of overall vehicle emissions, Tesla said.
Tesla said other, future vehicles would use powertrain
technology developed for the Semi without providing details. The
Semi uses three electric motors developed for Tesla's
performance version of its Model S, with only one of them
engaged at highway speed and two in reserve for when the truck
needs to accelerate, a feature that makes the truck more
energy-efficient, Musk said.
"This thing has crazy power relative to a diesel truck,"
Musk said. "Basically it's like an elephant moving like a
In a slide displayed as part of Musk's presentation, Tesla
showed an image of a future "robotaxi" in development with a
mock-up of the future car covered under a tarp.
The presentation took place after Tesla shares closed at
$194.70. The stock has fallen about 45% so far this year, losing
about $500 billion in market capitalisation, down to about $615
Among factors cited by investors have been Musk's sales of
Tesla shares to finance his takeover of Twitter, signs that a
slowing global economy has started to cut into demand for
Tesla's premium-priced cars, and a warning by the company that
it might not meet its target to grow deliveries by 50% this
(Reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru and Hyunjoo Jin in San
Francisco; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)