Nearly ten months after Tesla handed over the first Semi to PepsiCo in December 2022, performance results from its first independent real-world test have finally emerged. Several companies are participating in the North American Council for Freight Efficiency’s (NACFE) Run On Less programme, with the goal of testing the real-world performance of electric commercial vehicles, and one of them is PepsiCo.
The beverage manufacturer’s Sacramento, California, depot is home to 21 Tesla Semis among other commercial EVs. PepsiCo tasked the Teslas with short-haul and long-haul delivery trips. While the majority of the fleet covers under 100 miles regularly, three Semis cover up to 450 miles, which in theory is achievable as Tesla claims an estimated range of 500 miles on a single charge.
NACFE states that the “Tesla Semis will be tracked in heavy-load long-haul transport operations.” The participant profiles indicate that the trucks will drive over two routes around Sacramento for 18 days – the distance on route one ranges between 250-450 miles, with a gross vehicle weight of up to 82,000 pounds (37,200 kilograms), while the second route has less than 75 miles per day of driving. The payload for the latter is described as “heavy leaving, diminishing load.”
On the first day, one of the Semis drove 335 miles on a single charge with around 17 percent state of charge (SoC) remaining. This operation appears to be on the highway at consistent speeds of 62 mph. The second Semi appears to have delivered 295 miles of range before recharging at around 21 percent SoC. A third Semi delivered an impressive 377-mile range – its battery depleted to under two percent.
The temperature on day one was 94 degrees Fahrenheit (34 C), but other factors that impact range like elevation changes, driving patterns, and exact payload are unclear.
Gallery: NACFE Tesla Semi Test Day 1
Three independent electric motors on the rear axle propel the Semi, and it has a claimed energy consumption of less than 2 kilowatt hours per mile. Tesla has not released the official battery capacity, but our estimate is that the 500-mile version has somewhere around 850-900 kWh of battery capacity. The Semi also has a clear advantage in terms of performance on inclines compared to diesel trucks.
Other participants in the test include logistics company Schneider National with the Freightliner eCascadia, warehousing and distribution firm Performance Team with the Volvo VNR, and more.