Tesla puts Semi electric truck through its paces at Fremont

Tesla has shared a video of an all-electric Semi cab prototype being put through its paces at the Fremont test track, in a Tweet that shows while battery material supply may be holding production back, the electric truck is still very much front of mind for the EV maker.

The brief video shows the white-clad Class 8 prototype speeding past the camera with the typical high-pitched sounds that, apart from its zero-emissions status, sets it apart from its diesel counterparts.

After light passenger vehicles, heavy-duty vehicles account for the largest portion of transport-related emissions (around a quarter in the US and Australia) and thus the decarbonisation of the industry is important.

Along with other truckmakers such as Australia’s own SEA Electric, Daimler, and Volvo Trucks, there is much work being done to make battery-electric trucks a reality.

But big trucks need big batteries, and a global shortage of nickel, a material that helps increase battery energy density, is expected to stymie battery production.

At the EV maker’s Battery Day in September, Tesla boss Elon Musk said that Semi production is being held back because Tesla is prioritising batteries to passenger cars.

To that end, Tesla recently cut a deal with New Caledonia and its Brazilian partner Vale to become a technical partner in its Goro nickel mine to secure long-term supply for lithium-ion batteries.

The video of the Tesla Semi, which has been seen in operation on multiple occasions including delivering a Tesla Model 3 to a family in this Tesla tweet from 2019, has also raised the spectre of the now notorious video shared by hydrogen truck start-up Nikola Motor of its Nikola One supposedly in action.

Nikola later admitted that the video was staged, and the camera tilted to make the truck, which was coasting downhill, look like it was moving under its own power. The scandal saw Nikola CEO Trevor Milton step down and the company’s stock values, which had recently soared after the Nikola Badger hydrogen ute was revealed, topple. A deal with GM to make the Badger was also downgraded as a result of the scandal.

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