Tesla delivered a tri-motor Semi with carbon-sleeved rotors, like Plaid, to the first customer. With best-in-class efficiency, economy, and environmental friendliness, the electric beast will change the entire trucking industry.
On December 1, Tesla delivered the first Semis to the first customer, Pepsi Co. The class 8 truck has a total power output three times higher than any diesel truck on the road. The heavy Semi accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in just 20 seconds when fully loaded. Video from internal testing confirmed that overtaking a diesel truck on the track was very easy and fast, while driving uphill on a 6% grade. Electric trucks in the US can be loaded 2,000 pounds more than diesel trucks, while in the EU they can be ~4,400 pounds heavier. Tesla's tests showed that the 81,000-pound Semi drove 500 miles on a single charge.
Tesla Semi is equipped with a new three-motor system consisting of three independent electric motors. The electric motors have carbon-sleeved rotors—the same as in Tesla Model S and Model X Plaid. As in Tesla's passenger models, they are small, about the size of a basketball, which is impressive.
The first rear axle has one electric motor, which is constantly engaged through a single-speed reduction gear and optimized for highway driving. Two other electric motors are used on the rear axle to drive the left and right wheels individually. They are optimized for acceleration and torque. Depending on the circumstances, the two rear motors are automatically and seamlessly engaged or disengaged mechanically from the drive axle to minimize energy losses.
While most heavy-duty truck trips are shorter than 500 miles, Tesla wanted long-distance hauls to be sustainable as well. Combined trucks, of which the vast majority are semi-trailers, make up only 1.1% of the total fleet of vehicles on the roads in the US. However, because combination trucks have high fuel consumption due to their weight and heavy use, they account for approximately 20% of all vehicle emissions in the US. The electrification of the heavy-duty vehicle segment is an important part of the world's transition to sustainable energy, and Tesla is making an important contribution that will ultimately change the rules for the entire trucking industry.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.