ANAHEIM, Calif. —The automotive and truck industries will soon learn much more about Tesla Inc.’s Semi — the Class 8 truck the electric vehicle company claims will upend the trucking industry with revolutionary performance.
PepsiCo confirmed Wednesday it would enter at least one of the Tesla Semis it operates in the Run on Less trucking industry event this year.
“We’re really excited to participate in the run and allow the industry to have access to the insights and the learnings that we are getting from experiencing these vehicles,” said Amanda DeVoe, sustainability and technology director, fleet, at PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay North America division. “We’re gonna run ’em hard.”
DeVoe said the truck would operate with a maximum payload and travel up to 500 miles round trip during the event.
“We really want to demonstrate the capability of our team, the capability of the Semi and the capability of the Class 8 electric vehicle to compete with the [internal combustion] counterpart,” she said during a panel at the ACT Expo clean transportation conference Wednesday.
Tesla has previously provided minimal, basic information about the Semi. PepsiCo has only provided sparse details regarding its experience with the electric Class 8 tractors to date.
But Run on Less, which showcases advances in freight efficiency, will follow the trucks and post independent performance data on the event’s website.
“Getting Tesla into this is a big deal,” Mike Roeth, executive director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency, a truck industry think tank, told Aautomotive News.
While trucking companies and fleet managers will be looking at data for all the trucks in the event, he said Tesla would attract particular attention because it is a new entrant into the trucking sector and has already disrupted the auto industry.
To date, Tesla has shown a sped-up video of an eight-hour run from its Fremont, Calif., factory to a PepsiCo bottling factory in San Diego in November.
Tesla claims the Semi was loaded with just under 82,000 pounds and traveled the 500-mile route with battery capacity starting at 97 percent and finishing at 4 percent.
Tesla said the unmodified Semi, in normal traffic, used less than 2 kilowatt-hours of energy per mile, which would be an impressive feat if it could be replicated.
That would be more efficient than a GMC Hummer EV pickup.