The Tesla Semi started its first consumer deliveries last year, but the vehicles were only delivered to one customer: PepsiCo. Since then, the Tesla Semi fleet has grown into almost 100 vehicles, as confirmed by Tesla VP of Vehicle Engineering Lars Moravy.
Moravy and Tesla Design Chief Franz von Holzhausen were recently featured in a pretty extensive episode of Jay Leno’s Garage. The episode was focused on the Cybertruck, which the automotive legend purchased for himself. Over the course of the episode, Moravy, von Holzhausen, and Leno talked about a variety of topics, from the Cybertruck’s features to its performance on and off the road.
Eventually, however, the three automotive veterans’ discussion spilled over to Tesla’s other projects, such as the Tesla Semi, the company’s Class 8 all-electric truck. It’s been a year since Tesla held the Semi’s inaugural delivery event, and since then, the company has adopted a pretty conservative approach with the vehicle’s ramp.
As per comments from Moravy, Tesla has been working closely with PepsiCo to ensure that the Semi is ready for mass production. The Tesla VP noted that the Semi could very well see a production ramp sometime next year, and he also shared some interesting anecdotes about the Class 8 all-electric truck’s initial concepts.
“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,” Moravy said.
The Tesla Semi is not a mainstream vehicle, but it is one of the company’s products that could make a notable difference in the renewable energy transition. As noted by CEO Elon Musk during the Semi’s first delivery event last year, Class 8 trucks only make up 1% of vehicles in the United States, but they contribute 20% of US vehicle emissions and 36% of US vehicle particulate emissions. Transitioning the Class 8 industry to electric could then have substantial benefits for the environment.
Watch Jay Leno, Franz von Holzhausen, and Lars Moravy’s segment in the video below.
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