Tesla has delivered its first electric truck, the Semi: heavy goods vehicles are also going “green”

The delivery on December 1 to PepsiCo of a tractor capable of moving more than 30 tonnes over a distance of 800 km without emitting pollutants has swung the transport of goods by road into a new era. But Tesla is not alone, other manufacturers are presenting prototypes, or even entering this market with all-electric or hydrogen hybrids.

Inevitably, he has the physique of a mirrored wardrobe, he is a heavyweight. But there is this worked aerodynamics and this line which bars the museum and delimits the bottom, more dug, a pencil stroke that we find on the cars of the range. And Tesla’s T.

By delivering its first Semi, on 1uh December, the American undoubtedly took into account a fundamental transformation of road freight transport. Its mutation towards carbon neutrality. And if this one is electric, others will run on hydrogen.

Delivered our first Tesla Semis last week ✌️ pic.twitter.com/4o2tlkDcyH

—Tesla (@Tesla) December 7, 2022

37 tons, 70% autonomy in 30 minutes

Presented in 2017, the Semi has since been expected by many as the first step in this revolution. However, it took five years for Elon Musk to orchestrate the delivery of his first copy to PepsiCo and unveil the characteristics of this first commercially operational electric tractor. They are quite spectacular, if held.

Tesla Semi going 500 miles, fully charged, on a single charge pic.twitter.com/iZzomLcwZF

—Tesla (@Tesla) December 2, 2022

Tesla claims a range of 800 km per charge for this 37-ton engine, at the central driving position. The “truck” is also capable of reaching a speed of 60 miles (97 km/h) in twenty seconds and of holding it, uphill or downhill, driven by three motors on the two axles located at the rear. Its battery recovers up to “70% autonomy in thirty minutes”it is claimed.

Electricity, but also hydrogen

The Texas firm is aiming for 50,000 deliveries in 2024, but it is not the only one in this niche. In Europe, the German Quantron works on a MAN basis. Renault Trucks, in France, will put on the road at the beginning of 2023 a T E-Tech of 666 hp, 44 t, and a range “up to 500 km with an intermediate fast charge (250 kW) of one hour”, explains the manufacturer from Lyon. In the United States, the Nikola firm is developing the TRE, with the Italian Iveco, to cite a few examples. Particularity of the Nikola TRE and the Quantron QHM FCEV, they will be electric and hydrogen hybrids, a technology that changes the game on several levels.

The Renault Trucks T E-Tech has six packs of lithium-ion batteries for a range of 300 km
Renault Trucks

Contained in a tank, the hydrogen, combined with the oxygen in the air, is transformed by a fuel cell into electricity and this supplies the powertrain. Precisely the configuration chosen by the CATHyOPÉ consortium, which brings together the French Carrefour, GreenGT Technologies and the Vaucluse carrier Chabas. The environmental interest is multiple. “No emission of fine particles, NOx or CO2”the motor is silent, only rejects “water in the form of vapor” and the full of hydrogen is made “in a time of fifteen minutes, as with a diesel vehicle”, list Aurélien Coudray. Beyond that, this traction chain offers power (“530hp”for the French demonstrator), autonomy (“450 to 500 km”) and loading capacity required by heavy transport.

The CATHyOPÉ truck and trailer combination offers the performance of a 44 t diesel engine.

The CATHyOPÉ truck and trailer combination offers the performance of a 44 t diesel engine.
CATHyOPE – Rémi Chaillaud

CATHyOPÉ, demonstrator soon to be approved

Aurélien Coudray coordinated the project for the consortium. An adventure born from the encounter between the approaches of the three partners. Chabas had as soon as “2011 adhered to the Objectif CO charter2 Ademe, to reduce its emissions” ; Carrefour pushed its carriers in this direction as part of its CSR approach and the GreenGT design office developed a motorized racing car in this way. Helped by Adème, which distributed 4.2 of the €9.7 million needed, “the challenge was to apply this technology to a truck”continues Aurélien Coudray, dedicated to the transport of goods “under controlled temperature”.

Find in pictures, the demonstration of #CATHYOPE during the #24HTrucksaccompanied by the LMPH2G, the electric-hydrogen racing prototype of the program @MissionH24 created in collaboration with#CO and GreenGT.#ADEME #greengt #groupchabas #Crossroads #hydrogennow #Fuel cell #FCEV pic.twitter.com/GAGDXqmKgJ

— GreenGT (@GreenGTOfficiel) October 7, 2022

Unveiled in March, CATHyOPÉ, a refrigerated 44 t, has been on the road a lot since then. “Optimization and reliability tests, bench tests, on private roads, up to 97 km/hdetails the program coordinator. It was made to travel several hundred kilometers, loaded, so as to prepare for the homologation phase, at the beginning of 2023.“Open road tests will still be necessary before the machine is put into operation for the benefit of the distribution giant, certainly “in a very urban environment. It will be in the nails for low emission zones.”

Old rather than build

“None of the three CATHyOPÉ partners is intended to become a vehicle manufacturerPointe Aurélien Coudray. The rest of the project is to transfer technology and have the major manufacturers take over. We mostly saw the skills development aspect.”

Chabas, GreenGT and the CCI of Var, the department where the design office is located, have thus created a structure, HyVar, and developed a training offer dedicated to this type of machine. “Driving a hydrogen vehicle, maintenance, how to fill up, etc., professions will have to be indicated, the need for training will be substantial”observes Aurélien Coudray.

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