UPS Rides In Tesla Semi: Seems Impressed By Its Smoothness


The Tesla Semi is on tour and UPS is pretty geeked.

Over the course of the last few weeks, we’ve shared several stories of Tesla Semi sightings in various locations. Recently, the Tesla Semi visited J.B. Hunt’s headquarters in Arkansas. Following that stop, it made its way to Addison, IL (some 600 miles away) to provide UPS employees with a first up-close look, as well as test rides. UPS currently holds a reservation for 125 Tesla Semis, which is one of the largest orders to date.

@IllinoisUPSers posted some images and videos of the Tesla Semi to its Twitter account. As you can see, the event was a hit and the employees seemed enamored with the vehicle’s ride quality. Additionally, Tesla’s VP for Truck and Programs Jerome Guillen was on hand for the experience.

Now that the behemoth is out on a public tour, onlookers have shared on Twitter that Tesla employees have been more than willing to allow tours of the semi. The automaker has also answered questions without hesitation and given permission for people to take pictures freely. This wasn’t the case early on. It seems we’ll be seeing and hearing a lot more about the Tesla Semi in the near future.

Source: Teslarati

Categories: Tesla, Trucks


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27 Comments on "UPS Rides In Tesla Semi: Seems Impressed By Its Smoothness"

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A smooth quiet ride doesn’t seem like a very important thing for a semi truck, but in reality driver fatigue is a very real problem for trucking companies. Anything that reduces driver fatigue is good.

Not having to clutch and shift should hugely reduce driver fatigue.

A lot of trucks are automatics now so that’s not as much of an issue anymore.

The problem with a automatic truck is you can’t disengage it quick enough in bad weather to keep yourself out of trouble when it’s slippery out there. You can’t counter steer a truck like a car, you have to be able to roll it out to save it.

In an ICE truck Id never give up my 13 speed (with splitter)

I’d like to try a Tesla semi on one of those old iced over skid pads like Schneider used to have in Green Bay before they went to simulators and see how well their anti jackknife tech really works. See how it feels when it finally breaks loose. When you’re going down the road that’s something you learn by instinct because you gotta be truly Johnny on the spot to save it, been there done that, lol haven’t lost one yet.

@Bunny said: “…I’d like to try a Tesla semi on one of those old iced over skid pads like Schneider used to have in Green Bay and see how well their anti jackknife tech really works…”

Indeed… It would be great if Tesla would release some video demos of the Tesla Semi Anti-Jackknife feature in action… ideally also include a traditional tractor for comparison. If the anti-jackknife feature works as advertised it’s a very big deal for truckers.

Also what would be good to know is to what extent the Tesla Semi braking takes work off of the normal trailer braking system. I’ve heard rumors that over 90% of the normal tractor braking is transferred to the Tesla Semi regen braking system (located on the Tesla Semi). If that’s true that would also be a huge benefit because it would gently lessen wear on the trailer brakes and for long mountain descends would likely be less chance of a truck runaway brake failure… no fun having to steer onto a pith-up runaway ramp!

Typo: “gently lessen wear” should read “greatly lessen wear”

I think the regen is the reason why Tesla is now claiming closer to 600 miles than 500, because in a big truck almost anywhere you drive has at least rolling hills or grades of some fashion. This is an area where I think Tesla is really going to shine with continuous improvement on programming too. On newer ICE trucks you can have the option of what’s called “smart cruise” that uses gps elevation data so when in cruise ( which is almost always) it calculates to conserve fuel just before you crest hill to take into account the soon to be no load going down the hill. So no doubt the same idea via gps data, Tesla will be able to fine tune the balance for max regen and lesser demand on the motors. I think on this part of it, Tesla gonna be way ahead of their competitors. I’d love to see advanced programming where you key in your gross weight as a variable because there’s definitely difference running at 80,000 gross and just running light in the high 60’s. when pulling a load. It’s going to be a true joy seeing these things getting built and in… Read more »

@Bunny said: “…I’d love to see advanced programming where you key in your gross weight as a variable because there’s definitely difference running at 80,000 gross and just running light in the high 60’s…”

Likely no need to key in gross weight on Tesla Semi… in theory rig total net gross weight that can be programmatically derived by Tesla Semi sensing regen torque feedback and adjusting accordingly in real time.

Bunny, does your truck have lane keep, and start-stop as well? I recently test drove a T680 that had all the bells and whistles, man that is sure a nice ride compared to our T800’s

T680 is a sweet truck, ours even have the factory fridge. I’m normally in a Volvo or Cascadia but have used one of the 680’s while my truck is in the shop. They have been buying T680’s and Volvo 760’s

I work for a small company (100 trucks) which I enjoy after working for huge company for long time, but they still buy around 20 new trucks a year to keep the fleet young.

Thanks for ypur insights Bunny!


Nix, I can assure you, as someone who knocks down around 500 miles a day, mostly at night , your post is spot on.
Modern day trucks are pretty quiet and with a good air seat, air sprung cab and air springs on drives provide pretty calm ride. EV would be a bit quieter,
No more noisy Jake braking.

When I’m running at night I keep my dash, gps display , ELD monitor ,etc just about as dim as they will go, much easier on the eyes . I’d hope the Tesla semi would have things like wipers, heater/defroster , mirror heaters, icc lights, type items still as switches so when running at night you can seriously darken those huge monitors and not have to brighten them while dealing with weather issues while driving. Even the Bluetooth is on the steering wheel in my newest truck.

@Bunny & @INSIDEEVs,
Would be great if you could arrange for @Bunny take a test drive (even if just shotgun seat) on the Tesla Semi for a special Tesla Semi review post here on INSIDEEVs!

Tesla Semi has the potential to disrupt ICE trucking big time… much quicker timeframe than is now contemplated by the traditional semi tractor makers. Would not be surprised to read INSIDEEVs articles in a few years about Tesla production challenges to meet Tesla Semi super high demand.

Great idea. We’ll send a message to Tesla.

That would be awesome… Get Bunny a test haul, at night to see how it all works.

when do they go into production?

Also relevant: WHERE do they go into production? Seems like the Fremont factory is filled.

I hope the GF is where they would expand to produce the semi, but of course, they have not decided as they are still designing, when they get it finished I’m sure it will be a wonderful vehicle with huge demand, but they’d have to obtain the money for the production line,Tesla is always late on these things so their deadline of the end of next year is likely to be passed, I look forward to the next step where they had ten or so semis delivering batteries to Fremeont, perhaps they’ll be doing that beginning in 2020. Daimler,Thor,Workhorse and others are also making bev semis, as well as Nikola with fcv so ev transport is on its way!

Workhorse is making semis?

What does Tesla need more than anything? What was the deciding factor with the GF1 location? Money/incentives…It’s not about the space, they can built production lines under tents if needed anywhere…

From Addison it´s only 840 miles to Wall Street. Elon: why not give the truck a detour, and show those working on Wall street how a truck looks like. Probably they have never seen one up close.

UPS and FedEx are the perfect customers for a BEV semi, its good to see that they like it…

CDAVIS, good point well taken on should be able to automatically calculate the weight factor, didn’t think of that. I guess I’m showing my age. On the subject of the anti jackknife technology, I have funny story to share with you. When I was a kid I worked in a machine shop, we built a prototype for a guy that had a patent in anti jackknife technology (1970’s !) basically think of a slot in the fifth wheel that an air cylinder would extend into forcing the cab and trailer to stay somewhat straight till the driver got back in control. I machined the air cylinders. It was hilarious when we tried it out in southwestern Michigan on a flooded out frozen over cornfield in the middle of winter , had this old drunk trucker who was crazy enough to drive it. Worked like a charm a few times til he rolled the whole thing over, but hey it did stay straight LOL This wasn’t GM level braintrust engineering, just a couple guys with zero money and an idea. Was fun to work on as it was. Was even more fun to see if it’d actually work. I left that… Read more »

@Bunny said: “…I have funny story to share with you…basically think of a slot in the fifth wheel that an air cylinder would extend into forcing the cab and trailer to stay somewhat straight till the driver got back in control…”

That’s an interesting story & good attempt to solve the jackknife problem.

What’s unique about the Tesla Semi is that there are 4 independent electric motors (Tesla Model 3 units) attached to each of the semi tractor tires on the rear axels with each motor having ability to independently set regen value and provide independent torque feedback loop… that allows you to do some interesting things programmatically including anti-jackknife.

I think that will be great tech being able to individually control the drives and I think that could be very effective for a lot but not sure being able to do that covers all real world scenarios. One of the last times I almost jackknifed was IL going eastbound i80 Very slippery conditions just trying to make it to a truck stop to shut down and a wind gust caught my empty trailer, thus causing the back of my tractor to start sliding , you instantly put in the clutch and pick a point in space to aim at and just roll it out til it’s straight, that might mean using a whole bunch of real estate (shoulder two lanes etc) but you have about 2 seconds to put in that clutch to disengage the drives, super important no power no braking, anything else but pure rolling It out and you’re going to go around wearing your trailer. I don’t know how to explain how it feels the instant the drives break loose but you have a very tiny amount of time to react here. When you spend hundreds of hours in the same seat you just know how… Read more »

@Bunny said: “wind gust caught my empty trailer, thus causing the back of my tractor to start sliding…I not sure Tesla’s tech works in that scenario…”

Likely not that fringe case…

Or perhaps these rocket boosters attached to each side of the back end of the trailer to counteract strong wind gusts:

Tesla Roadster With SpaceX-Inspired Boosters Comes To Life:

/yes, I’m joking

I know this is childish and immature , but what I really want to see is Tesla taking this thing to the drag strip. For some reason I am really curious to know how fast it is. Seeing something this big running a 12 or 13 second quarter mile would just be cool.

Back in the age of dinosaurs when I last drove a truck the torque multiplication would twist a tractor, without a trailer, so violently you had to start in maybe 2-high to start smoothly. Changing the orientation of the motor to align with the axle and having all wheel drive would solve that.