Tesla Is Set to Finally Deliver Its First Electric Semi-Truck Tonight, and You Can Follow Along

Three years have gone by since Tesla initially promised PepsiCo semi trucks. Now, it might actually be happening, for real.

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Stock photo of Tesla Semi
The truck is (finally) coming right towards us!
Photo: Mike Mareen (Shutterstock)

Tesla is planning to deliver its first all-electric semi-trucks to client PepsiCo this evening—about three years after the vehicle maker first indicated the big rigs would be available. The company announced in a tweet that it will stream the delivery live via Twitter at 5 p.m. PT (8 p.m. ET) on Thursday, in a mysterious “event”—seemingly making good on an October promise to get the trucks to its first clients on Dec. 1.

Elon Musk rolled up to a Tesla press event in an electric semi-truck all the way back in 2017. That vehicle is/was equipped with Tesla’s autonomous driver assistance technology, could go from 0 to 60 mph in five seconds, had a 500-mile total range, and could get to 400 miles of range with just 30 minutes of charging, according to Musk’s claims at the time—some of which he recently repeated in an Oct. 6 tweet. “500 mile range & super fun to drive,” the billionaire recently wrote.

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Though the five second 0-60 claim seems to have been tempered since. The website for Semi (the vehicle’s official model name) says such acceleration takes 20 seconds.

And speaking of bunk claims— in 2017, Musk also said “If you order the truck now...you’ll get it in two years.” Immediately following the truck reveal five years ago, pre-orders began rolling in from at least 16 different companies. Each would-be buyer paid Tesla a deposit of between $5,000 and $20,000 per reserved vehicle, according to a report from Electrek. And obviously, Tesla did not deliver as initially planned.

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Now, half a decade post-reveal and 3-years late, we’ll presumably finally find out how those avowed specs hold up under actual use. Tesla began low-level production of its Semis at the company’s Nevada Gigafactory about two months ago. And PepsiCo expects to receive the Tesla trucks today at two of its plants in California, the soda maker previously told Gizmodo. “We are looking forward to this next step in our PepsiCo Positive journey and will provide more details once we have taken delivery,” the beverage behemoth wrote in an October email.

During Tesla’s last earnings call, CEO Musk said the company was planning to manufacture 50,000 semi-trucks for North America by 2024. Though, as we’ve already gone over, the world’s richest person is not very good at meeting his own deadlines. But if all those Tesla Semis do materialize, they’ll be tapping into a market ripe for electrification. Freight shipping is a notoriously polluting and carbon intensive industry—it makes up nearly 10% of all global greenhouse gas emissions, by some estimates. 

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Companies like Amazon and Walmart have already begun to electrify their delivery fleets with smaller, EV vans. Even the U.S. Postal Service has been facing legal pressure to shift away from gas guzzling vehicles. And Penske and Daimler Truck have been collaborating on their own electric 18-wheelers.