Tesla Semi Tester Confirms Big Rig Meets Most Specs, Range Unconfirmed

Red Tesla Semi exterior front

DEC 19 2017 BY STEVEN LOVEDAY 60

Tesla Semi

Tesla Semi

It seems whenever Tesla (Elon Musk) reveals specs for upcoming vehicles, there are many naysayers. What about those Tesla Semi stats?

There will always be lovers and haters. This is especially true for niche-market companies attempting to disrupt industries. Typically, OEMs reveal concept cars at auto shows, which often remain concept cars. Additionally, if the vehicles do come to market, they aren’t usually quite up to par with the flashy, futuristic concepts.

Tesla Semi

Inside The Tesla Semi

Tesla doesn’t really play by these rules. In fact, the Silicon Valley automaker doesn’t follow most past practice when it comes to how the industry functions. Instead, it relies on CEO Elon Musk’s wild ideas promoted via social networking, followed by highly publicized, exclusive reveal parties.

Nonetheless, the company only unveils vehicles that it has every intention of manufacturing (albeit slowly and later than planned), and for the most part, these vehicles arrive in the same form and with the same specs as the unveiled concept.

The Tesla Semi is supposed to disrupt the trucking industry and destroy dirty diesels with its incredible spec sheet. As usual, we only have the words of Musk and a single concept vehicle as proof. It will be years before the actual vehicles are on public roads, yet companies are already putting down deposits.

Pepsi was the most recent major corporation to reserve some semis (100 to be exact), which is the largest order thus far, cranking the total number of pre-orders to over 300. How can these companies bank on the fact that Elon Musk’s word is gold without having any second party confirmation of the Tesla Semi’s prowess?

According to Electrek, XPO logistics was able to validate the Tesla Semi. Morgan Stanley analyst, Adam Jonas, revealed the information to clients in a recent communication (via Electrek):

“The Tesla semi has already received important validation from some customers. We spoke with mgmt. at XPO Logistics, one of the largest logistics companies in the country, that has been talking to Tesla on their EV semi for the past 18 months, including testing live prototypes. XPO mgmt. confirmed that in their testing, the features and capabilities of the truck mostly lived up to Tesla’s claims at the launch event, including the performance vs. diesel trucks up a 5% grade (55 mph vs 45 mph), recharging time, safety/anti jackknifing features and payload (similar to a typical diesel truck, as confirmed by Tesla).”

However, Jonas made clients aware that the semi’s range (500 miles) was not confirmed. This doesn’t mean that it can’t travel 500 miles, but it also doesn’t mean it can. XPO may not have had time to drive the semi that far, or perhaps an attempt was made but it didn’t make it. The vehicle won’t be arriving for a few years, so Tesla will have plenty of time to make good on the claim. In terms of range, the automaker hasn’t struggled in the past.

Source: Electrek

Categories: Tesla, Trucks

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60 Comments on "Tesla Semi Tester Confirms Big Rig Meets Most Specs, Range Unconfirmed"

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The 300 mile version might get 300 miles with 90% Depth of Charge, do that every day with super charging then tell us how much range you have after 5 years.

Yup.

By the time they’ll make it, solid-state batteries may be the obvious choice. If so, supercharging should cause little if any capacity loss.

I think they’re utilizing Solid State right now in these two new prototype vehicles…Semi & Roadster…

Btw….Hear me now….Believe me later…The Governator…

Solid state will be much too expensive for Semi in 2020-21 time frame.

Tesla already told Goldman Sachs the Semi uses their Powerpack chemistry. They’re designed for 10 years of daily cycling. They aren’t designed for fast charging, but they have a few years to tweak that.

10 year failure warranty, not fade warranty.
Power Wall charge and discharge is light compared to an 80,000 semi with super charging.

Good thing Tesla has been able to more than double battery cell life, they will need it:

“doubling the lifetime of the [battery] cells used in the Tesla products… was the goal of the project and it has already been exceeded.”

https://insideevs.com/tesla-exceeds-double-lithium-ion-battery-life/

If Tesla builds the packs for its Tesla Semi Truck using cells optimized for a high charging rate, then hopefully those packs will last the life of the vehicle. Especially if the normal lifespan is as short as some commenters have suggested; only 3-6 years. (What happens to used diesel semi tractors? Are they typically sold to independent truckers and/or to smaller fleets with a lower profit margin?)

Tesla doesn’t build its passenger car battery packs for daily Supercharging, but that doesn’t mean it won’t or can’t build its truck battery packs for daily Megacharging.

I Supercharge every day and have done so soon 4 years and degradation less then 1% per year on the pack.

No problem at all, maybe that it takes 20 years to get to 80% capacity left and SC every day.

Personal anecdotes do not substitute for data.

@SJC is this supposed to be an issue?

All BEVs have this issue. If you take the DOD down from 100% to 0% everyday and fast charge, of course your battery life takes a hit.

Most BEV users don’t go the full range. Likewise, most semi trucks don’t do that either. Again, most BEV users don’t supercharge for daily trips, they charge at home. The semi can and will charge at the dock/warehouse/base too.

It’s like saying your plane’s engine can’t run long at full throttle when all plane engines are the same.

Let me play Devil’s Advocate here… or at least, respond as a neutral observer rather than a Tesla fan:

This is the first time Tesla has offered a commercial vehicle. For fleet owners, if Tesla says that the vehicle can travel 300 miles or 500 miles, then they should expect that means it can actually travel that far on a daily basis, for the expected life of the vehicle. If the 300 mile or 500 mile range would require more than an 80% DoD**, then Tesla should be listing a lower range for the vehicle.

Or more to the point, Tesla should make sure there is a comfortable safety margin between full battery capacity and usable capacity, so that 80% charge limit isn’t exceeded; or else Tesla should list two ranges, not only the maximum range but also the range available for daily usage over the expected lifetime of the vehicle.

Oh, and the person you responded to didn’t say a 100% DoD; he said 90%.

**Or actually perhaps a bit less than 80%, to allow for a few percent degradation of capacity over the lifetime of the vehicle. So, maybe 77-78%?

I charge like 80% full every day but arrive at SC with 5 to 10% left.

I Supercharge every day and have done so soon 4 years and degradation less then 1% per year on the pack.

No problem at all, maybe that it takes 20 years to get to 80% capacity left and SC every day.

Total Cost of Ownership IS an issue to semi buyers. If the range fades the packs need to be replaced.

You’re going to drive 300 miles every day, for years and years? Seriously?

No, you’re not serious. You’re just grasping at straws for some excuse,any excuse to bash EVs.

Passenger cars, all sorts of passenger cars, EVs and gasmobiles and whatever, are intended for fairly light use; 5-10% of the hours in a day. If you intend to use a vehicle much more heavily, then buy a more appropriate vehicle intended for commercial use.

Go Tesla!

The parameter that really needs testing is the price!

Fred over at electrek is one that believes that Tesla will use next gen Battery Tech in the truck.

I agree. I think Tesla is playing off Panasonic and Samsung and LG chem. Samsung and LG cam both have nmc 811 batteries about to be released. These batteries are low Cobalt batteries. The low Cobalt allows the battery to be cheaper and there is promise that nmc811 will achieve energy densities equivalent to or better than NCA that Panasonic now uses.

You can bet that Panasonic also has next-gen chemistry in the works. I think Tesla will challenge them both and the winner to meet bogey on price and energy density get the truck contract.

NCM811 can be rolled out next week if the companies involved wish to.

But by 2020 there’s a good chance solid-state or semi-solid-state batteries are ready. I understand that existing production lines for li-ion cells are reasonably easy to modify. And this offers much lower price, much higher energy density, much higher power density and little if any capacity loss. It is a fairly dramatic step forward in other words.

If you’re interested you’ll find lots of information, but most of it incomprehensible to non-battery-engineers, at greencarcongress.com. Or much less, rather opinionated, but easily-understood info at pushevs.com, where Pedro writes about battery tech fairly often.

There is no doubt that solid state batteries would present a large step forward in battery tech. There is also no doubt that solid state batteries have been demonstrated in the lab, and that the tech is quite real.

What is in doubt is how soon we’ll see solid state batteries produced on a commercial basis. There are many companies and university research terms working hard to make that happen, but I seriously doubt anybody can say with confidence when any company will start mass producing solid state batteries suitable for use in plug-in EVs.

We haven’t even seen solid-state batteries yet in any consumer electronics products. It’s almost a certainty that we’ll see them in cellphones before we see them in production EVs.

The time to get excited about solid state batteries is when some manufacturer actually starts taking orders for production in quantity. That hasn’t happened yet, and it may not happen for some years. OTOH it could happen tomorrow!

@Terrawatt
“If you’re interested you’ll find lots of information, ”

I’ve spent quite a bit of time researching what’s going on with NMC811 and 622 and 444 and Jeffry Dahn’s work on extending the life of Li batteries. Yes PushEV’s was one source.

Terrawatt said:
“NCM811 can be rolled out next week if the companies involved wish to. ”

Actually it’s not clear at this point. They are having trouble with the cycle life of NMC811. They can almost get the cycle life by reducing the voltage range they operate the battery.

However it’s not clear that 811 will have better energy density than NCA (Panasonic)

Therefore I tend to agree with PMPU that Tesla will stick with Panasonic and NCA chemistry in the near term.

However I disagree with PMPU when he says Tesla will stick with Panasonic all the way till 2020 when the truck hits. Tesla would be foolish to not keep the competition open. Whoever gets the best battery in 2020 will win. Tesla will keep Panasonics feet to the fire.

Tesla already went to Samsung for the big power pack installation in Austrailia.

I believe Tesla could have another battery manufacturer housed in the gigafactory if they wanted to.

Gigafactory One isn’t just a building with a couple of different vendors in it. It’s a partnership. Do you really think Panasonic’s partnership with Tesla doesn’t give it the right to veto any vendor setting up shop there? I rather imagine that it does. Panasonic is the junior partner in the Gigafactory, and it’s Tesla’s name on the side, not Panasonic; but nonetheless, Panasonic is a real partner there, and it has a very large investment in Gigafactory One. Tesla openly advertised for other partners in the Gigafactory. Tesla openly courted Samsung as an alternative partner for battery supply, several times. But Panasonic is the only one who stepped up and agreed to invest in the Gigafactory; to become a true partner with Tesla. The idea that Tesla is going to throw that away… it just doesn’t make sense. Tesla is more or less married to Panasonic at this point. A divorce would be, at the least, extremely painful and extremely expensive. More likely, it would be a disaster for Tesla, and would sink any chance for ramping up production of the Model 3 quickly. Tesla and/or Panasonic can license new battery tech from other battery makers. There’s no need… Read more »

PMPU said:
“Do you really think Panasonic’s partnership with Tesla doesn’t give it the right to veto any vendor setting up shop there? I rather imagine that it does.”

I don’t think either of us know that since we are not privvey to the contract wording.

PMPU said:
“Tesla is more or less married to Panasonic at this point.”

Neither of us know that either. However I think it would be foolish for Tesla to not keep doors open to other battery companies. It’s all about competition

PMPU siad:

“Tesla and/or Panasonic can license new battery tech from other battery makers.”

True. in the case of NMC it is licensed from Argon. However I can’t find any evidence that Panasonic makes an NMC battery. Do they?? I kind of thought Panasonic was going to have the capability of running 2 lines with 2 chemistries at GF1. I swear Ithere’s a quote somewhere saying so. I especially thought that was the case when Tesla said they were starting up GF1 making power pack/ power walls cells.

………….but then Tesla orders all the cells for the biggest power pack installation from Samsung………so I don’t know what is going on.

“However I think it would be foolish for Tesla to not keep doors open to other battery companies. It’s all about competition”

It’s nearly impossible for me to believe that Panasonic would have agreed to pony up billions of dollars to help build Gigafactory One without at the very least getting a guarantee of being the exclusive battery cell maker at Gigafactory One. What executive of a large corporation would be so foolish as not to demand that as one of the conditions of a partnership?

Also, it simply makes no sense to have two different battery cell makers working under one roof. They would have to be in different areas, with different production lines, which would be directly contrary to the idea of extreme vertical integration. Economy of scale in manufacturing demands seamlessly integrated production and uniformity of processes, not a bunch of different areas with similar but not identical machines performing similar but not identical processes.

“I don’t think either of us know that since we are not privvey to the contract wording.”

Actually, we are. At least the non-redacted wording. Original doc:
https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1318605/000119312514403635/d812482dex102.htm

Most recent update:
https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1318605/000156459016018886/tsla-ex101_182.htm

Contrary to Pushmi’s claims, it’s a lease and purchase agreement, not a partnership.

I don’t see anything barring Tesla from having another battery manufacturer in the building. Tesla paid for the building, after all. Panasonic owns their cell-making equipment and has lease rights to the portion of the building that houses said equipment. Tesla has an obligation to buy their cells. Beyond that, I don’t see where Panasonic has any say in what happens elsewhere in the building. It would be kind of silly, as Tesla could just put a separate building next door.

georgeS said: “I kind of thought Panasonic was going to have the capability of running 2 lines with 2 chemistries at GF1. I swear Ithere’s a quote somewhere saying so. I especially thought that was the case when Tesla said they were starting up GF1 making power pack/ power walls cells. “………….but then Tesla orders all the cells for the biggest power pack installation from Samsung………so I don’t know what is going on.” It is a puzzlement, all right. And like you, I seem to remember somebody at Tesla saying Gigafactory One could handle making cells with different chemistries, presumably simultaneously. I don’t recall anyone specifying two different production lines, though. Applying Occam’s Razor, we might suggest that the problem isn’t at all with Panasonic being able to make more than one kind of battery; the problem is that Tesla is having a great deal of problem fully automating the production of battery packs. That alone might explain why they did not use 2170 cells for the recent large order for PowerPacks for Australia. Just guessing here, but maybe Tesla has a different setup, possibly not so automated, for assembling PowerPacks from 18650 cells, and so they were able to… Read more »

For cost control, I think Tesla is just planning to use 12 of the (soon to be) mass-produced 75 kWh Model 3 packs in a different package and assumes they’ll have the pack cost down to $100/kWh in two years. Tesla is a master at re-purposing their existing tech to new applications rather than developing new.

Tesla told Goldman Semi will use Powerpack chemistry, not what they have in their cars. Semi needs full daily cycling and has to last ~10 years vs. Tesloop’s 18 months.

Also, the form factor doesn’t look right for Model 3 packs. It might use a standard module design from one of their other products.

After spending billions of dollars on its Gigafactory One partnership with Panasonic, a partnership for which Panasonic also invested billions (albeit fewer billions), it’s very unlikely that Tesla is going to partner with another battery maker to make batteries for its Semi Truck.

Tesla may very well be in negotiations with other battery makers to license their tech, but it’s going to be Panasonic who will continue to build the vast majority of Tesla’s battery cells. Tesla has gone to other vendors for limited-run needs, such as the upgrade for the original Roadster and some PowerPack projects, but it’s hard to see why Tesla would contract with another battery maker for any of its production vehicles. Surely it can get significantly lower costs for batteries from its own Gigafactory One.

A divorce from Panasonic would be very, very expensive, and I don’t see Tesla doing that unless the need was pretty dire.

Well another big order for Tesla Semi 125 for UPS, I expect many more orders January through March

For all: I am really growing tired of this mis-use of the word “orders” which implies a lot more commitment than is the actual case.

Though the value is much higher, these “orders” are NOT orders. They are refundable priority reservations to hold your place in line until Tesla is ready to take orders, just like the Model 3 reservations. And Tesla explicitly acknowledges these reservations do not constitute “orders” in the agreement.

Per Tesla’s semi reservation agreement:

“While this Reservation secures your approximate order priority, it does not constitute the purchase or order of a vehicle. When the start of production for your Reservation nears, we will ask you to place your order and you will receive a Purchase Agreement indicating the purchase price of the vehicle(s), plus estimates of any applicable taxes, duties, transport and delivery charges, and any other applicable fees. If you proceed with the order, we will apply your Reservation Payment (or applicable portion) towards the order payment. Until you enter into a Purchase Agreement, your Reservation may be cancelled at any time, in which case you will receive a full refund of your Reservation Payment.”

https://livestream.tesla.com/assets/TeslaSemiReservationAgreement_v20171116.pdf

So what these reservations will become contracts when the Tesla Semi is delivered to the customer. Having these reservations or orders indicates the demand and provides Tesla and the companies the map for having the location to build charging stations ahead of delivery.

“So what these reservations will become contracts when the Tesla Semi is delivered to the customer.”

You are stating a prediction about the future as if it’s a fact, which it most certainly is not.

HVACman is correct; a reservation is not an order, not even if it includes a deposit.

Tesla understands the difference between a reservation and an order. If you ever reserve a Tesla vehicle, the time will come when you will be offered the opportunity to convert your reservation to an order. At that time, you fracking well had better understand the rather important difference!

PamAm and American had orders for Comcord but that means they have to buy it which they didnt

@HVACMan said: “For all: I am really growing tired of this mis-use of the word “orders” which implies a lot more commitment than is the actual case… They are refundable priority reservations to hold your place in line until Tesla is ready to take orders…”
—————

Agreed that “Reservation Deposit” is more accurate than “Order Deposit”… and in my opinion companies paying large Reservation Deposits to secure a priority place in line is a larger pro-Tesla testament than paying an “Order Deposit”.

What other truck maker has an EV semi production intent unit available for customer validation?

What other truck maker is receiving large reservation deposits for an EV semi?

Tesla Semi is 3-5 years ahead of every other truck maker EV semi wise. That’s amazing.

For 2018 the #1 topic for traditional semi truck makers will be how to accelerate their own EV semi programs in reaction to Tesla Semi. Tesla Semi is the biggest business threat these guys have seen hit them perhaps in their entire career history.

Nikola plans to begin field tests next year.

Nikola is touting a fool cell vehicle. Who cares? Even if they do build a concept vehicle, it’s impossible for any hydrogen-powered vehicle to be cost-competitive, and it won’t get a significant number of paid reservations.

Toyota showed a fuel cell range extended EV semi. Long haul requires more than just batteries at this time.

Showing a concept vehicle is a very long way from promising to put it into production.

It gets tiresome refuting the wishful thinking from fool cell fanboys. Hydrogen powered wheeled vehicles are not cost-competitive now, and they never will be. Fact, not opinion.
/physics

http://www.insideevsforum.com/community/index.php?threads/how-to-promote-the-hydrogen-economy-hoax.429/

@Six Electrics said: “Nikola plans to begin field tests next year.”
————

Is a Hydrogen Fuel semi really an EV? Yes the Nikola One has an electric drive train but is Hydrogen fueled. The Home Page of Nikola proudly proclaims “NEVER PLUG IN”.

Would the Chevy Volt be considered an EV if it had no plug-in battery? … if it only had gas powering an electric generator powering an electric motor?

CDAVIS asked: “Is a Hydrogen Fuel semi really an EV?” There is a lot of argument over the term “EV” by the Usual Suspects here, but frankly it’s a settled point, even if some don’t want to admit that. The term “EV” means the same thing whether it’s the “EV” in “BEV” or “PHEV” or “FCEV” or “HEV”. They are all EVs. The term “electric vehicle” means one which is designed and built to be propelled by electric motors. That’s all it means. The term “EV” does not mean, as some keep trying to argue, that it’s powered by an offboard source of electricity. If that were the case, then the terms “HEV” and “FCEV” would be nonsense. Nor does “EV” mean the vehicle has to always be propelled by electric motors alone. If that were the case, then the term “PHEV” (and also “EREV”) would be nonsense. Heck, a few EV “purists” even want to change the meaning of “EV” to mean only “BEV”. Well, they are just wrong. The term “BEV” isn’t going to disappear, and if every EV was a BEV, then we wouldn’t be using the term “BEV”, and we’d have to invent other terms for… Read more »

@Yes, a fuel cell electric vehicle is an EV. It’s not a practical one when it’s powered by compressed hydrogen gas, but that does not alter the fact that it is an EV.
———————-

I agree with that.

So the “EV” label technically applicable to the Nicola One may connote environmental and/or energy-security benefits even though the Nicola One does not necessarily deliver on those.

Hydrogen is hard to make with a high energy conversion overhead… thus horrible energy well-to-wheel efficiency… current available commercial ways to get large quantities of hydrogen are not net ‘cleaner’ than gasoline… but the Nicola One is an “EV”

Not 3 to 5 years ahead
Cummins plans to deliver in 2019
I’m not against Tesla, but you give them way too much credit.
Fact they never deliver on time, why do you think semi will be different?

Cummins’ BEV semi is not a Class 8 heavy truck, with a load limit of 80,000 lbs. Cummins’ concept vehicle was a lighter truck.

It’s not in competition with Tesla’s Semi Truck, or at least not direct competition.

“including the performance vs. diesel trucks up a 5% grade (55 mph vs 45 mph)”

That should read (65 mph vs. 45 mph)

“Tesla’s claims at the launch event, including the performance vs. diesel trucks up a 5% grade (55 mph vs 45 mph), recharging time, safety/anti jackknifing features and payload ”

Most of those specs are easily done with electric powertrain. That isn’t surprising at all.

But I am highly impressed that the “recharging time” is confirmed. That is a lot of power that we are talking about here. 1.2MW or higher isn’t easily done but it appears that it has been confirmed. Maybe that is just 10 SC considering that Tesla likes to use modular design with its charging system.

The article says:

“…the company only unveils vehicles that it has every intention of manufacturing (albeit slowly and later than planned), and for the most part, these vehicles arrive in the same form and with the same specs as the unveiled concept.”

So far, yes. I’m not so sure that will be the case with the Tesla Semi Truck. This is the first time Tesla has built a commercial vehicle, and I suspect they will be far more likely to make significant changes from the concept vehicle, to accommodate what customers want, than Tesla has been with its passenger vehicles.

But we’ll all have to wait and see what happens.

“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” — Yogi Berra

I think Tesla realized that they had to modify their semi design to the wishes of their customers.
And they have had those customers visiting their design studio and their proofing grounds for the past 18 months.

Those modification are already made. This reveal was not for their early customers, they had already tested and ordered the car, this was for us, the fan-boy supporters, the press and the small customers who buy their vehicles “of the shelf”.

You’re right, Tesla had extended consultations with potential customers for its BEV Semi Truck while designing the vehicle.

But I already knew that, and I stand by my prediction.

“Unconfirmed” as euphamism for “BS.” Fortunately there is plenty of time left to pull the rabbit from the hat for this Kickstarter.

Well, you certainly are an expert on B.S. You dish out enough of it in your kl?wn komment serial Tesla hater posts!

I agree with Tesla being B.S., IF we are talking about Behind Schedule, because Musk has yet to fail to deliver a product equal to or greater than what he claims. They are usually late though.

LMAO, shorter troll 6(imaginary)Electrics is getting nervous as his constant FUD trolling shows.

Anyways, keep up your pissing into the wind campaign against the inevitable future you troll.

@Get Real
@PMPU

You are reinforcing his behavior by responding to his taunting.

A more effective tool would be if everyone ignored him.

Sorry, but no. That works with ordinary trolls, who will get bored if they are ignored, and wander off. It does not work for those motivated by greed; those who are here for the purpose of spreading FUD, not merely — like a normal troll — just disrupting meaningful discussion of a topic in order to attract undeserved attention.

As has been pointed out, there are EV forums which have been ruined by trolls. I’m glad that those serially posting EV hater posts here occasionally get banned. That helps keep the discussion here mostly meaningful, even if every Tesla-related news article keeps attracting troll posts by those determined to ruin Tesla’s public reputation, or to promote the cause of Big Oil, or both.

The most mindless flame-throwing anti-Tesla commenters impress me as being like Batman’s Joker rather than having a specific environmental or financial motive. Indeed, most true trolls have a similar characteristic:

From the Dark Knight: “Some men just want to watch the world burn”.

Unless you’re Batman, just ignore them and let the moderators deal with them.

Ok Robin.

The moderators have repeatedly stated that active posters are just a small percent of their visitors, and that they prefer a hand’s off approach to the comments whenever possible.

Expecting the mods to keep the comments clean of trolls isn’t going to happen, and they have been very clear about this.

georgeS — that doesn’t actually work. When simply ignored, they just continue to post, just with impunity. When ignored they just respond to each other.

It isn’t like this is some new problem. Green car websites have been dealing with trolls since the beginning. They never go away on their own.

Sorry friends. The 100 unit order from Pepsico is short lived record as UPS has placed 125 unit order today. So from today UPS is the leader.

As usual mainstream media has been blabbering that Thor will stomp on Tesla and they forgot the fact that Thor will show its might against the diesel truckmakers like Volvo, Mack, Frieghtliner, Navistar by grabbing some market from them.

As usual, Tesla will be flexible by offering Semis in 200, 300 and 500 mile ranges to suit the needs of different customers.

Anyway for now, we hope that they will ramp up the Model 3 production and sales.