August 17, 2023 – In a remarkable stride towards sustainability, PepsiCo, the multinational beverage and snack corporation, has embarked on an eco-conscious journey within its Sacramento bottling plant. The facility has taken a stride into the future by deploying a fleet of 21 Tesla Semi electric trucks. This visionary move sets an inspiring precedent for the integration of electric commercial vehicles into daily logistics operations.
The narrative unfolds in a video released by PepsiCo, outlining the dynamic logistics dance performed by these all-electric behemoths. Despite Tesla having kept the detailed technical specifications of the Semi under wraps, the footage sheds light on aspects like energy consumption, regenerative braking, and range capabilities.
Half a decade ago, PepsiCo had been the trailblazing pioneer in reserving 100 Tesla Semis, and the payoff has finally begun as the electric revolution enters a new phase. As per records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 36 of the ordered Semis have been delivered to PepsiCo’s fleet, where 15 of them are now operational at the Frito-Lay subsidiary’s plant in Modesto, California. The remaining 21 units are powering PepsiCo’s vital operations at their primary location in Sacramento.
Charging infrastructure plays a pivotal role in sustaining these electrified workhorses. Four Tesla chargers, each with a robust 750-kilowatt charging capacity, stand on PepsiCo’s Sacramento site. These chargers can rejuvenate the Semi’s battery to 80% within a mere 45-minute pit stop. The video showcases the Semi’s prowess in even more dramatic fashion, claiming that the battery can leap from 5-10% charge to 95% in an impressive 20 to 30 minutes.
Functioning within a 100-mile radius (approximately 160.93 kilometers), 18 out of the 21 Tesla Semis ply through a multi-stop delivery route. This strenuous duty cycle comprises two shifts a day, each stretching up to 12 hours. Amanda DeVoe, PepsiCo’s Director of Transformation and Strategy, commends the electric fleet’s role in bridging the gap between the Sacramento bottling warehouse and distribution centers. Dejan Antunovic, PepsiCo’s Lead for Electrification Projects, indicates that the remaining three Semis are destined for long-haul missions spanning 250 to 450 miles (roughly 400 to 725 kilometers). Tesla’s official documentation claims that the Semi can cover over 500 miles (800+ kilometers) on a full load.
One of the most impressive attributes of the Tesla Semi showcased in the video is its regenerative braking system. Antunovic highlights how the Semi ingeniously recaptures kinetic energy during the return journey from Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevada mountains, effectively balancing the energy equation. Moreover, the video breaks down the energy consumption figures, with Antunovic disclosing that PepsiCo’s fleet averages 1.7 kilowatt-hours per mile, roughly 1.1 kilowatt-hours per kilometer. Tesla’s official data specifies the Semi’s consumption as “less than 2 kilowatt-hours per mile.”
Additional insights hint at the Tesla Semi’s charging prowess due to its utilization of a 1000-volt system, enabling the battery to charge at a staggering 1 megawatt (1000 kilowatts) rate. This means that the bottleneck in charging speed, especially in Sacramento, is not the vehicle itself but the 750-kilowatt charging infrastructure. Like the Plaid versions of the Model S and Model X, the Semi employs a three-motor electric propulsion system, one for efficient cruising and the other two for rapid acceleration.
Despite this wealth of information, Tesla remains tight-lipped about certain aspects of the Semi, including pricing, payload capacity, battery specifics, drive system performance, and the commencement of large-scale production. The anticipation grows as the industry awaits potential revelations, which might occur in September, promising a more comprehensive picture of the Tesla Semi’s journey toward reshaping the logistics landscape.