At the European Battery Conference on Tuesday (Europe time), Tesla boss Elon Musk said that achieving a Tesla Semi electric truck with 800km range will be easy, and eventually Tesla will achieve 1,000km range for long-haul trucking.
Talking via livestream at the event, Musk said Tesla already has some 800km range Semi prototypes that it has been running for over a year.
He also said that such trucks would have the same abilities as regular 40 metric tonne diesel trucks.
“Getting a range of 500km is quite easy, and trivial to be frank,” said Musk.
“For long-range trucking, up to easily 800km, and we see a path over time to get to 1,000km with a heavy duty – in the order of a 40 metric tonne total mass,” he said. “We think this is going to be extremely competitive and compelling.”
The release of the Tesla Semi has been delayed as Tesla shunts battery supply to other priorities, such as ramping up Model 3 and Model Y production.
Musk says that Tesla will be able to achieve its goal for 800km range by using the structural battery pack method first revealed at Battery Day in September.
“This is just a fundamental calculation of what the energy density of the cell and of the battery pack is, and the integrated battery pack and truck chassis.”
“We’ve had prototypes in operation for over a year …. [by] having a structure battery pack, where the cells form part of core structure, the net result is you are able to carry same cargo as regular diesel truck.”
To achieve this, energy density at the cell level would neeed to be “something like around 300Wh/kg …. to get to the high ranges, like 800km,” said Musk.
“Can you get that mass down to something comparable to existing diesel trucks? The answer to that is yes.”
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.