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Tesla delivers first electric semi truck three years late

Tesla delivers first electric semi truck three years late

The first Tesla Semi trucks were delivered to customers at an event at the company's Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada, on Thursday, five years after they were first revealed.

The trucks, which were first unveiled as a concept in 2017, were supposed to go into production in 2019, but were delayed for a number of reasons, including the COVID-19 pandemic and global parts shortages. Representatives from PepsiCo, which had reserved the 100cm shortly after it was revealed, were on hand to receive the first batch of trucks.

Tesla says the Semi is powered by four independent motors on the rear axle, can accelerate from 0-60mph in 20 seconds, and has a battery range of up to 500 miles. Prices can start at $150,000, and many orders from businesses such as Walmart and FedEx have been received in the low-dozen range.

Standing on a platform of four Tesla Semis, two of which are draped in Pepsi and Frito Lay logos, Musk talked about the need to reduce the amount of carbon emissions produced by the shipment of goods across the planet. But after paying lip service to the mission to fight climate change, he quickly turned to his own distinct brand of showmanship.

"It looks sick," Tesla CEO Elon Musk said onstage at the event. "You want to drive him. I mean, it looks like this thing came from the future." Musk later called Semi "a beast".

Musk said that would make the Semi the most efficient, most desirable and most drivable truck on the road. The truck will feature a new 1,000-volt powertrain architecture, which Musk said will be a factor in future product development at Tesla. The semi also features traction control to prevent jackknifing, regenerative braking for increased battery efficiency and an automatic clutch for seamless highway driving.

"It's a step-change in technology in many ways," Musk said.

Over the weekend, Musk revealed that one of Tesla's battery-powered Class 8 semi-trucks had completed a 500-mile trip fully loaded with 81,000 pounds of cargo. The trip took place from Tesla's factory in Fremont, California, to San Diego at the southern tip of the state. In the program, Musk clarified that the trip was accomplished without the need to recharge the batteries.

Tesla is positioning the Semi as the future of trucking. But while the company has struggled to start production, the rest of the trucking industry has already embraced EVs. Major equipment makers such as Daimler, Volvo, Peterbilt and BYD are working on electric long-holers of their own. According to Bloomberg, the Tesla Semis delivered today were the final piece of the $30.8 million project, which was partially funded by the California Air Resources Board. Even Nikola Motors, which has been battling fraud allegations and executive turnover, has delivered a hydrogen-powered truck before Tesla.

Still, battery-powered electric vehicles will face enormous challenges, from weight restrictions to the availability of convenient charging stations, before they can be widely adopted. Truck stops, for example, are largely unprepared to meet the power needs of electric tractor-trailers and their massive batteries.

Two years ago, Bill Gates said that "despite huge breakthroughs in battery technology," electric vehicles weren't ready to tackle long-distance trucking. "Electricity works when you need to travel short distances, but for heavy, long-range vehicles we need a different solution," Gates wrote. (Exactly Musk's response to Gates was to post crude memes on Twitter.)

Musk addressed charging during the event, revealing that Tesla has developed a new liquid-cooled charging connector capable of delivering 1 MW of direct current power. "It's also going to be used for the Cybertruck," Musk added to cheers from the audience. (The similarly much-delayed Cybertruck is expected to begin production in late 2023.) He also talked about the need to disconnect Tesla's Superchargers from the grid to ensure they continue to power during outages. can keep

Trucks are a key component of Musk's "master plan Part Deux," in which he vowed to expand the company's lineup of vehicles to "cover major forms of terrestrial transportation," including semi trucks.

During the event, Musk talked about Tesla's current product lineup, which has been criticized as stale compared to other automakers that often release refreshed versions of previous models. Standing in front of an image of Tesla's vehicle lineup, which includes an upcoming Cybertruck and a cover vehicle labeled "Robotaxis", Musk said Tesla was not like other car companies.

"So what is our real mission? Our real mission is to accelerate the advent of sustainable energy," Musk said. "So we're making this wide range of cars that really doesn't make sense from a brand perspective."

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