Electric Cars

Tesla Semi makes first fully loaded trip from Reno to Fremont

This is the biggest and most difficult test yet for Tesla's heavy hauler. Can it make it all the way from its battery plant to its production line without charging?

Tesla

When Elon Musk posted photos of two Tesla Semis leaving Gigafactory 1 on Wednesday morning, the first thing we thought about was him chasing the two trucks, wearing a white cowboy hat in a Tesla Roadster, blasting "Eastbound and Down" by Jerry Reed (aka the "Smokey and the Bandit" theme), and it made us happy.

What actually happened though is only mildly less exciting -- this is the first loaded, long-range test of the Tesla Semi that we're aware of and it's hauling real stuff, aka batteries (probably), all the way from Reno, Nevada to Fremont, California, a distance of around 269 miles.

In the past, Musk has said that the cost of transporting batteries from the Gigafactory to the production line in Fremont would be gigantic and has posited that a Hyperloop would be the best solution. The Tesla Semi seems like it will function as a pretty solid stop-gap until that eye-wateringly expensive tunnel gets dug and the technology for the Hyperloop is fully fleshed out.

One of the more exciting aspects of this test run will be seeing how close Tesla can get to its claim of the Semi getting 500 miles of range with a full load, particularly if there is a loaded return trip, given the nature of the geography of the roads being traveled.

It will also be neat to see the difference in performance between the two trucks' differing aerodynamic packages. The silver truck has a much taller fairing that meets the leading edge of the trailer, while the black truck doesn't, leading us to believe that it's designed more for shorter, lower-speed hauls.

We'll keep an eye on this story as it develops.

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