The Tesla Semi is proving to be a workhorse in the real world, as per data released by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency’s (NACFE) Run On Less programme. It’s the first independent real-world test of the Semi, and the range and charging figures appear encouraging.

We reported last week how the electric trucks covered over 300 miles on a single charge with an unspecified amount of payload. It now turns out that one of PepsiCo’s three Tesla Semis participating in the programme covered 1600 miles in under 48 hours with three full charges and two brief range-extending charging stops.

The Semi conducted nine deliveries in that timeframe, covering 794 miles on day two, and 806 miles on day three, around California. It drove at highway speeds for roughly 90 percent of the distance. “NACFE has verified that these are fairly fully loaded when they leave and stay fairly loaded,” said NACFE’s director Mike Roeth.

NACFE’s principal of carbon-free transportation, Dave Mullaney, confirmed that these are beverage trucks, without chips and rarely running empty. Due to the heft of the battery, they lose some payload capacity compared to diesel trucks, but the figure isn’t significant, Roeth added.

The lost payload capacity is between 2,200 to 4,400 pounds (1,000 to 2,000 kilograms), including the extra 2,000-pound (900 kg) allowance that EVs get, guessed Mullaney. Note that the payload figures are speculative, and there’s no official data on the exact load the Semis are carrying. Although, it’s clear that they’re not running empty.

Fast charging speeds have been a key enabler of this performance, indicated Mullaney. Tesla’s 750-kilowatt Megachargers allow 5-80 percent state of charge (SoC) in just an hour. As per Geotab’s day two data for the Semi, it took 55 minutes for the truck to charge from 18-80 percent.

“High-powered charging isn't only tough on the battery, it is also tough on the grid. I hope all the electric utilities out there notice this because this is a look into the future for their business,” Mullaney added. On a separate occasion earlier this year, PepsiCo’s electrification program manager Dejan Antunovic said that the Semi’s operational efficiency was 1.7 kilowatt-hour per mile.

There are several other participants in the Run On Less programme, including UPS with the Freightliner eCascadia, and Penske with the Brightdrop Zevo 600 and Ford E-Transit, among many others.