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Elon Musk handed Tesla’s first heavy-duty Semi to PepsiCo in the early hours of December 2 (India time). However, no new estimates for the cost or schedule for manufacturing the cargo-hauling vehicle was provided. “If you’re a trucker and you want the most badass rig on the road, this is it,” Musk said.

The battery-powered, long-haul truck would reduce highway emissions, outperform current diesel models on power and safety, and spin-off a fast-charging technology Tesla would use in its upcoming Cybertruck pickup, according to the Tesla CEO, who made an appearance on stage at an event at Tesla’s Nevada plant.

At the event, Tesla did not reveal pricing for the Semi, offer information on the truck’s variants that it had initially anticipated, or provide a forecast for deliveries to PepsiCo or other clients. Tesla said that it will start employing the Semi to transport parts to its Fremont facility.

Tesla Semi - inside view

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Tesla Semi – inside view

Musk mentioned that Tesla has been working on the all-electric truck for five years. Industry experts are still dubious about the ability of battery-powered trucks to carry the weight of heavy cargo over long distances without breaking the bank.

In 2017, when Tesla announced that the 300-mile version of the Semi would cost $150,000 and the 500-mile version $180,000, respectively, PepsiCo placed an order for 100 trucks. Other businesses that reserved the Semi included Walmart, Brewer Anheuser-Busch, and UPS. Since 2017, the cost of Tesla’s passenger electric vehicles has climbed significantly.

Tesla Semi - on road

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Tesla Semi – on road

According to Musk, test drives of the Tesla Semi have been made between the company’s factories in Sparks, Nevada and Fremont, California. With a Semi weighing in at a total of 81,000 pounds, Tesla claimed it had driven 500 miles on a single charge without providing a breakdown of the cargo weights. Tesla Semi manufacturing goals were initially announced for the year 2019.

The Tesla Semi includes liquid-cooling technology in the charging connection and can charge at 1 megawatt thanks to an improved Supercharger from Tesla that will be made available to the Cybertruck, according to Musk who says, in order to increase efficiency, the Semi uses regenerative braking and has three times the power of any diesel-powered truck.

Tesla Semi: Early reviews are in

As the presentation came to a close without Elon Musk taking any questions, some audience members expressed scepticism.

Tesla Semi - night view

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Tesla Semi – night view

“Not very impressive – moving a cargo of chips (average weight per pack 52 grams) cannot in any way be said to be definitive proof of concept,” said Oliver Dixon, senior analyst at consultancy Guidehouse.

(With agency inputs)

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By Ajay Kumar Verma

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