Not long ago, Tesla delivered its first electric Semi trucks to PepsiCo and its subsidiary Frito-Lay. Since then, we haven't heard a whole lot about the electric haulers, except when someone spots one seemingly broken down on the side of the road or being towed.
While we have no way of knowing all the details related to every reported Tesla Semi "breakdown," we have learned that some of the recent coverage may have been based on assumptions. Sadly, with Tesla, plenty of coverage is based on assumptions and "sources familiar with the matter" since the company isn't very transparent and doesn't have a media relations department.
You may have seen some reports with images and/or videos of Tesla Semis "broken down" on the side of the road or being transported on a trailer to be repaired. However, there hasn't been much official information to substantiate such claims. A Tesla Semi on the side of the road or being moved on a trailer could certainly be out of commission, but there are also other reasons one could be parked or transported in such a way.
According to a recent report by Teslarati, sources familiar with the situation shared that at least some of the Tesla Semi "breakdowns" were caused by a software-related glitch. While the trucks reportedly weren't actually broken down, the drivers did have to pull over to figure out why the EV's screens were sometimes flickering and even shutting off temporarily.
Teslarati points out eight specific times a Tesla Semi was spotted with what appeared to be some sort of issues. Interestingly, a source with close ties to the Tesla Semi program in Modesto, California, revealed that drivers have had to pull over since they weren't sure what to do when the interior displays acted up.
Tesla's touchscreen displays control nearly everything in the vehicle, so pulling over as a precaution makes sense. The source with information from the Tesla Semi drivers said, via Teslarati:
“They don’t know what to do. So they just pull over, and then they are towed.”
If the source's information is true, it also explains why we've seen some Tesla Semi being towed. Teslarati adds that drivers have admitted the screens aren't operating correctly, so they don't always have access to the electric truck's speed, driving range, cameras, etc. In some cases, the drivers simply can't carry out their jobs with the Tesla displays acting up.
The source shared that the vehicles end up being towed to an unknown location in Lathrop, California, to be inspected and repaired. The information came from a tow truck driver who said they had to tow at least four Tesla Semis to the "secret" location.