Tesla late on Thursday started customer deliveries of its semi-trailer truck, which is dubbed the Semi.
The first customer was Pepsi, which placed an order for 100 of the Class 8 trucks following the debut in 2017. Budweiser and Walmart are among the other customers for the fully electric semi truck which features a central driving position, just like the McLaren F1 supercar.
The start of deliveries took place at a special event held at Tesla's plant in Reno, Nevada, where CEO Elon Musk confirmed a few more specs for the Semi. Tesla also presented a time-lapse video showing a Semi allegedly driving 500 miles on a single charge with a gross weight of 81,000 pounds. Tesla did not disclose the weight of the cargo load.
The version of the Semi in the video featured a tri-motor powertrain, with a single motor at one rear axle for driving under low-load situations and two more motors at a second rear axle for acceleration. Tesla said the power is three times that of any comparable diesel truck on the market.
Tesla Semi driving 500 miles, fully loaded, on a single charge pic.twitter.com/iZzomLcwZF— Tesla (@Tesla) December 2, 2022
Tesla's performance figures include 0-60 mph acceleration in 20 seconds and the ability to accelerate on gradients up to 5%. Those figures are with the Semi's maximum 82,000-pound gross weight. Without a load, Tesla said the Semi can sprint to 60 mph in just 5.0 seconds.
Tesla also said the Semi can travel a mile using less than 2 kwh of electricity.
Tesla hasn't said how big the battery is but the company has previously stated that a 70% charge in 30 minutes is possible using a new one-megawatt charger (1,000 kw) designed for the Semi. Musk said at the Reno event that the megawatt charger will also be compatible with the upcoming Cybertruck pickup truck. Tesla plans to roll out the megawatt chargers at its Supercharger stations in the coming year.
Production of the Semi is handled at Tesla's plant in Austin, Texas. The plant is also where Tesla builds the Model Y crossover, and in 2023 is slated to start production of the Cybertruck.
Production of the Semi was originally due to start in 2019 but the date was pushed back as Tesla prioritized Model Y production in Austin in the face of limited availability of battery cells and other supply-chain issues. Since then, established truck manufacturers like Daimler Trucks and Volvo Trucks have already launched electric trucks, including Class 8 trucks.
Tesla started accepting reservations for the Semi in May and started requesting a $20,000 deposit in August, at which point reservations were closed. The trucks were originally priced at $150,000 for a 300-mile model and $180,000 for a 500-mile model. It's possible Tesla will increase prices when reservations open again, as has happened with a number of electric vehicles in recent months.