YouTuber Tesla Vision recently shared his view that Elon Musk’s new Tesla Semi batteries will make gas trucks obsolete, and I thought it was a worthwhile dive. “The information provided by Tesla in its first quarter 2021 update letter appears to imply that the battery constraints that have been hampering the Semi’s initial delivery dates could be resolved once and for all,” Tesla Vision states.
This news also followed a more recent tweet from Elon Musk replying to James Stephenson, who asked how the Semi was coming along. Elon said that Tesla was too cell-constrained right now but it would probably okay next year and Semi production could scale up. Hopefully this more recent good news from the Q1 shareholder letter changes that.
We are too cell-constrained right now, but probably ok next year
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 27, 2021
“Due to its large size, enhanced range and the need for high power output, the Semi necessitates a large number of battery cells. The Semi should have been built sooner but it could have been hampered by the development of Tesla’s mass-market cores such as the Model 3 and Model Y,” Tesla Vision pointed out. Indeed — Tesla has said that lack of battery supply has delayed its rollout onto the market.
However, it seems Tesla hasn’t been experiencing any problems with the Semi product itself, The video pointed out that, in 2017, Pepsi ordered 100 of the Tesla Semi electric trucks, and earlier this year Pepsi shared an update on that order. Pepsi stated that it expects to put 15 electric tractor trailers on the road later this year — seemingly in reference to the Tesla Semi.
Electric Trucks Like The Tesla Semi Are Nearing Cost Parity With Diesel
Teslarati recently took a quick dive into two new studies from the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and Transport & Environment (T&E). Both of the studies suggested that as technology advances, battery-powered trucks such as the Tesla Semi will become cheaper to own and operate in comparison with their gas and diesel counterparts. T&E pointed out that these studies are just more proof that the future of the trucking industry is electric.
SEI found that the reality of the heavy trucking sector becoming electric is possible if the vehicles could be rapidly charged in the same manners as top passenger EVs. Having a rapid-charging infrastructure in place is critical for this to happen.
Tesla and other automakers making electric semi trucks need to build out their charging stations and infrastructure in order to succeed. Tesla has done an amazing job with its Supercharger network for passenger vehicles and has plans for Megachargers for the Semi fleet. Electrive noted back in 2020 that Tesla was planning V4 Superchargers with up to 350 kW of charging capacity. In response to Gene Munster of Loup Ventures, who asked about the status of Megachargers during Tesla’s Q3 2020 earnings call, Jerome Guillen said, “We continue the development of the Semi. And in particular, Megachargers, we realized that the 350-kilowatt or so that we might be looking for cars is not going to be enough for Semi.”
How Tesla’s Batteries Could Make Gas Semi Trucks Obsolete
Although the initial video had that headline, it didn’t really take a deep dive as to how Tesla’s batteries will make gas trucks obsolete. It moved into other news and updates. However, a bit of common sense applies here. When Tesla launches its Megachargers — which, I think will happen sooner than later — Tesla Semis should be ready to really hit the road. For companies such as Pepsi to take delivery of the Tesla Semi, Tesla will need to have some sort of infrastructure started for its Semi. Once we have more Megachargers, I think we will begin to see many more companies ordering Tesla Semis, and the savings on gas and diesel alone (not to mention the better performance) will make gas trucks obsolete.