These Tesla Semi Truck Prototypes Are Doing Some Work in the Wild

2021 tesla semi truck doing work prototype

With the recent news of Tesla receiving another large order for their battery-electric semi trucks (between 150 to 500 trucks), we have new images of the trucks hauling trailers and doing some work in California. These Tesla Semi Truck prototypes were captured near the Hayward, CA Tesla facility.

Thanks to Derek Oatley and his dad for sending the images and a short report. Here is what Derek says.

My Dad sent this to me while he was at work today. These trucks were making a delivery to a Tesla warehouse in Hayward, CA. We are not sure what they do at this facility. The red truck was carrying several chassis. When the red truck made a u-turn, it was completely silent, except for the creaking of the truck and trailer.

It’s been nearly three years since Tesla first announced their plan to build a semi truck and showed the first concept vehicle. Tesla still maintains and promises the following specifications for a truck equipped with four electric motors.

  • – driving range (two battery options): 300 miles and 500 miles.
  • – energy consumption (at or better than): 0.5 miles per kWh.
  • – fully loaded (80K lbs) 0-60 MPH acceleration: 20 sec
  • – 5% grade fully loaded climb speed: 60 MPH
  • – equipped with Tesla Enhanced Autopilot semi-autonomous driving system.
image: Tesla

The energy consumption appears optimistic considering that a current Tesla Model Y has an average energy consumption of (3.5 – 4) miles per kWh in our daily driving. A Model Y weighs around 5,000 lbs. However, a heavy 80,000 lbs tractor-trailer combination with four electric motors will also have a lot of braking regenerative capability. We will not know the exact parameters unless we actually test one of these trucks with a trailer.

I estimate that a Tesla semi truck will need a battery capacity of at least 525 kWh to accomplish a 300 mile driving range. Tesla has not provided charging times estimates for such a battery/truck. Although, the starting price for a 300-mile Tesla Semi is listed at $150,000. The 500-mile truck is listed at $180,000. First “Founder Series” trucks are listed at $200,000.

Tesla says that the $200,000 original purchase price can be recouped within about two years of service due to savings in fuel costs when compared to a current diesel-powered semi truck.

Andre Smirnov is an Automotive Enthusiast, Producer, Reviewer, Videographer, Writer, Software Engineer, Husband, Father, and Friend.