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First independent real-world test of PepsiCo's Tesla Semi shows promising results: 'This is a look into the future'

"A Semi will often spend at least an hour getting unloaded."

"A Semi will often spend at least an hour getting unloaded."

Photo Credit: Pepsico

Previous looks into Tesla's fleet of PepsiCo-owned Semi trucks have come from Tesla and PepsiCo themselves, leaving some observers wondering how the performance of these vehicles stacks up to traditional trucks.

Now, the first independent real-world test of Tesla Semis has been released by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency's (NACFE) Run On Less program, and the data is encouraging, according to InsideEVs.

According to the data, reported on by InsideEVs, one of the three PepsiCo Tesla Semis participating in the study covered 1,600 miles in under 48 hours with three full charges and two range-extending charging stops.

NACFE director Mike Roeth said that, while the organization didn't know what exactly each Semi was carrying at specific times, the trucks were at least fairly full of beverages for their journeys. "We don't really know the payload, [but] NACFE has verified that these are fairly fully loaded when they leave and stay fairly loaded. They're not out there gaming Run on Less," Roeth said, as reported on LinkedIn by colleague Dave Mullaney.

One challenge for the trucks is the amount of time they take to charge. Even with fast chargers, they take longer to fuel up than gas-powered vehicles. Data from the study revealed that it took 55 minutes for a Tesla Semi connected to a high-speed charger to go from 18% to 80% charged, according to InsideEVs.

"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," Dave Mullaney, NACFE's principal of carbon-free transportation, said.

Replacing gas-powered trucks with electric versions would be a huge win for the planet. Despite accounting for just 4% of the vehicles on the road, medium- and heavy-duty trucks are responsible for a whopping 26% of national fuel use, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Tesla seems to have produced few (if any) Semi trucks beyond the one fleet for PepsiCo. Hopefully, if the data around the performance of these trucks continues to be encouraging, more companies will be moved to switch over from gas-powered trucks.

"I think the game changer for electric semi's will be when depots and retailers install these so the trucks can charge while being unloaded. A Semi will often spend at least an hour getting unloaded, if they can do an 80% while that happens the range will no longer be an issue," one InsideEVs commenter suggested.

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