WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
500 miles is the sweet spot for trucking because truckers have to stop every 8 hours, and this is a major achievement.
Elon Musk has confirmed that Tesla Semi has completed its first 500-mile trip with a full load – quite a feat for a battery-electric truck. Tesla Semi is an all-electric class 8 commercial truck that Tesla first unveiled in 2017, and it was supposed to be in production in 2019. However, it was delayed several times.
At the time, it was quite revolutionary to have a purely battery-powered truck with a full 80,000-lb. class 8 capacity capable of traveling between 300 and 500 miles, depending on the model.
Since then, several other companies have managed to beat Tesla to market with class 8 electric semi-trucks, such as Volvo, Freightliner, and Nikola, but they have only managed to come close to the lower end of the range.
Now Tesla is finally bringing its electric truck to market with deliveries expected to start this week, and it’s a 500-mile version of the electric truck. Last night, Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed that a Tesla Semi has now completed a 500-mile trip with a full load.
It seems a bit last minute to complete the first 500-mile drive, considering Tesla is expected to deliver production versions of the truck to customers this week, but Tesla has presumably previously completed many shorter trips that confirmed the full range could reach 500 miles on a single charge.
Five hundred miles with a full load between charges is the sweet spot for a commercial long-haul semi-truck, because after about eight hours of driving, a break for the driver is mandatory.
With that capacity and a much lower cost of operation per mile than diesel trucks, Tesla Semi is expected to have a major impact on the trucking industry, and if the price point is good, which could be confirmed at the event this week, it could truly be a game changer.
The 500-mile range on a full charge is going to be good to convince people that battery-electric trucks can take over the whole Class-8 market. However, I think the best use cases at first are going to be for companies, like Tesla, that often need to move a lot of cargo between two locations that they control, like a factory and delivery centers.
That way, it can have charging stations at each location that charges the trucks while they are loaded, and then you get an all-electric and emission-free trip between the locations while massively reducing your fuel costs.
What company will not want that? When it’s going to be time to update their fleets, companies will fight to get those trucks as production ramps up.