Tesla has just ended a five-year wait by delivering its first Semis. The electric truck has -almost- no more secrets now.
It has been five years since the American brand announced with great fanfare its arrival in the electric heavy-duty segment with the Semi. A model which, like the brand’s cars, intends to redefine the little habits of the sector and offer a vehicle that is as efficient as it is economical to use.
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Indicated for 2019, the first delivery has just been made during a special event called Semi-delivery event. It was on this occasion that Elon Musk, after an arrival to make Daft Punk blush, revealed all the secrets of the Semi. Or almost.
Three Engines… of Model S Throw Blanket
After a long introduction to the missions of the Tesla Semi, which should in particular contribute to the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions (20% of American emissions from road freight), Elon Musk opens the performance chapter, stating that the Semi features a three-motor setup. And not just anyone, since these are electric machines similar to those used in the Tesla Model S Plaid!
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Most of the time, only one unit is used to provide traction and promote efficiency. It is in case of need that the front axle equipped with two engines comes into action. The advantages would be felt when overtaking, but especially on the slopes, which would allow maintaining a relatively constant speed as presented by Tesla in front of a euphoric crowd. The power and torque values have still not been communicated, however, but the brand does not fail to specify a 0 to 60 mph (0 to 100 km / h) in 5 seconds empty, or in 20 seconds with a trailer fully charged.
But more than accelerations ahead of the clock, this mechanical configuration also makes it possible to maximize regenerative braking and thus preserve the friction system, which is always sensitive on heavy goods vehicles. The Tesla Semi should therefore be more reassuring on this point, while promising significant savings in discs and pads.
1,000 kW charging power for the Tesla Semi
The Tesla Semi still hasn’t specified its battery size. However, we learn to cross a presentation slide that the truck has a consumption of less than 2 kWh / mile. Or, in the worst case, an average of 124.3 kWh / 100 km. Difficult to establish a hierarchy with almost non-existent competition at the moment. If that matches the mileage we got on the recent 804km journey on a single charge, that might suggest the Semi has a 1,000kWh battery.
The challenge was therefore significant when it came to defining the charging performance, which had to rise to the occasion. For this, the battery relies on a 1,000 V electrical network, which allows it, among other things, to accept high DC charging powers. The Tesla Semi will therefore have to refuel exclusively on the V4 Superchargers, whose stations adapted to the size of the truck are starting to grow. The latter will notably have new cables with a completely revised cooling system, making it possible to obtain a peak of 1,000 kW during recharging. According to Tesla, the Semi could fill up to 80% battery in 30 minutes.
A starting price of $180,000 with the big battery
The marketing of the Tesla Semi has now been launched after the first truck deliveries to Pepsi and Frito-Lay, both of the PepsiCo group and the first to have expressed their interest in the Tesla Semi. For the moment, the Tesla Semi is available from $180,000 in its “Great Autonomy” version (an entry-level version with 483 km is also planned for $150,000). A price may be pretty for an American semi-trailer, but Tesla still promises $200,000 in fuel savings in three years of operation. Eventually, the American brand plans to release 100,000 units per year from its production lines.