Tesla is letting some of its customers drive the all-electric Semi — here’s what one thinks of it

Tesla Semi.

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Tesla Semi.
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Tesla

  • Tesla is bringing its upcoming semi truck, the Semi, to some of its customers. One of those customers (UPS) complimented the vehicle.
  • The Twitter account for UPS’ Illinois branch posted videos of the Semi on Monday and said it offered a “smooth” ride.
  • The version of the Semi the company saw is likely a prototype. Tesla declined a request for comment.

Tesla is bringing its upcoming electric semi truck, the Semi, to some of its customers. One of those customers – UPS – recently complimented the vehicle.

The Twitter account for UPS’ Illinois branch posted videos of the Semi on Monday and said it offered a “smooth” ride.

Electrek reported on Friday that the Semi had arrived at the Arkansas headquarters of another customer, the trucking company JB Hunt.

The version of the Semi each company saw is likely a prototype, though Tesla declined a request for comment. In addition to UPS and JB Hunt, customers for the Semi include Walmart, Pepsi, Anheuser-Busch, and FedEx.

Production for the Semi will start in 2019, Tesla has said. The company will have to expand the capacity of its assembly plant in Fremont, California, convert its battery-production factory in Nevada to produce vehicles, or use another company’s factory to meet that timeline.

During the company’s second-quarter earnings call in August, CEO Elon Musk said he was unable to answer questions about where the company will produce future vehicles. Tesla said it would take around two years for production to begin at a factory it will build in China.

Tesla says the Semi will have a range of 500 miles per charge, an innovative cabin design, and the ability to go from 0-60 mph in five seconds without any cargo and in 20 seconds while carrying 80,000 pounds of cargo.

Some in the trucking industry have cast doubt on those numbers. In February, Martin Daum, the head of Daimler’s truck and bus division, suggested to Bloomberg that the truck’s range would defy the laws of physics.

When asked about Daum’s evaluation during Tesla’s first-quarter earnings call in May, Musk questioned Daum’s knowledge of physics.

“He doesn’t know much about physics. I know him. I’d be happy to engage in a physics discussion with him,” Musk said.