Tesla Semi and its clean inspection violate the eye test of more than one reader

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Updated Aug 19, 2018

Tesla SemiHighway Patrol reps from California’s Donner Pass Inspection Station late last week posted a few photos of this Semi pulled in for inspection at the scales, where it emerged with a clean inspection report, according to the Monday report.

CHP noted the Tesla was “very easy to inspect and very clean.” Responding to a commenter asking whether the truck passed, CHP simply noted, “Yes.”

Plenty readers saw some violation in the rig, however, as the comments on the story came quick. “Sorry, old-school guy here,” noted owner-operator Joe Bielucki. “That truck just is ugly, no character whatsoever.”

“Maybe some chicken lights will help with the look,” quipped a commenter posting only as  “Bill.”

Over on Overdrive‘s Facebook page, Kelly L. Jones wanted to see results with more time put through its paces: “Let it travel cross-country in the winter then see how easy and clean it is to inspect.”

Carly Luther waxed poetic, urging fellow readers to “imagine telling a 1979 359, ‘This is your grandchild’.”

Derrick P. Dupre: “It’d probably run itself into a tree.” 

The battery-fueled electric-drive Tesla Semi is not an autonomous, self-driving vehicle, as detailed in its debut this past year in November, where it was announced, though engineers with the company as with other manufacturers are building systems that move trucks more in the direction little by little, as we all know.

California’s Highway Patrol said the Tesla Semi was “very easy to inspect and very clean.”

Posted by Overdrive Magazine on Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Frank Taylor, also commenting on the Facebook page, nonetheless couldn’t resist commenting on the volume of comments, as it were, thusly: “I wonder if they programmed it to whine while it was being inspected? I’m sure inspectors will miss whiny drivers. I guess they could read a thread on Overdrive Magazine’s wall if they miss it too much.” 

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The joke — and Taylor did follow up that he meant nothing untoward by it — didn’t go unnoticed, but of course.

More seriously, Willie Perry, commenting here on OverdriveOnline.com, posited that if the Semi and its driver “can pass an inspection at Truckee, it can pass an inspection anywhere! They are Nazis at that coop!”

Though I don’t have inspection and violation data parsed personally down to the scale level, California’s data consistently show something that has long felt counterintuitive the way many owner-ops who’ve hauled there often through the years talk about their very-active inspection program. It’s certainly true that California performs more inspections per lane-mile than most every state in the union.

But in terms of results, data have shown consistently through the years we’ve been paying close attention to it that state inspectors also happen to be among the most likely to issue a clean inspection in the nation. Here’s an interactive map showing the top ten states ranked according the percentage of inspections they performed in 2017 that were totally violation free:

Among them, California ranks No. 5 with 60.6 percent of their inspections coming out totally clean, just like this Tesla’s. (They’re behind only Mississippi, with the highest percentage at nearly 70 percent clean, and South Dakota, Montana and Illinois, in that order.)

You can dig further into results via the latest annual update in our CSA’s Data Trail series, which started yesterday with this linked anchor piece.

Here’s to a productive weekend, whether you’re on the road or at home. Stay safe!

UPDATE: This just in, care of Overdrive’s Facebook page and commenter Shota Maisuradze … Turns out, Maisuradze says, inspectors may have jumped the gun with their original post on the battery-powered Tesla: “They did find a fuel leak after few hours of inspection.” It’s always something. Go figure …