Pepsi talks Tesla Semi; exec makes strange comments about the electric truck’s range

Tesla Semi Image credit: u/Tutrifor

Pepsi, the first customer to use Tesla Semi, has commented on the deployment of the electric truck in its fleet and made some strange remarks about its range.

When Tesla started deliveries of the Tesla Semi earlier this month, its first customer to take delivery was PepsiCo.

Now the company is commenting on the integration of the electric truck in its fleet for the first time in a Reuters article based on an interview with PepsiCo Vice President Mike O’Connell, but the article glosses over some very strange comments about the Tesla Semi’s range.

O’Connell confirmed that PepsiCo is currently deploying 36 Tesla Semis: 15 in Modesto and 21 in Sacramento. The company expects to take delivery of the 100 Tesla Semi trucks it ordered by the end of 2023.

Where things got strange is when O’Connell, according to the article, talked about the range of the Tesla Semi:

PepsiCo’s new Semis can haul Frito-Lay food products for around 425 miles (684 km), but for heavier loads of sodas, the trucks will do shorter trips of around 100 miles (160 km), O’Connell said.

O’Connell reportedly stated that the company’s Tesla Semi trucks still have 20% charge after carrying loads of chips over 425 miles.

But it’s unclear why the trucks only do 100-mile trips with loads of sodas.

Tesla has clearly stated that the Tesla Semi can achieve a range of over 500 miles with a full load at 82,000 lbs.

We reported that, unfortunately, Tesla hasn’t released the weight of the truck, and therefore, we don’t know the actual load capacity of the Tesla Semi, but we know that it can travel 500 miles at full capacity.

It’s true that a trailer filled with chips is going to be lighter than a trailer filled with sodas, but at the end of the day, they are both limited to 82,000 lbs in an electric truck as per regulations. Therefore, Tesla Semi should be able to travel 500 miles with a trailer of sodas at capacity.

Electrek’s Take

As I stated in my article about the Tesla Semi’s battery pack and the missing information from Tesla’s presentation, we really need Tesla to confirm the weight of the truck to know the actual load capacity.

Top comment by bossfan

Liked by 154 people

Pepsi has many more bottling facilities than FritoLay production facilities in California. If they are using the Tesla Semis for intra-company product distribution, soda doesn't need to travel more than 100 miles. Frito-Lay products need to cover more mileage between facilities. This is just my speculation, I haven't worked for Pepsi in over 20 years but this is a reasonable explanation that comes to mind.

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I estimate the weight of the Tesla Semi to be about 27,000 lbs, which is certainly higher than most diesel semi trucks and would result in a lower load capacity.

But based on the information Tesla released, the truck can still travel 500 miles at 82,000 lbs total weight (truck, trailer, and load) regardless of the actual load capacity. That’s why it’s so strange that PepsiCo says it is limiting trips with sodas to 100 miles.

I don’t know if it’s based on a lack of knowledge or if there was some sort of miscommunication in the interview.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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