We get a small Tesla Semi update, thanks to Jay Leno. We now learn that Tesla has built about 70 Tesla Semi electric trucks.
Tesla started to build the Tesla Semi in late 2022 after years of delays. Quickly after launching production, Tesla announced an expansion of Gigafactory Nevada to build the vehicle in volume, but that has yet to happen.
The automaker is still only producing the electric truck at a small, low-volume facility outside of Giga Nevada. We previously were told by insiders that Tesla only had the capacity for five trucks per week at the facility.
With Tesla not releasing any data on Tesla Semi production, we had a tough time tracking the production of the electric pickup truck, even though it has been going for almost a year.
Earlier this year, we learned that Tesla only had about 30 Tesla Semis based on a recall it had to issue.
Now Jay Leno is bringing us some more information about the Tesla Semi as he gets an exclusive drive in the electric semi truck with Tesla chief design Franz von Holzhausen and engineering head of the Tesla Semi program Dan Priestley.
It’s probably the best look at the Tesla Semi we have seen to date.
One of the biggest takeaways is that Priestley confirmed that Tesla Semi trucks have replaced diesel trucks on its route to bring battery packs from Gigafactory Nevada to Fremont factory, which is a 260-mile trip. It has done it with the same load and the same route – proving that it can replace diesel trucks.
We also learned that Tesla is using driver inverter from the Cybertruck and carbon-wrap motors from the latest Model S and Model X in the Tesla Semi.
Priestley also said that Tesla Semi has about 1,500 hp of power available, but Tesla curates that to a customer-specific profile for a longer-lasting vehicle. The power is there, but it is tuned to give it torque when there’s a need but also to save the tires and to get more efficiency when possible.
Franz said that Tesla was inspired by the design of high-speed trains in Japan, and now that he said it, I can see it.
Priestley also confirmed that Tesla is planning to have a sleeper cab version of the Tesla Semi once it has deployed its long-distance Megachargers.
This was a fun episode; I was particularly impressed with Priestley. We have seen him before, but he really shines in this video. He comes out as very knowledgeable and passionate about the Tesla Semi project.
I also thought that it was pretty cool that he gave JB Straubel and Jerome Guillen credit for starting up the project.
Now we really need to see Tesla ramp up production of this truck. We have recently got some hope that things would start moving on the Gigafactory Nevada expansion, which will house the volume production of the truck.