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How will the Tesla Semi actually get 621 miles per charge?

Recently, Elon Musk mentioned that the Tesla Semi, a class 8 commercial truck, will get 621 miles of range per charge. How exactly will that be possible?

Musk claims new battery technology will be what makes it happen, and while I agree that new battery technology is going to make this goal more attainable, it’s still unclear how many batteries that’ll take or how much it’ll weigh the truck down.

Anyone who has towed with an electric vehicle will be able to tell you that towing saps a significant amount of range from the battery. Rivian anticipates that when towing with the R1T pickup, the truck will only get 50% of the total stated range.

Class 8 trucks need to be able to carry as much as possible, so weight of the cabin and the batteries will need to be low. Right now, batteries aren’t particularly light.

Stuffing a Class 8 truck with enough batteries to hit that range would half to cut into the cargo capacity. With a max combined vehicle rating of 80,000 pounds, every pound that doesn’t go to cargo takes away from total cargo available.

Plus, how long will it take to recharge a battery pack that can heft 80,000 pounds along for 621 miles?

These are all unanswered questions, and with hydrogen already being tested and proven in Class 8 applications, it’s difficult to see how the Tesla Semi would be competitive.

Like all things, we’ll have to wait and see.

Written by Chad Kirchner
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