Tesla May Build Semi Charging Stations From Texas to California
Last year, Tesla unveiled its electric Semi in an initial order for PepsiCo at the company’s Modesto distribution facility. Now, as the company looks to expand the reach of the electric Semis, Tesla has requested funding from the U.S. government to build nine Megacharging stations, which are expected to run from Texas to California.
Above: A Tesla vehicle at a Supercharger (Image: Casey Murphy / EVANNEX).
Tesla has requested $100 million in U.S. funding to construct nine Semi charging stations running from Texas to California, according to emails seen by Bloomberg in recent weeks. The route would run from the southern border of Texas to Northern California, each including as many as eight 750-kilowatt chargers, dubbed Megachargers by the automaker.
The plan represents the first such attempt by any company to develop a network of chargers for the massive electric Semis. While commercial trucking plays an important role in U.S. goods supply, the industry has been slower to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than that of passenger vehicles, with the Tesla Semi also being the first 16-wheeler to be introduced to the market.
Executives at Tesla have also reportedly spoken with Texas officials about the plan, emphasizing that the route could be eligible for federal grants within a bipartisan infrastructure plan passed in 2021. Tesla also requested that Texas officials submit a letter to the U.S. government supporting the plans, as included with the automaker’s application for funding submitted in June.
According to one U.S. official from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, the agency is “currently reviewing applications” for the grant. Approved applicants are expected to be announced sometime “later this year,” the representative also added. Bloomberg also adds that it’s not yet clear if Tesla would continue with the project if it is not approved for the grant money.
Tesla has faced a number of delays and holdups in its time bringing the Semi to production, and CEO Elon Musk recently said he expects volume production to begin next year. As for why the Semi’s production has been delayed over the years, Musk pointed to the difficulty in making batteries that can achieve the Semi’s 500-mile advertised range in its partnership with Panasonic.
The first Tesla Semi prototype was shared with the public in 2017, though initial deliveries of the electric hauling truck didn’t take place until last December, when the automaker delivered 15 to PepsiCo. Tesla has said in regulatory filings that the Semi is still in “pilot production.”
Earlier this year, Tesla also announced plans to expand its Gigafactory Nevada in a $3.6 billion investment. Part of the investment is set to include expansion of the plant to create a high-volume production facility for the Semi, representing the first of its kind.