Tesla delivered its first electric semis to PepsiCo Thursday, more than three years after Elon Musk said his company would start making the trucks.
The Austin, Texas-based company formally delivered the trucks at a factory near Reno, Nevada. The event was live-streamed on Twitter, which Musk now owns.
Musk drove one of three Tesla semi trucks in front of a crowd inside the factory. One was white, one was painted with a Pepsi logo, and another with Frito-Lay colors.
PepsiCo, which is based in Purchase, New York, is taking part in a zero-emissions freight project at a Frito-Lay facility in Modesto, California. That project is being funded by a $15.4 million clean-freight technology grant from the California Air Resources Board that includes 15 Tesla battery-electric tractors and other electric- and natural-gas powered trucks.
Electric semis also would be eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $40,000.
At an event inthe Tesla Semi, Musk said production would begin in 2019 and the trucks would be able to follow each other autonomously in a convoy. But during Tesla's third-quarter earnings conference call in October he said the company's "Full Self Driving" system is not quite ready to be driverless.
Musk said the truck has a range per charge of 500 miles (800 kilometers) when pulling an 82,000-pound (37,000-kilo) load. The company plans to ramp up Semi production to make 50,000 trucks in 2024 in North America.
Competitors working on hydrogen-powered semis say battery-powered trucks won't work for long-haul carriers because it will take too long to recharge the huge batteries. Musk said hydrogen isn't needed for heavy trucking.
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