Tesla Semi reportedly completes 800km range test, US deliveries to begin within days
Tesla’s Semi electric truck has passed its final test before North American deliveries kick off next month, CEO Elon Musk claims, more than five years after it was revealed.
13:0129 November 2022
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Tesla CEO Elon Musk claims the company’s Semi electric truck has successfully driven for more than 800km on a single charge – just days away from the first examples being delivered to customers, almost three years behind schedule. In a post on Twitter – now owned by Mr Musk – the executive claimed Tesla’s Semi development team had driven the electric truck for 500 miles (805km), fully loaded and weighing more than 36,500kg. According to Tesla’s North American website, there are two variants of the Semi – offering batteries good for a claimed driving range of 483km or 805km respectively, with both figures measured at the vehicle’s 37,194kg gross combination weight.
Tesla is yet to confirm final technical details for the Semi electric truck, although calculations from the claimed 805km-range and energy consumption suggest the flagship model’s battery offers about 1000kWh (or one megawatt-hour) of energy capacity.
For context, the Tesla Model 3 – one of the world’s best-selling electric cars – in Australia is powered by batteries which range between 62.3kWh (estimated) and 82kWh, delivering a claimed driving range between 491km and 602km in European WLTP testing. The US company has previously claimed its upcoming ‘Megachargers’ can add up to 563km worth of driving range to the Tesla Semi’s battery in 30 minutes, although it has not detailed how much power (in kilowatts) the ultra-fast chargers can produce.
Both Tesla Semi variants are powered by four electric motors which drive the rear wheels, with the electric-vehicle giant claiming its truck can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in five seconds.
As previously reported, deliveries of the Tesla Semi to North American customers are due to begin on December 1 – more than five years after the electric truck was revealed, and three years behind schedule. In the US, the entry-level, 482km driving-range Tesla Semi has previously been priced from £US150,000 (£AU225,000), while the flagship 805km variant starts at £US180,000 (£AU270,000).
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Volvo’s FH series electric truck
Tesla isn’t the only company introducing electric trucks, with many established European companies investing in plug-in Big Rigs. In July 2022, Swedish manufacturer Scania revealed its range of electric trucks, with its range-topping variants claiming driving ranges of up to 350km thanks to 624kWh batteries – which can be charged at up to 375kW.
Sweden’s Volvo started production of its European electric trucks in September, headlined by the top-of-the-range FH which is powered by a 540kWh battery, good for a claimed driving range of approximately 300km when loaded up to 44 tonnes.
Last year, Mercedes-Benz unveiled eActros plug-in trucks, which can achieve up to 400km of driving range with a battery capacity of 420kWh – although these trucks are smaller than the ones from Scania and Volvo.
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Range Energy’s battery-powered truck trailer with electric motors
The electrification of the heavy vehicle industry is beginning to expand outside of trucks.
US start-up Range Energy claims it is developing truck trailers which are fitted with electric motors powering their wheels. In a media statement, Range Energy said the electric motors incorporated regenerative braking to recharge the vehicle’s batteries, reducing the load on a truck’s brakes. The company claims its powered trailers can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from a traditional diesel-powered truck by up to 40 per cent, though the concept is yet to be put into production.
Jordan Mulach is Canberra/Ngunnawal born, currently residing in Brisbane/Turrbal.
Joining the Drive team in 2022, Jordan has previously worked for Auto Action, MotorsportM8, The Supercars Collective and TouringCarTimes, WhichCar, Wheels, Motor and Street Machine.
Jordan is a self-described iRacing addict and can be found on weekends either behind the wheel of his Octavia RS or swearing at his ZH Fairlane.