Today, Tesla's Semi Has the Same Manufacturer-Declared Range As Five Years Ago

Tesla’s Elon Musk proudly announced on Twitter a range-test result for the Semi that was first presented five years ago. It looks like the EV maker did not manage to improve anything in this regard for the last half a decade. But don't lose hope just yet.
Elon Musk Introducing the Tesla Semi in 2017 6 photos
Elon Musk Introducing the Tesla Semi2017 Tesla Semi2017 Tesla SemiElon Musk Introducing the Tesla SemiElon Musk Introducing the Tesla Semi
Back in 2017, Elon Musk presented to the world two all-electric semi-trucks that boasted impressive numbers. The Semis allegedly had 500 mi (805 km) of range at a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 80,000 lb (36.3 metric tons) and highway speed, a 0-60 mph (0-97 kph) speed of 5 seconds with no trailer attached, and a time of 20 seconds with a GVW of 80,000 lb. The CEO also said the Semi has a better drag coefficient than a Bugatti Chiron. What he failed to remind those attending was that a Chiron is capable of ludicrous speeds and needs downforce to not take off.

Five years ago, Musk also touted that Tesla customers will enjoy “guaranteed low electricity rates” and a network of megachargers will be available worldwide. The first liquid-cooled stalls were installed at the beginning of 2022.

Tesla was supposed to have 100,000 trucks on the road already. But the world went through a crisis that derailed many businesses and changed our reality, so the automaker is just now getting ready to make the first deliveries. When looking at the bigger picture, this is somewhat understandable.
Making you wait
Unfortunately, Musk’s very recent announcement that the Semi is capable of being driven for 500 miles while weighing 81,000 lb (36.7 metric tons) came with no proof. We can’t say it hasn’t happened, either. Tesla’s employees have been spotted often on U.S. roads conducting tests in the past months. But it’s still making shareholders and prospective customers nervous. And this is something you don’t want, especially as the stock price is in a downtrend.

2017 Tesla Semi
The truly uncomfortable thing, however, is that after five years have passed, there is no report of an increase in range. Moreover, we don’t know if this result was obtained on a single charge and how much battery was left after the 500-mile border was reached. Nor do we know the speed, temperature, and cabin conditions at which this test was conducted. When looking at the facts, one could say that this simple tweet has no upside.

At the time of writing, Elon Musk did not specify anything else on the matter other than inviting Bill Gates to drive the Semi. However, he did answer other Twitter-related questions on the social media platform. It would have been great to know more about this successful drive, even though the range has not increased one bit since the semi-truck was first announced.

But despite all this, Tesla needs to get the recipe right. Other automakers like Mercedes-Benz or Volvo are pushing their powertrain philosophies, while challengers from other markets might come with other low-cost solutions that do not necessarily involve buying an expensive battery-electric semi-truck.
Success is probable
If Tesla’s Semi is successful, then we could see another strong shift toward the zero-tailpipe emission route. Just like the Model S and Model 3 challenged traditional automotive companies to shift from a fossil fuel-only solution to a variety of propulsion systems, the Semi has the potential to improve how road transport is done. It can lower local harmful emissions and help with the decarbonization targets. Just the regenerative braking alone could bring down harmful particle numbers.

Elon Musk Introducing the Tesla Semi
Amazon started the necessary work with Rivian, and it’s proving to be quite a smart decision, which tells us there’s a chance for a bright future with the Semi as well. Who knows, maybe even the stock price will recover!

However, at the end of the day, we can only hope. Neither Tesla nor Elon Musk provided a recording of the semi-truck doing the 500-mile run while weighing 81,000 lb. Maybe Pepsi will be of help in this regard after they take delivery and make the first shipments.

Let’s just hope they will be able to complete them!


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories