Although the Tesla semi-trucks are the cause of much news and excitement, one large concern stood out: How far could the truck run on a single charge?
Well, that concern may not be as large as some though. In order to address the concerns of truck drivers and trucking firms, Tesla has been hard at work to shrink the size of their battery. They’ve even hired perhaps the best battery researcher in the world.
But did Tesla’s work pay off?
The Structural Battery
Having a bulky and heavy energy source inside the truck reduces cargo capacity and increases fuel consumption, even if that fuel is electricity. To address these concerns, the Tesla semi-truck battery will incorporated directly into the chassis as a structural battery pack.
This construction will keep the weight similar to a normal chassis weight, and the Tesla trucks shouldn’t require a significant boost of power to move the extra weight. Traditional cargo capacity levels can also be maintained.
Smaller Is Better
The structural battery is also smaller than originally anticipated. To understand why, let’s take a look at what we know for sure thus far based on press releases.
When the Tesla Semi was revealed, two models were offered. A 300-mile per charge big rig for $150,000 or a 500-mile per charge for $30,000 more. To offset the initial financial investment, the electric-powered vehicle manufacturer explained the trucks would pay for themselves in a short amount of time.
The fuel consumption figure mentioned was a rate of less than 2 kWh per mile, even at full capacity. Given the impressive rate, many market watchers anticipated large battery packs being utilized because these are capable of housing at least 600 kWh.
Fortunately, that estimate appears to be off the mark.
In a recent interview with Joe Rogan, the CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, revealed that the battery is likely going to be much smaller than expected. To elaborate, Musk stated the battery will likely be “…something like a 500 kWh pack in the Tesla Semi.”
The Tesla CEO went on to reveal that the initial battery packs are to have 4,680 cells, which will be included in the chassis. This likely refers to the 300-mile truck, and the batteries will be manufactured at the Gigafactory in Nevada and Texas.
A few Tesla Semis are expected to be delivered before 2021 ends, so keep an eye out for them on the road.