Tesla hasn't confirmed the estimate
Citing a source outside Tesla, Reuters says the truck should be able to travel 200-300 miles (322-483 km) on a charge while carrying a typical payload. That source is Scott Perry, chief technology officer and chief procurement officer at fleet operator Ryder System Inc. Perry says he met with Tesla earlier this year in Fremont, California, to discuss the technology.
“I’m not going to count them out for having a strategy for longer distances or ranges, but right out of the gate I think that’s where they’ll start,” Perry told Reuters. At 200-300 miles (322-483 km), that puts Tesla on the low range of long-haul trucks. Perry also said Tesla was focused on “day cab” trucks with no sleeper birth.
In a statement to Reuters, Tesla wouldn’t provide any information. “Tesla’s policy is to always decline to comment on speculation, whether true or untrue, as doing so would be silly. Silly!” the company said.
If Perry’s claim is correct, the truck would best serve as a regional hauler since it would offer far less range than other trucks. Typical diesel rigs can drive up to 1,000 miles (1,609 km) on a single tank of fuel. Still, there is a market for a 200-mile (322-km) truck, as about 30 percent of trucking jobs in the U.S. are regional trips of 100-200 miles (161-322 km), according to Sandeep Kar, chief strategy officer of Fleet Complete. Earlier this year, Toyota unveiled its “Project Portal” hydrogen fuel cell semi-truck concept, which is estimated to get more than 200 miles (322 km) of range and was designed to transport goods to and from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said earlier this year that the truck will be capable of long hauls, without elaborating further on the model’s expected range. Tesla has met with potential buyers to discuss what they are looking for in an electric semi-truck.
A paper recently published by two battery researchers meshes somewhat with the claims made by Perry. Taking into account what the EV truck industry believes is economically feasible, Shashank Sripad and Venkat Viswanathan from Carnegie Mellon University said a range of 200-300 miles (322-483 km) is within reason.
We may find out next month how much range to expect from the big rig, unless Tesla plans to reveal that information after the truck’s initial debut. Tesla also says it will build an electric bus at some point.