Tesla Semi production starts, but don’t expect Megacharger truck stops anytime soon

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    Tesla is beginning manufacturing of its electrical Semi, and the primary of them will likely be delivered to Pepsi beginning December 1, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed Thursday by way of Twitter.

    It’s been a protracted street to manufacturing for the mission, which was revealed in 2017, with the corporate then saying the Semi would go into manufacturing in 2019. 

    That mentioned, it’s ahead of Musk had led shareholders to consider earlier this 12 months. As lately as January, Musk had mentioned that the look forward to the Cybertruck, Roadster, and Semi would stretch to 2023, as the corporate pushed new merchandise off and targeted this 12 months on scaling output of its present merchandise, in addition to coping with supply-chain delays and chip shortages.

    Not the primary, however an enormous effectivity benefit?

    Contemplating the delays, Tesla isn’t the primary with a Class 8 electrical semi. One of many different rivals, Freightliner, unveiled its first pre-production eCascadia fashions in 2019, and put the vans to make use of with prospects, accumulating greater than 1,000,000 real-world miles as of 2021. The eCascadia entered common collection manufacturing in Might. 

    Prototype for Tesla Semi electric semi-trailer truck

    Prototype for Tesla Semi electrical semi-trailer truck

    Musk insisted in a follow-up tweet that the Semi would have a 500-mile vary and be “tremendous enjoyable to drive.” The vary can be an enormous benefit over the eCascadia’s 230 miles, with its 438-kwh battery pack, if it proves true—and there stay skeptics. Remaining specs of the Semi haven’t been posted. 

    In August Musk advised Semis would begin delivery by the top of the 12 months, but when there’s been a Tesla mission with extra sliding timelines than even followers can sustain with, this has been it.

    It’s been about batteries

    The explanations Musk has been most vocal about relate to batteries. At numerous factors, Musk has defined that the Semi’s manufacturing ramp-up was being delayed partly or solely as a result of it relied on so many cells, The Semi requires about 5 instances as many cells as for a automobile. 

    Cylindrical cells - Panasonic hinting at 4680 progress

    Cylindrical cells – Panasonic hinting at 4680 progress

    Musk additionally complained in July 2021 that the corporate’s “Baskin-Robbins of batteries”—learn: too many sorts—scenario wanted to be remedied. However finally it was an all-of-the-above strategy that helped the corporate achieve sufficient batteries—together with the corporate’s personal ramp of its 4680 cell format, the continued use of the 2170 format for a lot of autos, and its shift to LFP cells for some fashions. 

    Then, in September, Tesla’s VP of investor relations Martin Viecha advised, at a Goldman Sachs presentation, that cell provide was now not such a difficulty. 

    Tesla Supercharger station V3, Las Vegas

    Tesla Supercharger station V3, Las Vegas

    So with Semis quickly showing in some extremely seen fleets, how will they get prices for fast turnaround? In brief, don’t search for huge Megacharger truck stops able to serve Tesla Semis, as its Supercharger stations do for its EVs. Don’t search for Megachargers at Supercharger stations both. 

    Tesla Megachargers’ second has handed

    In accordance with Tesla senior charging coverage supervisor Francesca Wahl, responding in a Q&A this previous week on the CharIn North America Convention in Portland, attended by Inexperienced Automotive Experiences, it’s not going to occur—a minimum of not anytime quickly. 

    “We don’t essentially envision ourselves as a public—even heavy-duty—fast-charging owner-operator, doubtlessly, until it’s for our personal fleet,” mentioned Wahl, responding to a query about how Tesla plans to have interaction in megawatt-level charging.

    “So just like others, initially, most likely there will likely be a whole lot of depot charging, then there will likely be public charging,” Wahl added. “And so I believe we’re actually to see who will play that function, how the federal funding will play into that and supply the assist as properly; however I don’t suppose you’ll be seeing Supercharger websites as heavy-duty websites anytime quickly.”

    The 1.5-megawatt Tesla Megacharger idea, which was primarily rolled out with the Semi prototype, has already been put in in take a look at models at its Nevada Gigafactory, at Frito-Lay headquarters, and maybe at different shopper services. 

    Freightliner eCascadia

    Freightliner eCascadia

    However it won’t get a lot additional than this. Tesla isn’t proprietary with its charging format in Europe. There, the place the charging infrastructure was already properly built-out by the point of its market entry, its autos use the CCS format. And with the extra hurdles of siting and constructing a megawatt station—plus the opportunity of public cash that can stipulate format-agnostic—there are incentives to go together with the virtually absolutely baked Megawatt Charging Commonplace, or MCS, that the CharIn convention targeted on. 

    Tesla advised in 2020 that it’s trying to deploy infrastructure with different events, and choose a typical highly effective sufficient to cost a truck throughout mandated breaks. And with the automaker’s continued participation within the improvement of the Megawatt Charging Commonplace, or MCS, that’s successfully it. As a substitute of the choke between a number of charging requirements, the uncommon and costly infrastructure round future megawatt truck stops will hopefully be deployed for the decrease air pollution and carbon emissions of all these trying to ship items round, not simply those that select a single model. 

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