In early September, reports started coming in that something unique was spotted on a San Jose Ca. freeway. It was matte red with a sleek front end. The vehicle was a truck, a Tesla Semi pulling a trailer. Back in June, a leaked email revealed that Tesla would be going into full production of its Semi. Is an all-electric over the road semi-truck even feasible? Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, believes so. He’s in good company.
Recently, Walmart Canada announced it had tripled its earlier order of the new Semi to 130 trucks. Walmart is pushing to have a fleet of North American trucks with zero emissions by 2040. Soon the futuristic-looking trucks will be traveling all over Canada. Of course, the trucks will probably be Walmart blue and carry its recognizable symbol. Tesla and Walmart will be linked as Elon Musk and Space-X look to the heavens.
Tesla’s website highlights the Semi’s capabilities. Behind its futuristic shell are some impressive specifications. With an expected base price of $150,000 and $180,000, it will be available in a 300- or 500-mile range, respectively. Today’s diesel-powered semi-trucks can go roughly 1,000 miles on one fill-up. This is about two days of driving. Because truck drivers can only drive so much in one day, a nightly charge is feasible.
Tesla plans on creating a network of solar-powered Megachargers he claims will charge the Semi’s batteries in thirty minutes. When Musk announced this back in 2017, many were skeptical about the Megacharger. This, however, was before Space-X accomplished a successful commercial launch to the international space station. Looking at both the Semi and Starship, one does see a family resemblance. Perhaps the most futuristic aspect of the new Tesla Semi is autopilot. Musk claims this feature will be standard on all models.
Another impressive aspect of the Semi is the powertrain. It will have four individual electric motors on rear axles. Tesla claims that fully loaded, it will go from 0-60 mph in twenty seconds. Traveling up a five percent grade, the Semi will be able to go 60 mph. Given its electric power, fuel costs will be roughly half of standard diesel costs, making Tesla Semi an attractive option.
Will the Freight Industry be All-In?
In addition to Walmart’s Tesla Semi reservation, J.B. Hunt was the first U.S. trucking company to reserve Semi’s. They want to use them on the West Coast. In 2018 a Tesla Semi was spotted at their headquarters in Arkansas. Consequently, several major U.S. companies have reserved Semis, and the list spans many types of companies.
UPS has reportedly ordered 130 Semis. They Joined FedEx early reservationists. UPS’s order was confirmed when a Semi was seen at a UPS terminal in Chicago. Even the U.S. Postal service is showing interest in the trucks, most notably because of its autopilot capabilities. Anheuser Busch put in an order of 40 Semis and PepsiCo ordered 100. Food giant Sysco has ordered fifty trucks. Keep in mind; no Semis are being used anywhere. However, it would seem that the freight industry is making a move to go all-in.