In the trucking industry, it’s a race to be the best – and recent data suggests that Tesla might be leading the pack. The recent “Run on Less” event, conducted by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE), highlighted the prowess of the Tesla Semi. And this wasn’t any showroom standoff – this was an 18-day real-world challenge.
The electric highway was alive with activity as the Tesla Semi zipped past its competitors, quite literally. Over the course of the event, one of the Tesla Semis, operated by Pepsi Co, managed to average a striking 924 km per day. Let’s add a little perspective: the closest competition was the Nikola Tre BEV, which came in at 410 km per day. Following them were the Freightliner eCascadia and Volvo VNR Electric, covering daily averages of 291 km and 282 km respectively.
Interestingly, one of the Tesla Semis pulled off a noteworthy 1,732 km in a single 24-hour stretch. The truck fast-charged three times, taking the battery from 47% to 89% and then down to 52%. All these charging sessions took place at beefy 750-kilowatt chargers. It’s like drinking an espresso shot – quick, effective, and back on the road.
John Boesel, the CEO of Calstart, a clean transportation industry organization, put it quite directly, “Tesla is the leader in terms of performance and range.” The data doesn’t just speak for itself; it practically yells. Apart from its impeccable range, Tesla was the unique standout demonstrating superfast charging capabilities. That’s like having your cake and eating it too, while it’s still fresh out of the oven.
The trucks weren’t exactly traveling light either. PepsiCo indicated that during these 18 days, 60% of the miles were covered with trucks carrying more than 32,660 kg of cargo. That’s almost nudging the 37,190 kg limit set for zero-emission semi-tractor-trailer combos.
A major revelation from this event was the capacity of electric trucks to stand toe-to-toe with their diesel-powered contemporaries. Truckers operated from various depots, using chargers frequently, effectively shattering some preconceived notions about electric trucking battery range. Notably, almost half of these trucks (Tesla included) engaged in “second charge events” during their work shifts.
However, before we start envisioning a future with Tesla Semis dominating the highways, there’s a slight hiccup. While the performance at the “Run on Less” event is commendable, Tesla has produced the Semi in somewhat modest quantities – roughly 60-70 units, as noted by Dan Priestley, Tesla’s Senior Manager of Semi-Truck Engineering. To compete with established truck producers, Tesla will need to amplify their production game.