- Tesla ships the first Semi to PepsiCo five years after the unveiling
- No details on orders or capacity for electric truck
- Semi is using existing Tesla motors to power the new Supercharger
Dec.1 (Reuters) – Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) Chief Executive Elon Musk delivered the company’s first heavy-duty Semi to PepsiCo (PEP.O) on Thursday without making any updated forecasts for truck prices, production plans or how much cargo it could tow.
Musk, who took the stage at an event at Tesla’s Tesla factory, said the battery-powered long-haul truck would reduce highway emissions, outperform existing diesel models in terms of power and safety, and be a spin-off. would be of a fast-charging technology that Tesla would use in its upcoming Cybertruck pickup.
“If you’re a truck driver and you want the toughest rig on the road, this is it,” Musk said, noting that it had been five years since Tesla announced it was developing the all-electric truck. Still, industry experts remain skeptical that battery electric trucks can economically handle the strain of hauling heavy loads for hundreds of miles.
At Musk’s first Tesla reveal since taking over Twitter — a takeover that some investors worry has become a distraction — the company didn’t reveal a price for the Semi, didn’t provide details on variants of the truck it originally had. projected or forecast deliveries to PepsiCo or other customers. Tesla said it would start using the Semi to ship parts to its factory in Fremont, California.
In 2017, Tesla had said the 300-mile range version of the Semi would cost $150,000, and the 500-mile range version $180,000, but Tesla electric passenger car prices have since risen sharply.
Tesla chairman Robyn Denholm recently said the automaker may produce 100 Semis this year. Musk has said that Tesla aims to produce 50,000 trucks by 2024.
PepsiCo, which completed its first Tesla truck freighter to deliver snacks to those attending the launch event in Nevada, had ordered 100 trucks in 2017.
Brewer Anheuser-Busch (ABI.BR), United Parcel Service Inc (UPS.N), and Walmart Inc (WMT.N) were among other companies that reserved the Semi. Tesla has not provided details of customer orders or deliveries, nor an estimate of what the total cost of ownership would be for prospective buyers compared to diesel alternatives.
Musk said the Semi has been taking test drives between Tesla’s Sparks, Nevada plant and Fremont, California plant. Tesla said it completed a 500-mile drive on a single charge, with the semi and cargo weighing a total of 81,000 pounds.
Tesla did not disclose the weight of an unladen Semi, an important specification analysts had hoped to learn and an important consideration for electric truck efficiency.
Musk has spoken in the past about the prospect of fully autonomous trucks. Tesla didn’t provide details about how Tesla’s driver assistance systems would work in the Semi it unveiled Thursday or in future versions.
The Semi delivery presentation ended without Musk answering questions, as he often does at Tesla events.
“Not very impressive – moving a load of chips (average weight per pack 52 grams) cannot in any way be considered a definitive proof of concept,” said Oliver Dixon, senior analyst at consulting firm Guidehouse.
Tesla had initially set a production target for 2019 for the Semi, first unveiled in 2017. In the years since, rivals have started selling their own battery-powered trucks.
Daimler’s (MBGn.DE) Freightliner, Volvo (VOLVb.ST), startup Nikola (NKLA.O) and Renault (RENA.PA) are among Tesla’s competitors in developing alternatives to internal combustion engine trucks.
For example, Walmart (WMT.N) has said it has tested Freightliner’s eCascadia and Nikola’s Tre BEV trucks in California.
‘LIKE A CHEETAH’
The Semi can charge at 1 megawatt and will have 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 should go into production in 2023.
Trucks in the Semis category represent just 1% of U.S. car sales, but 20% of total 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 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 insane power compared to a diesel truck,” Musk said. “Actually, it’s like an elephant moving like a cheetah.”
In a slide shown 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 tarpaulin.
The presentation took place after Tesla shares closed at $194.70. The stock is down about 45% so far this year, losing about $500 billion in market cap, to about $615 billion.
Factors cited by investors include Musk’s sale of Tesla stock to fund his takeover of Twitter, signs that a slowing global economy is beginning to curb demand for Tesla’s more expensive cars, and a warning from the company that it will lose its goal of to grow deliveries by 50% this year.
Reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru and Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco; Edited by Kenneth Maxwell
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Principles of Trust.