Tesla Semi Outperforms Rivals in Real-World Trucking Test

In a recent real-world test organized by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency, a Tesla Semi operated by PepsiCo demonstrated superior range and charging efficiency compared to other electric trucks from established manufacturers like Freightliner and Volvo.

The event, called Run on Less, took place over two weeks starting September 11 and involved 22 vehicles fulfilling actual orders across North America.

PepsiCo’s Tesla Semi traveled more miles per day on average than any other vehicle in the event. The truck covered 1,076 miles in a single day with three 750-kilowatt fast charging sessions.

According to PepsiCo, 60% of the miles driven during the 18-day event were with a gross vehicle weight of over 70,000 pounds, close to the 82,000-pound limit for zero-emission semi tractor-trailer combinations.

“The Semi aligned with how our business operates,” said Amanda DeVoe, director of PepsiCo’s fleet transformation and strategy, speaking to Automotive News. Data from the event also showed that Tesla Semis could travel about 400 miles and recharge to about 80% in 45 minutes.

The test results challenge long-held beliefs about the limitations of electric trucking, particularly in terms of battery range. “We got caught up in this trap of thinking about range as miles per charge,” said Mike Roeth, the council’s executive director. The data revealed that almost half of the trucks, including Tesla, were using “second charge events” during their shifts.

While Tesla has made a strong entry into the electric trucking sector, it still faces challenges in scaling production and establishing long-term relationships in an industry dominated by traditional manufacturers.

However, the Run on Less event indicates that Tesla is well-positioned to disrupt the market, especially as regulations push for a transition to zero-emission vehicles.