Range of Tesla electric semi could reach 300 miles


Reuters reports that truck will be day cab model, have 200 to 300 mile range

The never-ending mystery over what kind of truck Tesla is building may have moved one giant step closer to being solved on Thursday when it was revealed the electric truck will likely have an operating range of 200 to 300 miles.

Reuters reported that the vehicle, a prototype of which is expected to be revealed next month, will likely be a day cab that can handle a typical payload before needing recharging. The news organization spoke with Scott Perry, chief technology officer and chief procurement officer for Ryder Systems, who met with Tesla officials earlier this year.

“I’m not going to count them out for having a strategy for longer distances or ranges, but right out of the gate I think that’s where they’ll start,” Perry told Reuters.

Reuters reached out to Tesla, who declined to comment on the report.

Many have been skeptical of Tesla’s plans to build a long-haul Class 8 tractor, which is what founder Elon Musk said the company was doing. Extending out to 300 miles would put the tractor on the technical edge of long haul, noted Perry.

“A lot of people don't think you can do a heavy-duty, long-range truck that's electric, but we are confident that this can be done,” Musk said this summer.

With a range of less than 300 miles, the truck will likely fall into regional delivery applications, an area that is booming with the growth of e-commerce. Reuters quoted Sandeep Kar, chief strategy officer with Fleet Complete, as noting that approximately 30% of U.S. trucking jobs are for trips of 100 to 200 miles, well within the range of the Tesla Semi if the reports are accurate.

The truck is also expected to have some self-driving features as Tesla works to incorporate self-driving technology into it.

The regional haul segment is gaining a lot of attention with Volvo Trucks unveiling a new regional diesel-powered tractor this year. In addition, a number of upstart companies are trying to break into the electric truck market, including Chanje, a Chinese company that is building electric delivery trucks in California that are expected to be sold by Ryder, and even Daimler Trucks, which begins production of a 100-mile range electric truck next year capable of carrying 9,400 pounds of cargo.

Tesla’s truck, operating in a regional route application, would allow it to return to a central location at night to recharge.