Tesla unveils new line of electric tractor-trailers

Camille Francis
November 18, 2017

Musk has relied on batteries to power his vehicles in the past and many expect the new semi to fall in line, but there are questions about where a truck that's meant to carry cargo will find space for the batteries it would need to travel long distances.

Musk, who has pushed back the debut twice, said this week that the truck would "blow your mind clear out of your skull" when it was introduced in a webcast on Thursday at 11 p.m. ET (8 p.m. PT). Production for the new Roadster sports auto, a likely Ferrari rival, will start in 2020.

Suggested retail price is $200,000, Tesla said.

"Semi specs are better than anything I've seen reported so far".

The Semi is a fully electric semi-truck, a bigger step into the broader transportation market by Elon Musk.

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Safety is paramount in the design of the Tesla Semi, with a statement from the company claiming that "jackknifing is prevented due to the Semi's onboard sensors that detect instability and react with positive or negative torque to each wheel while independently actuating all brakes". The truck can be charged via the superchargers within in 30 minutes, which is the time you would need to load and un-load the material. The Tesla Semi and the surprise unveiling of its Roadster 2.0 supercar were hands-down mind-blowing. "You can lose two of the four motors and the truck will still keep going", he said.

Tesla revealed its semi truck and new Roadster model on Thursday evening. "So far, that final element has eluded Tesla Motors, which makes it hard to see these vehicles as more than "what if" concept cars".

Mr Musk said several Tesla lorries will be able to travel in a convoy, autonomously following each other. The pilot program will see the electric truck join Walmart's existing fleet of around 6,000 vehicles. However, Tesla will be up against some formidable challengers, Daimler being one which knows this market well and already has customer trust and loyalty. Regulations require commercial trucks to be sidelined if their windshields are cracked in a way that could affect the driver's view. The truck is a tool for making money. Tesla also could equip its trucks with the semi-autonomous driving features found in its cars, like automatic braking and lane changing.

Michael Harley, group managing editor for Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book, questioned Tesla's strategy. The company has a lot on its plate right now and the pickup truck likely doesn't rank high on the list of priorities, but it could come to life in the long run. Speeds can reach up to 104 kmph, which is more than what the diesel trucks achieve, while the battery range is around just above 800 km at highway speeds.

But most of that growth is expected to be for smaller, medium-duty haulers like garbage trucks or delivery vans.

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