- Tesla Semi fleet grows to nearly 100 units, with initial deliveries to PepsiCo.
- Tesla VP, Lars Moravy, teases a possible production surge in the coming year.
- Elon Musk underscores the potential of the electric Class 8 truck in cutting emissions from the trucking sector.
Tesla Semi climbs steadily to 100 units – but the gradual shift is set to gain momentum
The Tesla Semi rolled into action last year, kicking off its first consumer delivery to PepsiCo – the first and only recipient so far. Since then, the fleet has steadily grown at a deliberate pace to almost 100 vehicles, as shared by Tesla’s VP of Vehicle Engineering, Lars Moravy.
The Tesla Semi is an all-electric Class 8 semi-truck, built to revolutionise freight transport. With a sleek design, mind-blowing acceleration, and autopilot capabilities, it’s a major step up from diesel trucking. Tesla aims to crush operating costs and emissions, describing the Semi as the future of electric trucking.
But it’s been a year since Tesla’s grand delivery event for the Semi, and since then, the company has taken a measured and conservative approach to ramping up production of the vehicle.
Tesla says it has been in close collaboration with PepsiCo, meticulously preparing the Semi for mass production. According to Tesla VP, Lars Moravy, there are prospects for a production ramp sometime next year.
Moravy also offered intriguing insights into the initial concepts behind the Class 8 all-electric truck;
“The original thought was we were going to use the batteries that were in the back of the trailer to power the Semi to get there [the Fremont Factory and Giga Nevada]. Then, we made it so efficient we didn’t need to do that. But we have close to 100 Semis on our fleet now, and they’re doing that run and we’re working with Pepsi as well to just understand the durability and get it right so we can go into volume production next year.”
Tesla began production of the long-awaited Tesla Semi in late 2022, following several years of delays. After the launch, there were plans to expand Gigafactory Nevada for volume production of the electric truck. While this expansion has not materialised yet, there is a glimmer of hope. In October, reports indicated that Tesla started hiring for numerous positions dedicated to deploying a volume production line for the Tesla Semi at Gigafactory Nevada, suggesting a potential acceleration in the project.
While it would appear that there’s still some work to do to ramp up production, the Semi holds the potential to significantly impact the transition to renewable energy. Elon Musk emphasised this during the first delivery event last year, highlighting that, although Class 8 trucks represent just 1% of vehicles in the U.S., they contribute disproportionately to emissions: 20% of US vehicle emissions and 36% of US vehicle particulate emissions. The transition to electric in the Class 8 industry holds the promise of delivering serious significant and tangible environmental benefits.