Musk delivers first Tesla truck, but no updates on production, pricing

  • Tesla ships first Semi to PepsiCo five years after unveiling it
  • No details on electric truck controls or capacity
  • Semi uses existing Tesla motors to come up with a new Supercharger

Dec 1 (Reuters) – Tesla Inc’s (TSLA.O) chief executive Elon Musk delivered the company’s first heavy-duty to PepsiCo (PEP.O) on Thursday without offering an updated forecast on pricing, plans of production or the quantity of freight of the truck. could carry.

Musk, who appeared on stage at an event at Tesla’s Nevada factory, said the battery-powered long-haul truck would reduce highway emissions, outperform existing diesel models in power and security and would derive a fast charging technology that Tesla would use in its next Cybertruck pickup.

“If you’re a trucker and want the most badass platform on the road, that’s it,” Musk said, noting that it had been five years since Tesla announced it was developing the all-electric truck. Yet industry experts remain skeptical that battery electric trucks can handle the burden of hauling heavy loads hundreds of miles economically.

In Musk’s first reveal of Tesla since taking over Twitter – an acquisition some investors fear has become a distraction – the company did not announce the price of the Semi, provide details on variants of the truck that it originally projected or provided a forecast for deliveries to PepsiCo or other customers. Tesla said it would start using the Semi to ship parts to its factory in Fremont, California.

In 2017, Tesla said the 300-mile range version of the Semi would cost $150,000 and the 500-mile version $180,000, but prices for Tesla’s electric passenger vehicles have risen sharply since then.

Robyn Denholm, president of Tesla, recently said the automaker could produce 100 Semis this year. Musk said Tesla would aim to produce 50,000 trucks in 2024.

PepsiCo, which made its first cargo delivery with the Tesla truck to deliver snacks to people attending the Nevada launch event, ordered 100 trucks in 2017.

Brewer Anheuser-Busch (ABI.BR), United Parcel Service Inc (UPS.N) and Walmart Inc (WMT.N) were among the other companies that had booked the Semi. Tesla did not provide details of orders or deliveries to customers, or an estimate of what the total cost of ownership would be for future buyers compared to diesel alternatives.

“NOT AWESOME”

Musk said the Semi ran tests between Tesla’s factory in Sparks, Nevada, and its factory in Fremont, California. Tesla said it traveled 500 miles on a single charge, with the Semi and cargo weighing a total of 81,000 pounds.

Tesla did not disclose the weight of a Semi unloaded, a key specification analysts hoped to learn and an important consideration for electric truck efficiency.

Musk has spoken in the past about the prospect of fully autonomous trucks. Tesla did not provide details on how Tesla’s driver assistance systems work in the Semi it unveiled on Thursday or in future versions.

Semi Delivery’s presentation ended without Musk answering any questions, as he often does at Tesla events.

“Not very impressive – moving a cargo of crisps (average weight per pack 52 grams) can by no means be considered a definitive proof of concept,” said Oliver Dixon, principal analyst at consultancy Guidehouse.

Tesla originally set a 2019 production target for the Semi, which was first unveiled in 2017. In the years since, rivals have started selling their own battery-powered trucks.

Daimler’s Freightliner (MBGn.DE), Volvo (VOLVb.ST), startup Nikola (NKLA.O) and Renault (RENA.PA) are among Tesla’s competitors in developing alternatives to combustion engine trucks.

Walmart (WMT.N), for example, said it tested Freightliner’s eCascadia and Nikola’s Tre BEV trucks in California.

‘LIKE A CHEETAH’

The Semi is capable of charging at 1 megawatt and features liquid cooling technology in the charging cable in an updated version of Tesla’s Supercharger that will be made available to the Cybertruck, Musk said. The Cybertruck is expected to enter production in 2023.

Semi-class trucks account for just 1% of U.S. vehicle sales, but 20% of overall vehicle emissions, Tesla said.

Tesla said other future vehicles would use the powertrain technology developed for the Semi without providing details. The Semi uses three electric motors developed for Tesla’s performance version of its Model S, with just one of them engaged at highway speeds and two in reserve when the truck needs to accelerate, a feature that makes the truck more fuel-efficient. energy, Musk said. .

“This thing has crazy horsepower compared to a diesel truck,” Musk said. “Basically, it’s like an elephant moving like a cheetah.”

In a slide displayed as part of Musk’s presentation, Tesla showed an image of a future “robotaxis” in development with a mock-up of the future car covered in a tarp.

The presentation came after Tesla shares closed at $194.70. The stock has fallen around 45% so far this year, losing around $500 billion in market capitalization to around $615 billion.

Among the factors cited by investors are Musk’s Tesla stock sales to fund his takeover of Twitter, signs that a slowing global economy has begun to reduce demand for Tesla’s premium cars and a warning from the company that it might not meet its expectations. objective of increasing deliveries by 50% this year.

Reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru and Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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