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Tesla delivers first Semi electric truck to Pepsi

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Elon Musk unveiled it in 2017 and said it was coming in 2019. Three more years later, it’s finally here: the first production Tesla Semi electric truck.

Tesla highlighted the milestone with a Semi Delivery Event on Thursday, held at the company’s Gigafactory in Nevada, where the first Semi was officially delivered to PepsiCo.

The Semi is a class 8 electric truck powered by three motors on rear axles, with a 300- or 500 mile-range (depending on the configuration), load capacity of 82,000 pounds, and a 0–60mph time of 20 seconds. “This thing has crazy power compared to a diesel truck,” Musk said during the event.

Like other Teslas, the Semi charges fast: Tesla specs say you can get a 70 percent charge in 30 minutes, thanks to Tesla’s one-megawatt, liquid cooled charging tech (the same tech will be used for Tesla’s upcoming Cybertruck, too). And it brings a ton of Tesla tech over from other cars, including the infotainment system, drive units, and the heat pump system. “It looks sick,” said Musk. “That thing looks like it came from the future. It’s like driving…a Tesla, literally.”

To prove that the Semi really has a 500-mile range, Tesla recorded a recent trip where a fully loaded Semi covered the 500-mile trip from Fremont to San Diego. The company released a timelapse video of the feat; check it out below.

Prospective buyers, however, will primarily be interested in total cost of ownership. The Semi is pricy – $150,000 for the 300-mile version, and $180,000 for the 500-mile version — but the savings come in energy costs (the Semi consumes less than two kWh per mile), with the Semi saving up to $250,000 over a million miles according to Musk.

During the event, Musk reiterated Tesla’s mission statement, which he says is accelerating the advent towards sustainable energy. This, he claims, is why the company hasn’t stuck to only building passenger cars, but has also expanded to trucks and pickups, with the aim to “cover major forms of terrestrial transport.” On a slide shown during the presentation, the categories of vehicles pictured were luxury (Model S and Model X), midsize (Model 3 and Model Y), commercial (Semi), pickup (Cybertruck), and a shrouded category called “robotaxi.” Musk has spoken of these autonomous cabs several times before; in April, he said the company aims to produce self-driving robotaxis by 2024.

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As for the Tesla Semi, Musk compared it mainly to diesel trucks, but other companies, including Volvo and Daimler, have already brought, or are bringing electric trucks to the road. Musk didn’t say how many Semis Tesla plans to produce and sell, but given the competition, it’ll be an interesting race.

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