The Tesla Semi has already been delivered to its first customers, but the actual production specs of the vehicle remain largely unknown or unconfirmed at best. Fortunately, a recent trip to PepsiCo’s Frito Lay facility in Modesto, Caifornia has provided some details that otherwise reveal the Tesla Semi production specs.
When Tesla held the first deliveries of the Semi, CEO Elon Musk highlighted that sustainable long-haulers are needed because in the transportation sector, semi trucks comprise about just 1% of vehicles on the road but they account for 20% of the emissions. Vehicles like the Tesla Semi are then designed to challenge this status quo.
Automotive publication MotorTrend was able to visit PepsiCo’s Modesto Frito Lay facility to check out the company’s first Tesla Semi units. As noted by the publication, the Modesto facility is a perfect fit for the Semi as the site already uses other green vehicles like BYD 8Y yard tractors, Peterbilt 220EV electric box trucks, and natural-gas-powered Volvo VNL trucks. The Tesla Semi fleet is used for out-and-back trips across the region.
The publication was able to gather some details about the Class 8 all-electric truck from its drivers and Tesla representatives who were at the location during the visit. Following are some key specs of the Tesla Semi.
The Tesla Semi features a modified Plaid tri-motor powertrain that’s spun backward. The Model S’ front motor drives the Semi’s rear axle and acts as the vehicle’s high-efficiency “highway drive unit.” The Model S Plaid’s dual rear motors, on the other hand, are installed on the rear axle. With this in mind, MotorTrend estimated that the Tesla Semi likely matches the Model S and Model X Plaid’s 1,020 horsepower and 1,050 pounds-feet of torque.
This estimate makes sense considering that a Tesla representative reportedly noted that the Tesla Semi makes “three times the power of an average diesel semi.” The US’ best-selling semi is the Freightliner Cascadia, whose base model features 350 horsepower. Three times the base Cascadia’s horsepower certainly aligns with the estimate that the Semi has about 1,020 horsepower. On a side note, the Tesla Semi production version does not have a frunk, unlike the vehicle’s prototype units.
Drivers of the Tesla Semi reportedly noted that the all-electric Class 8 truck is fitted with a 1,000 kWh battery pack. Tesla lists the Semi’s range as 500 miles per charge, and Elon Musk has also highlighted that the vehicle would consume only 2 kW per mile traveled.
If these estimates prove accurate, then the Semi’s 300-mile variant would likely have a battery pack that’s around 600 kWh. That’s still a lot of batteries, so Tesla would have to ensure that its production is optimized to ensure that the Semi is profitable.
The Tesla Semi features a charging port that’s different from all the vehicles that the company has released so far. The motoring publication noted that the Tesla Semi’s Megachargers installed on the Modesto facility could provide around 750 kW of power, or about three times the output of the company’s Supercharger V3 network.
The cables for the Tesla Semi’s Megachargers are thick, though they are reportedly easy to manage compared to some DC fast charging networks in the market. Charging the Semi from almost empty to 70% typically takes about 30 minutes. A full charge all the way to 100% reportedly takes around 90 minutes.
While the Tesla Semi’s controls are mostly centered on its two infotainment systems, the vehicle also sports several physical buttons. Among these are the parking brake, trailer-brake air supply, and the vehicle’s hazards. Other physical controls include stalks similar to those found in the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y, though some buttons on the steering wheel resemble those in the new Model S and Model X.
The cabin of the Tesla Semi is cavernous, similar to the company’s other vehicles. MotorTrend noted that there’s enough space to enable a six-foot person to walk around and stretch in the Tesla Semi’s 3×7 foot cabin. So far, PepsiCo’s drivers seem to like the Semi, with some telling the motoring publication that the all-electric truck was very comfortable and “drove like a car.”
The use of the Tesla Semi’s dual infotainment systems is quite interesting. The right display functions as the Tesla Semi’s main infotainment unit, while the left display exclusively shows pertinent information about the truck, such as its tire pressure. The windows in the Semi’s cabin also open when needed, though they do not roll down. Some space in the cabin also seem to be reserved for customers who wish to order the Tesla Semi with a sleeper cabin. Images taken of the Semi’s displays also confirm that the vehicle is equipped with Tesla’s Full Self-Driving computer.
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