Tesla Semi Spotted Supercharging En Route To Fremont

MAR 9 2018 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 47

Could it not make it without the extra juice?

At least one of the Tesla Semis en route to Fremont stopped at a Supercharger for some extra charge along the way. We now wonder, was its battery depleted?

If so, then the naysayers have been proven right.

What are your thoughts as to why the Semis pulled into the Supercharger site?

This particular Supercharger is in Rocklin, less than 150 miles from the Gigafactory. One Semi was spotted hooked up to a Supercharger. That image has since vanished from the Internet.

Tesla Semis At Supercharger

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47 Comments on "Tesla Semi Spotted Supercharging En Route To Fremont"

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TheWay

Well the black trailer is the 300 miles version, and some people have said the container number has changed so it is on the way back.

For all the haters, If Tesla really wanted to fake it as a publicity stunt, they could have easily just loaded up chargers onto the trailer and have it charge that way.

So I think they were simply testing charging on the way back.

Seven Electrics

Why would Tesla test a Semi/Supercharger combination? Semis will be charged by Megachargers, so there’s little value in this test.

I don’t think they’re faking anything; in typical Tesla fashion, the truck is nowhere near close to the production version, and that includes battery/range targets. The range numbers are likely in three-semi “convoy” mode, to boot.

TheWay

Tesla megachargers from looks of things are 8X superchargers. So they should be able to plug in multiple superchargers to make a megacharger.

All-Purpose Guru

This is not to be dismissed. These are PROTOTYPE vehicles, probably a LOT of the truck isn’t completed yet.

They may not even have full regen at this point which will limit range drastically.

JP

That’s nonsense. The semis are using Model 3 motors, there is nothing difficult about enabling regen in the software. Also regen has minimal impact on range during long distance highway driving.

Dan Paulson

Regenerative brakes will not be used aggressively on the semi. The regen would need to be in the trailer to avoid jacknifing issues.

wavelet

Actually, no. Megachargers will only be used for long-range “On the Road” (OTR) trucks, which do long but non-uniform trips between random start/end points, so will have to charge on the way.
For the hub/spoke use case, it’s typically midrange routes, e.g., from a beverage plant to regional distribution centers. Routes are fixed, and trucks will recharge at the endpoints from chargers owned by the customer. Overnight charging is sufficient there — a 600kWh truck will be able to charge over 7-8 hours at 100-120kW — basically destination chargers, but at SUpercharger rates.

Ad van der Meer

The number of the trailer behind the Black Semi is different from the picture on Instagram by Elon.

Dan

The black TRACTOR.

Davek

Thanks, that was bothering me too…

Exactly. They were driving the 300 mile version (confirmed by the drivers), testing was likely part of the story, and I’ll tell you what – I bet range anxiety in a prototype is real.

ModernMarvelFan

Those giant mirrors don’t look all that aerodynamic…

Vexar

And skinny camera pods don’t look legal to the NHTSA.

David Murray

I didn’t realize the Semi could use a regular supercharger. I thought it needed a “megacharger.” I’d be interested to see what it looked like hooked up. I’m guessing they would have had to dump the trailer first.

Dan

These are prototypes, not production models.

Jh

It’s likely you have a variety of charging optuons. Including regular 3 phase type 2 charging. I wouldn’t be surprised that it supported super chargers. Why shouldn’t it?

Further more; that it stopped doesn’t equal charging.

SJC

8 supercharger cables IS a mega charger.

manbiteagas

I guess it’s also possible that these prototypes don’t have the full battery capacity in them… Production is scheduled for 2019 and they expect an annual increase of 5% in capacity. If they also simply build the prototype packs with 18650 cells, they could be quite short on “advertised” capacity today. Admittedly, it looks shaky on first impression…

Vexar

When KMan Auto did his up close and personal during the launch of the Tesla Semi, they did not look like they had compatible connectors to the normal Supercharging. Considering this was a prototype, and that the comments at TeslaMotorsClub.com indicate that there’s new charging equipment, I am not concerned about the whole range issue. They are crossing the Sierra-Nevada mountains in the 300-mile range vehicles, I don’t have a problem with them leaving with a standard instead of a range charge, or doing any number of product analysis and tests. I cannot imagine Tesla taking risks on what is their maiden voyage, and I despise the race to doubting like this.

I dare anyone with a 240 mile range BEV to drive from Reno to Fremont (shorter trip) in 40-degree temperatures with maximum rated cargo.

Simple math: if they are getting <2kWh per mile and the battery (usable) is 600kWh, then they hit their mark. If they are traversing a mountain range, I would wager that's a little rougher on the battery economy.

dan

Reno is at an elevation of 4500 ft. Shouldn’t it be easier getting from Reno to Fremont? The reverse trip is the one that should have issues.

Dan

Probably the trailer is empty going back; what would they be taking the other direction?

All-Purpose Guru

There could be stuff; I would assume that the stamping equipment for the aluminum panels is all in Fremont, so they might be making parts for the battery packs and hauling them back to Sparks– there could also be motor parts and all manner of other stuff being taken back over the hill.

I would ASSUME that the cars are pretty lightly loaded for the return trip in any case, though.

Mister G

Marijuana, Elon has to keep GF workers happy LOL

Vexar

You are correct, but there’s a mountain in between. Topographic maps tell the story better. Turn on the Terrain feature in Google Maps!

Bloggin

Well, Tesla is testing the semi. So it makes sense to test out real world charging at various levels of battery depletion at various temperatures for analysis.

Some trips may just be about 150 miles and testing how long to top off and how the battery handles the real world charge, along with how fast the supercharger can be is important.

Oh….just thinking that maybe Tesla could automatically amp up the speed at SuperChargers when connected to a semi to decrease charging time, where Tesla could be testing faster charge speeds utilizing existing technology.

Which makes sense as the new 600-mile Roadster and next gen Model S will have larger capacity batteries matching the semi and will need faster-charging speeds as well.

A semi can hold 300 gallons, and at about 4 gallons per minute, it would take about 75 minutes to fill both tanks. And since time is money for the trucker, I bet Tesla is testing out extra fast charge times to beat diesel fueling. Tesla is in this game to win.

Bunny

4 gallons per minute? Try over 30 gallons per minute for typical diesel pump

Robann

Then again, Tesla proves them wrong

Tom

Hey guys…they’re prototypes.

Tom

It’s about a 2800 ft elevation gain going over Boreal ridge from Reno, and about 7000 going over from Fremont. Sucks the juice. On another pass (Spooner,) which has a steady grade and 2500 ft gain over 9 miles, I use about 2.5x energy/mile going up as I do on level ground.

All-Purpose Guru

I’d be more inclined to believe that hitting Donner Summit with a most of a full charge (westbound) will be much less stressful on the driver than the eastbound trip, where you have several hundred miles of absolute nothing between the Rocklin Supercharger and the top of the hill.

I think I’d be inclined to top the sucker off a bit the first couple times just to be safe– I’d HATE to have to push the thing.

Tom

‘more inclined’…ha!

Gasbag

“where you have several hundred miles of absolute nothing between the Rocklin Supercharger and the top of the hill.”

I agree that stretch is harder but not because there is nothing. It may seem like several hundred miles but is actually about 100 miles. There are breathtaking views which can be stressful because of the drop off if you go over the edge.

HH

Yeah, it is weird. If anything, they should have been fully charged at the Gigafactory. Odd that it needs another charge so soon, and then at a charger that is only a supercharger and not geared towards Semi’s – must be slow going to get additional range.

Also – why would they use Semis if they are not yet reliable to transport critical production components such as the batteries? In a just in time production system (for efficiency reason) any delay in delivery would be a big problem.

Gasbag

“Yeah, it is weird. If anything, they should have been fully charged at the Gigafactory. Odd that it needs another charge so soon”

Actually it would be expected for a SR truck. If you have 300 miles of range on flat land then you wouldn’t be expected to do a 258 mile trip with a 7000 foot climb on a single charge. If you are going to need to charge doesn’t it make sense to you to charge at a Supercharger? If it does which supercharger would you use? Rocklin seems obvious doesn’t it?

Cavaron

Can’t get my head around this – if they are hauling batterie packs, why can’t they utilise their power?
They would just need a special wired trailer teo transport the power from the packs to the semi.

Jolinar

And connectiona, and inverters and all sorts of other problems…

All-Purpose Guru

High voltage, high current electrics is a wizardry all its own. I don’t think I’d want a trailer full of live packs hooked into the system.

Besides, the point of this exercise is to test the capability of the truck under normal use, Walmart is not gonna be impressed if they have to have a secondary battery in the trailer.

Magnus H

So, I guess there’s no actual work being done, but just the first test run with trailer?

Maybe it’s a bit too early to call it revolutionary.

Bill Howland

HAHA, the guy who zzzzzz calls the village idiot told me it was impossible for a Tesla Semi to use a supercharger.

If so, maybe they’re just there for the view.

terminaltrip421

I hope the centered driver positioning doesn’t potentially cost them sales in the name of purported advancement no one asked for. I could see it being a benefit to others on the road as semis can be really bad about staying snug in their lane but I don’t know how adaptive prospective drivers or buyers will be.

@gasbag now would be a great time for you to man up and issue an apology but since you didn’t do it after addressing your insult the first time around I’m not holding my breath.

Gasbag
Ok I apologize for asking where they would charge. Please note that the trailer on what is reported as the short range truck is different. This was also reported after the trucks had already been reported to have arrived in Fremont. Would you not agree that we could reasonably infer this is the return trip? The snideness was primarily about your implied doubt that they could reach Fremont b(258 miles with 4,300+ feet decline) without recharging which they did. As I noted even a SR truck could make the trip under full load from GF1 to Fremont without proving the full range. No doubt they recharged both in Fremont but The SC station in Rocklin is about 133 miles from GF1. From Rocklin SC (elev 250) you have to climb about 7,0000 feet to get over the Sierra. A 300 mile range vehicle Vehicle would not be expected to make the 258 mile trip under full load with the extreme elevation rise. Consequently some charging would not be unreasonable. The purpose of this was threefold. They performed some real world testing; moved batteries from GF1 to Fremont ; and got some cheap PR. Although it does not prove their range… Read more »
Jason

First point, where are the EV Paparazzi? You would think some crazed person would be camped out at the factories and following these vehicles anywhere they go.
Second point, so Tesla semi’s are out and about, doing stuff, no camouflage. How are the Thor and Nikola1 going? I hope they are out and about as well, I certainly haven’t seen much to that effect. I don’t really understand how people can be complaining about a company that is openly testing their future product.
Maybe those nay sayers should be looking at the Mercedes offering, seems to be about all they can handle.

So everyone notice the custom plates?

XP for eXperimental Prototype.

NovaSean

The Tesla Semis do not have onboard bathrooms right..?

I feel sorry for the driver if he stopped because he had to go to the bathroom.

Imagine creating all of this negative just because you had to pee..

Gasbag

“Imagine creating all of this negative just because you had to pee..”

Imagine if you had a bathroom onboard and no AutoPiliot. You are still going to pull over so you can piss. You could also imagine that if don’t have a bathroom onboard you could still pull over and piss on the side of a road. In the real world there are a few dozen solutions to this problem. Try asking the googles about Easi Pee, TravelJohn, Coloplast, Travel Trucker, WeBoost, Cleanwaste Peewee, Gopilot Little John, etc.

Aaron

Nothing disappears from the Internet. Electrec has the “missing” picture of the truck supercharging.

Marcel

There are a lot more hours between the first posts of the trucks at GF and this post of them at a supercharger than the trip would take: we have no idea what they did with all those extra hours.

They could have delivered their loads and are now on a different trip or just be doing a different test.