Tesla's Semi Does What Bill Gates Says Would Probably Never Be Practical


Tesla Inc TSLA held a delivery event on Dec. 1 for its first Tesla Semis. The company also released a video of the fully loaded semi, just under the legal load limit of 82,000 pounds, traveling 500 miles on a single charge, showing that it didn't need to be charged during the journey.

What Happened: During the presentation, CEO Elon Musk jokingly said he had "heard rumors" of someone else saying this feat was impossible.

This was most likely in reference to a post on The Blog of Bill Gates.

In the post, Gates talked about moving around in a zero-carbon world and specifically called out 18-wheeler trucks as not being possible to be used as electric vehicles.

The post stated: "Even with big breakthroughs in battery technology, electric vehicles will probably never be a practical solution for things like 18-wheelers..." while also mentioning other large vehicles such as jets. 

Why It Matters: Ever since that post, it had been doubtful if Tesla could achieve its stated goal of 500 miles of range with a fully loaded semi. It is still unclear exactly how much cargo the Tesla Semi was carrying, as the stated weight including the weight of the truck, which is unknown. 

The semi is now years late from its original delivery goal of 2019, after being unveiled in 2017. 

Tesla is building the semi in Nevada and hopes to ramp up production throughout next year. 

Photo: Courtesy of Tesla

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