The bold statements regarding the Tesla Semi pulling full truckloads for 500 miles on a single charge have been brought into question after PepsiCo  has revealed it has relied on limited loads.

PepsiCo has recently put the first battery electric prime mover on the road in California, and earlier reported numbers by Tesla that may require clarification. Reports previously indicated the Tesla Semi was being used to haul Frito-Lay products upwards of 600km . After completing the run of relatively lightweight potato chips, the battery charge was depleted by 80 per cent and the company was able to recharge the Class 8 truck in 45 minutes or less.

“Dragging a trailer full of chips around is not the most intense, tough ask, and I still believe that Tesla has an awful lot to prove to the broader commercial vehicle marketplace,” a senior analyst at consultancy Guidehouse, Oliver Dixon,  has been quoted as saying.

PepsiCo vice president Mike O’Connell reportedly indicated that heavier loads carrying soft drink products would start out running 160km trips., however he did go on the record indicating PepsiCo plans to integrate Tesla Semis into a “600 to 800km range as well.”

It stands to reason that heavier loads would use up battery capacity more quickly, which means more frequent stops and recharging downtime. The technology platform, Electrek, seemed puzzled by the report that light loads resulted in such significant battery depletion, given the initial testing of full loads traveling 800 km.

“But based on the information Tesla released, the truck can still travel 800 miles at 40 tonnes total weight (truck, trailer, and load) regardless of the actual load capacity. That’s why it’s so strange that PepsiCo says it is limiting trips with sodas to 100 miles,” Electrek said.

PepsiCo has reportedly started deploying 36 electric Tesla Semis, 15 from Modesto and 21 from Sacramento. The remaining models of PepsiCo’s initial 100-truck order are expected before the New Year.