Tesla CEO Elon Musk launches first semi-truck deliveries

Tesla CEO Elon Musk launches first semi-truck deliveries

Tesla CEO Elon Musk kicks off deliveries of the company’s heavy-duty truck, the Semi, to the Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada.

Tesla Inc.

You’re here CEO Elon Musk kicked off deliveries of the company’s first production tractor-trailers on Thursday, speaking on stage at the company’s factory in Sparks, Nevada, with Dan Priestly, the company’s senior manager for engineering. semi-trailers.

As CNBC previously reported, Tesla has set up lines and started production of the Semi outside of Reno this year at the site where it primarily manufactures battery cells, drive units and batteries. that fuel their cars. Musk and Tesla on Thursday did not specify how many Semis they are shipping.

Tesla originally showed off the Semi design in December 2017. Production was delayed by the Covid pandemic and battery cell supply issues, among other things.

At the shipments launch event, Musk briefly alluded to the tumult of the past five years and joked, “Sorry for the delay.”

He then thanked and handed over the microphone to the representatives of PepsiCo Fried Laywhich is Tesla’s first customer to receive and use production tractor-trailers.

A major difference between Tesla’s Class 8 offering and other heavy-duty trucks is the location of the steering wheel and driver’s seat. Rather than using the left side (or right side in Europe), Tesla designed the Semi with the steering wheel in the center of the cabin with touchscreens positioned on both sides of the driver.

While the Tesla Semi was in development, other all-electric heavy-duty trucks hit the market.

VOLVObelonging to Renault Trucks and Daimler produced and delivered electric heavy trucks to customers before Tesla was besieged Nicholas — whose founder was ousted and convicted of fraud in recent months — began production of a battery-electric truck in March.

But Tesla has some high-tech features not available elsewhere, including a new fast-charging system and a battery with longer range than competitors. The DC fast charging system provides up to 1MW and uses water-based coolant to ensure it is safe to deliver that power. Tesla says the Semi can go 500 miles on a single charge when fully charged.

The new fast-charging technology will eventually be installed at Tesla SuperCharging stations and used to power Cybertrucks, the consumer pickup truck Tesla is planning, Musk has revealed. The company plans volume production of the sharp-edged heavy-duty pickup at its new plant in Austin, Texas.

A return to form

The Tesla Semi event may bring relief to fans worried about its commitment and focus on the electric vehicle industry.

Musk recently took on new responsibilities as owner and CEO of social media giant Twitter, which he acquired in a $44 billion leveraged buyout in October. He sold some of his sizable Tesla stock to fund this deal. Since taking over Twitter, he has been embroiled in multiple disputes and controversies surrounding this platform.

Musk returned to form Thursday, talking about Tesla’s environmental mission and the company’s vehicle technology.

Tesla's chief designer on Elon Musk, the Cybertruck and the future of car design

In the United States, he said, there are something like 15 million passenger vehicles and about 200,000 heavy trucks. “It seems like a small percentage,” he said, but tractor-trailers account for a large portion of harmful vehicle emissions due to their size, weight and the fact that they are driven 24 hours a day. 24.

These emissions can have adverse health effects for people who live near warehouses, ports, and other roads with heavy trucking activity.

According to transportation and air quality research conducted by the American Lung Association, medium and heavy vehicles (such as delivery vans, short-haul and long-haul trucks) accounted for approximately 6% of the on-road fleet in the United States in 2020. These vehicles generate an inordinate amount of pollution, including 59% of particulate-forming ozone and nitrogen oxide emissions, and 26% of greenhouse gas emissions from transportation.

Musk said the Semi would not only help fight climate change, but “it’s also quiet, will improve your air quality, and improve the health of people living near freeways.”

The same can be said of other heavy duty electric trucks replacing diesel trucks.

Musk and other executives did not discuss Tesla’s driver assistance systems, which are marketed as Autopilot and full self-driving capability, at the semi-deliveries event. Back in 2017, when Musk launched the Semi, he touted a driverless trucking future.

They also haven’t discussed how many trucks they plan to produce next year, or how they will get the extra battery cells and raw materials to produce them.

Shares of Elon Musk’s auto business closed ahead of the event at $194.70 and did not move materially in after-hours trading.

Watch the full delivery event here.

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