PepsiCo will enter at least one of its Tesla Semis in the Run On Less trucking industry event running for three weeks starting September 11, the company confirmed on Wednesday.
The event, which showcases advances in freight efficiency, will provide the first independent performance data for Tesla’s all-electric Class 8 semi-truck, according to Automotive News.
“We’re really excited to participate in the run and allow the industry to have access to the insights and the learnings that we are getting from experiencing these vehicles,” Amanda DeVoe, sustainability and technology director, fleet at PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay North America division, said during a panel at the ACT Expo clean transportation conference on May 3.
DeVoe added that the truck would operate with a maximum payload and travel up to 500 miles round trip during the event. “We’re gonna run ’em hard. We really want to demonstrate the capability of our team, the capability of the Semi and the capability of the Class 8 electric vehicle to compete with the (internal combustion) counterpart,” she added.
The fact the Tesla Semi will participate in the event – most likely with Tesla’s blessing – is an exciting prospect seeing as the EV maker has previously released only basic information about its Class 8 truck, and PepsiCo has only provided minor details regarding its experience with the Semi fleet to date.
The Run On Less event will follow all entrant trucks and post independent performance data on its website. This is why getting Tesla to participate is a big deal. Datasets that will be made public during the event include the distance traveled, the effect of speed and distance on the battery charge, and weather conditions, including wind speed, encountered by the vehicles.
Since the event will track the trucks’ performances in real-world operations, it is very relevant for the truck and freight industries. The trucks will be monitored as they operate from seven depots in California – including one in Sacramento for the Tesla Semi – and one in New York.
Entrants at this year’s event will also include operators of electric trucks from Nikola, Freightliner, Volvo and other brands. However, the event will provide only general comparisons between the brands, according to organizer North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) and Geotab, a fleet telematics company that will collect data from the trucks.
That’s because the trucks will carry different payloads, will travel different routes of varying distances, and will use different charging systems, making head-to-head comparisons difficult.
So far, Tesla has revealed the Semi has a range of 300 to 500 miles, and can charge up to 70 percent of its range in 30 minutes. It also said the electric semi-truck can save $200,000 in fuel expenses over three years of operation.