Is Tesla Semi a game changer? Part 1: Tesla Semi versus other electric trucks

Date: Saturday February 18, 2023

Tesla delivered the first consignment of Semi electric trucks to Pepsi’s Frito Lay production facility in Modesto, California on the 1st December 2022. The starting price for the Tesla Semi is US$150,000 for a 300-miles vehicle and $180,000 for 500 miles extended-range version. This is the first part of the series of blogs, in which we will compare the Tesla Semi with HGVs utilising different drivetrains, such as hydrogen and diesel trucks.

In this blog, we will focus on Tesla Semi versus other battery electric trucks. Tesla claims to provide substantial features in comparison to the price of the vehicle. Some of the vehicle specifications are mentioned below.

  • On a single charge, the long-haul electric Semi-truck could cover a range of 500 miles (804 km) whilst fully loaded. Actual results showed that with a weight of 81,000 pounds (36749 kg), Tesla Semi was able to travel 500 miles with 93% battery power use. Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk also claims their Semi has an efficiency of 1.7 kWh/ mile (1.6 km). He also indicates that the Semi could improve efficiency to 1.5 kWh/ mile.
  • The Tesla Semi is equipped with regenerative braking (almost standard for EVs)
  • The Semi is also expected to hit 60 mph in just 20 seconds.
  • The Semi has the capacity to accommodate megawatt charging which can take 30- 60 minutes to charge its battery.
  • The Semi uses a tri-motor power train (three independent electric motors). The motors power the rear axles as the front axle is not powered. These motors have carbon-sleeved rotors which are also used in X Plaid.
  • The Semi offers safety measures such as automatic emergency braking, automatic lane keeping and lane departure warning. It also has sensors and cameras to mitigate blind spots.

Tesla Semi versus battery electric trucks

We compare Tesla semi versus other industry leaders. Important parameters such as range, charging time, charging power and efficiency are taken into consideration. A snapshot is provided below for their features.

Table 1 Specification of Tesla Semi versus other electric trucks
Tesla semi comparison chart
Reference: Torquenews

Tesla’s advancements in fast charging time and high range will decrease drivers’ anxieties in comparison to other electric truck models. Fleet managers for Tesla Semi can also have considerable financial savings as the cost to drive per mile is the most optimal in comparison to other competing electric trucks.

Tesla’s Semi has superior features to a current lot of electric trucks. It outperforms other electric trucks in battery size, range, efficiency per mile and charging time. The main area where Tesla outperforms other electric trucks is efficiency per mile and range. Hence, competitors have to come up with purchase prices and features that are reasonable to compete with Tesla.

Detailed research on electric trucks is covered in our Global Fleet Electrification Study.