Trucks are the most polluting vehicles on the road, releasing hundreds of thousands of tons of exhaust gases into the atmosphere every year. Tesla Semi is designed to solve this problem by reducing fleetwide emissions.
Solving the environmental problems of mankind is the most basic task for Tesla. By analyzing the worst polluting vehicles on the road, the manufacturer determined that trucks were the main problem. Combination trucks – of which the vast majority are semi trucks – in the U.S. account for just 1.1% of the total fleet of vehicles on the road, which is a very small share. However, they have high fuel consumption due to their weight and heavy utilization, and account for approximately 18% of all U.S. vehicle emissions. This is an unbelievably large share for a vehicle that represents such a small percentage of the automotive market. That is why Tesla entered the semi-truck segment. Electrifying the heavy-duty truck segment is an essential part of transitioning the world to sustainable energy. It is Semi that offers the opportunity to make a huge impact on greenhouse gas emissions from transport.
Source: 2021 Tesla Impact Report
The U.S. and the E.U. have approved higher weight tolerances for heavy-duty electric trucks. Tesla expects the payload to be at least as high as that of a diesel truck. In the E.U., electric semi trucks are allowed to be 2 tons (~4,400 pounds) heavier than diesel equivalents, and in the U.S. the allowance is 0.9 tons (2,000 pounds). Thus, Tesla Semi has great potential to solve the problem of excessive and unnecessary emissions into the atmosphere.
When fully loaded, Tesla Semi should cover over 500 miles thanks to its aerodynamics and high-performance motors. Thus, this truck will be able to reach an efficiency of over 0.5 miles per kWh. While most heavy trucking journeys are shorter than 500 miles, the company is committed to ensuring long-distance hauls are also sustainable. Tesla is currently developing a Semi charger network at trucking rest stops across the U.S. and Europe, where each Tesla Semi could top up its range.
The main source of pollution from heavy trucks, as well as from vehicles with internal combustion engines, is exhaust gases. They contain chemical compounds dangerous to the environment and human health: oxides of carbon and nitrogen, hydrocarbons, soot, sulfur dioxide, tetraethyl lead, and others. Tesla Semi is designed to solve this problem and remove the heaviest polluters from the roads.
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