More than three years after Tesla delivered its first electric semi to PepsiCo on Thursday, Elon Musk said his company would begin making the truck.
The Austin, Texas-based company formally delivered the trucks at a factory near Reno, Nevada. The event was live-streamed on Twitter, which Musk now owns.
Musk drives one of three Tesla semi trucks in front of a crowd inside the factory. One was white, one was painted with the Pepsi logo, and the other with Frito-Lay colors.
PepsiCo, which is based in Purchase, New York, is participating in a zero-emissions freight transportation project at a Frito-Lay facility in Modesto, California. That project is being funded by a $15.4 million clean-freight technology grant from the California Air Resources Board that includes 15 Tesla battery-electric tractors and other electric- and natural-gas powered trucks.
Electric semis will also be eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $40,000.
in a programOn the Tesla Semi, Musk said production would begin in 2019 and the trucks would be able to autonomously follow each other in a convoy. But during Tesla’s third-quarter earnings conference call in October, he said the company’s “full self-driving” system isn’t quite ready to go driverless.
Musk said the truck has a range of 500 miles (800 km) per charge while pulling an 82,000-pound (37,000 kg) load. The company plans to increase Semi production in North America to 50,000 trucks in 2024.
Competitors working on hydrogen-powered semis say battery-powered trucks won’t work for long-distance carriers because the large batteries would take too long to recharge. Musk said hydrogen is not needed for heavy trucking.