Tesla CEO Elon Musk has started deliveries of the company’s semi truck at the Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk began deliveries of the company’s first few production Semi trucks on Thursday with Dan Priestly, the company’s general manager of semi truck engineering, on stage at the company’s factory in Sparks, Nevada.
As CNBC previously reported , Tesla this year set up lines outside of Reno and started production of the Semi, where it primarily makes the battery cells, drivetrains and battery packs that power its cars. Musk and Tesla did not say how many Semis it will deliver on Thursday.
Tesla first unveiled the Semi design in December 2017. Production has been delayed due to the Covid pandemic and battery cell supply issues, among other things.
During the launch event, Musk briefly hinted at the turmoil of the past five years, saying, “I’m sorry for the delay.”
He then thanked and handed over the microphone to the visiting delegates PepsiCo Frito LayIt is the first customer to receive and use Tesla’s production Semi trucks.
One of the main differences between Tesla’s Class 8 offering and other heavy-duty trucks is the location of the steering wheel and driver’s seat. Instead of using left-hand drive (or right-hand drive in Europe), Tesla designed the Semi with a steering wheel in the center of the cabin, with touchscreens placed on either side of the driver.
As the Tesla Semi developed, other all-electric heavy-duty trucks hit the market.
Volvo– belonging to Renault Trucks and Daimler Even before Tesla was under siege, they were already building and delivering electric heavy-duty trucks to customers Nicola — whose founder was convicted of fraud in recent months — began production of a battery-electric truck in March.
But Tesla has some high-tech features that aren’t available elsewhere, including a new, fast-charging system and a longer-range battery than its competitors. The DC fast charging system delivers up to 1 MW of power and uses a water-based coolant to ensure that this power is delivered safely. Tesla says the Semi can travel 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 Tesla’s planned Cybertrucks, a consumer pickup truck, Musk announced. The company plans to mass produce the sharp-edged heavy-duty pickup at its new plant in Austin, Texas.
Return to form
The Tesla Semi event may comfort fans worried about its commitment and focus on the electric car business.
Musk recently took on new responsibilities as owner and CEO of social media giant Twitter, which he bought in a $44 billion deal in October. He sold a significant portion of Tesla stock to finance the deal. Since taking over Twitter, he has been embroiled in numerous conflicts and controversies surrounding the platform.
Musk returned to form on Thursday, speaking to Tesla’s environmental mission and the company’s automotive technology.
According to him, there are 15 million passenger cars and about 200,000 heavy trucks in the United States. “It seems like a small percentage,” he said, but semi-trucks account for a large portion of harmful vehicle emissions due to their size, weight and the fact that they are driven around the clock.
These emissions can have dire health effects on people living near warehouses, ports, and other roads with heavy freight activity.
According to the American Lung Association’s transportation and air quality study, medium- and heavy-duty trucks (such as delivery vans and short- and long-haul trucks) accounted for about 6% of the on-road fleet in the United States by 2020. These vehicles generate large amounts of pollution, including 59% of ozone and particulate-forming nitrogen oxide emissions and 26% of greenhouse gas emissions from transportation.
Not only will Semi fight climate change, Musk said, “it’s quiet, it’s going to improve your air quality, and it’s going to improve the health of people who live near highways.”
The same can be said for other electric, heavy-duty trucks that are replacing diesel trucks.
Musk and other executives did not discuss Tesla’s marketed driver assistance systems, such as Autopilot and Full Self-Driving, at the Semi-Delivery event. In 2017, Musk signaled the future of driverless trucking when he debuted the Semi.
Nor did they discuss how many trucks they plan to produce next year, or how they will acquire additional battery cells and raw materials to produce them.
Shares in Elon Musk’s auto business closed at $194.70 before the event and were largely unchanged in after-hours trading.
See the full delivery event here.