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Study gives Tesla Semi chance to prove itself to naysayers: '[It could] revolutionize the freight transportation industry'

"There is no place for vision or resisting; money is the one and only driver."

Run on Less project, Tesla Semis based in Sacramento, California

Photo Credit: iStock

The Tesla Semi and other electric tractor trailers are being tested independently to find out how the trucking industry can transition to battery-powered vehicles.

Three of the 22 big rigs in the North American Council for Freight Efficiency's Run on Less project, under the "Performance Team (Commerce)" category, are Tesla Semis based in Sacramento, California. In total there are 10 fleets — located in the Golden State, New York, and British Columbia, Canada — taking part in the event.

The three-week program started Sept. 11, and the data is available here.

"We are tracking key metrics of the trucks and the chargers to gather valuable data and share as much as we can about going from one or two EVs to 15 or more," NACFE stated.

Results released on Sept. 18 showed the Teslas had traveled 384 miles in a day on a single charge and 806 miles in 24 hours thanks to "fast 750 kW [kilowatt] charging."

"Other Class 8 tractors are demonstrating range at double that of the trucks that took part in Run on Less — Electric in 2021," NACFE stated, citing better efficiency via optimizing regenerative braking and return-to-base charging.

Electric Class 8 semis could "revolutionize the freight transportation industry," but their range is a major obstacle, according to FleetOwner.

Tesla Semis are touted to trek 500 miles on a charge and use less than 2 kilowatt-hours of energy per mile. 

"This data from NACFE indicates that indeed, under the right conditions, the Semi can very likely hit 500 miles of range on a single charge," Carscoops reported.

Electrek noted this is the first time Tesla Semis have been independently tested and that Run on Less is "one of the best looks into a Class 8 electric semi truck to date."

"While we are still early in the Tesla Semi production program, this is a good chance for the truck to prove itself against naysayers who didn't believe BEV Class 8 trucks would be possible — looking at you, Bill Gates," Electrek stated.

"It will be interesting," one commenter wrote. "[The] trucking industry is highly competitive; companies with vision will transit to EV-Trucks, and those who resist will have difficult time competing; it's Business world, it's all about cost/mile."

Another said: "To be honest, companies couldn't care less about what the truck runs on. Will it do the job required cheaper by 2-3%, then everybody will be forced to move. Logistics margins are razor thin, there is no place for vision or resisting; money is the one and only driver." 

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