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Tesla unveils 1st Semi trucks at PepsiCo delivery event

Elon Musk calls Tesla Semi ‘a step change improvement’ for trucking industry

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the Semi is “as easy to drive as a Model 3” and the truck could be driven with “no training.” Pictured is Musk talking to PepsiCo officials during the event in Sparks, Nevada. (Photo: Tesla)

Elon Musk on Thursday unveiled the Tesla Semi, an all-electric Class 8 truck the automaker hopes will shake up the commercial transportation industry.

Musk, Tesla’s co-founder and CEO, introduced the Semi during a live event at the company’s Nevada Gigafactory. 

“This thing has crazy power relative to a diesel truck,” said Musk. “It’s fast to accelerate, it’s fast to brake, it’s really a step change improvement in what it’s currently like to drive a semi truck. It’s got three times the power of any diesel truck on the road right now.”

Musk said the Semi is part of Tesla’s main goal: to reduce carbon emissions and create sustainable energy. Development of the Semi truck began in 2017. 

“When you factor in the number of hours driven with Class 8 trucks and the weight that they are carrying — although it’s only 1% of vehicle production, it’s over 20% of vehicle emissions and 36% of vehicle particulate emissions,” Musk said. “From a health standpoint, particularly in cities, this is a huge impact.”

Musk also said the Semi is “as easy to drive as a Model 3” and could be driven with “no training.”


Musk said at the event the Semi successfully completed a 500-mile trip on Nov. 15 between Fremont, Nevada, and San Diego, with a load weighing 81,000 pounds.

Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) delivered the first two Tesla Semi trucks to PepsiCo subsidiary Frito-Lay during the event. 

Musk said the Semi would be integrated into the company’s own supply chain and that Tesla is using the trucks “day and night” at its Gigafactory Texas in Austin.

The Semi had been priced at $150,000 for the 300-mile range version and $180,000 for the 500-mile truck, according to previous information on the Tesla website. It’s unclear if prices have changed.

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3 Comments

  1. Steelshipper

    3 times the power, that’s awesome. Question is, how long does it take to charge and are the batteries completely dead at the end of the 300 or 500 mile run.

  2. Tim Menard

    81,000 lbs ?
    Did you get the required overweight permits? California also has “Bridge Laws. Did you abide by weights on your entire routes. Sounds like there was several citationable offenses and a “Out of Service” Violation. Congrats.

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Noi Mahoney

Noi Mahoney is a Texas-based journalist who covers cross-border trade, logistics and supply chains for FreightWaves. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English in 1998. Mahoney has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working for newspapers in Florida, Maryland and Texas. Contact [email protected]