Tesla has the potential to revolutionize the cargo-hauling scene with its upcoming all-electric Semi truck, and it looks like this revolution may start in the second half of this year. This information comes courtesy of a purported leaked email sent by the manufacturer to Semi reservation holders.
The email states that Tesla is still hard at work testing the Semi, both at its Fremont facility, as well as in harsher climates where prototypes are being subjected to cold weather testing and low traction conditions. Regarding the latter, the automaker says the truck’s electric powertrain and motor control provides excellent traction, unmatched by conventional diesel trucks.
Initially, Tesla wanted to start Semi production in 2019, but it has been pushed back due to unspecified reasons. Our take is that the company is working on improving the specifications of the vehicle, especially its range - it was initially announced that two versions would go on sale, with ranges of 300 and 500 miles respectively.
Back in 2017, Musk stated that they could already achieve the 500-mile range claim, even without battery tech improvements. He specifically said he expects the final production-spec Semi to exceed 500 miles on a single charge and we have good reason to believe this is one of the reasons the start of production has been pushed back.
Gallery: Tesla Semi
There’s also no charging infrastructure for it in place yet - the Semi will have battery packs whose capacity may even exceed 800 kWh, so even charging it at a Supercharger would take too long, and it would detract from the electric truck’s cost-effectiveness. Tesla has begun work on its so-called Megacharger, which will utilize a special liquid-cooled connector that is capable of withstanding the higher current transfer rates needed to make the Semi viable.
Back when the Tesla Semi was unveiled, Elon Musk announced that the truck could gain as much as 400 miles of range in just 30 minutes. Based on how big we think the battery pack will be, it’s clear that the current 150 kW chargers just wouldn’t be fast enough.