Tesla’s Senior Manager for Semi truck engineering, Dan Priestley, has been on stage at the ACT Expo 2024 in Las Vegas, one of the most influential clean transportation events in the world, to give a technical update on the new Class 8 long-haul truck from Tesla and reveals unladen weight of the the new truck is less than 10 tonnes.

Tesla’s much-awaited Semi was unveiled at the end of 2022 with the first trucks going into operation with Pepsico in 2023. While the production ramp-up hasn’t been as fast as many expected, Priestly explained the new truck was primed for volume production starting 2026, with expected annual volumes of 50,000 units. Priestley confirmed Pepsico would be taking an additional 50 trucks to run in its testing programme, joining the 35 Tesla Semis already on trial with the company.


Tesla Semi

Source: Tesla

Tesla claims unladen weight of the Semi is less than 10 tonnes

“We’re building a factory in Nevada that is being ramped in 2026 for customer deliveries and ramping to eventual target capacity to 50,000 units a year,” Priestley said.

In a presentation of around 30 minutes, he also indicated the 6x4 tractor unit in “standard” form, offering 300 mile (480km) range tips the scales at less than 20,000lbs (9072kg), the longer range 500 mile version is a bit heavier, due to its extra batteries coming in at 23,000lbs (10433kg). In both cases, Tesla appears to have an astonishingly light truck in its line-up, significantly ahead of its US competition. By comparison, a European specification Volvo FH Electric Globetrotter in 4x2 configuration tips the scales at 11,000kg.

“We understand that maximising payload is key for customer success,” he explained. “Achieving strong range to mass ratios are only possible with a dedicated, purpose-built, ground-up electric platform. There’s no wasted space, the vehicle and the powertrain work hand-in-hand. We saw this on the light duty side and we’re seeing it all over again on heavy duty.”

According to Priestley, not only is the Tesla Semi light, it’s also very efficient. The vehicles currently out on the US roads have racked up over 3.5 miles of operation, he said, and are delivering average energy efficiency of 1.7kWh/mile (1.05 kWh/km). Elsewhere in the revealing presentation, he explained the vehicle uptime is more than 95% and that Tesla remains committed to rolling out megawatt charging, confirming the company will adopt the MCS design standard for its plugs when volume production starts.