Tesla has finally taken the cover off its long-anticipated electric semi truck. Aptly named “Tesla Semi” is the company’s answer to the commercial hauling market with what it says will offer up to 500 miles of electric range and offer a host of safety features.
In typical Tesla fashion, details of the Semi are very vague. Tesla CEO Elon Musk did confirm that the company is planning to offer two range options for the Semi; a 300 mile offering and a 500 mile offering. The latter option will be able to add 400 miles of range within 30 minutes of charging, but again, it wasn’t explained how this will work.
In both range options, the battery packs are supplying power to four electric motors resting at the rear axles. The four motors are good for a zero to 60 mph time of about 20 seconds, which is fairly quick given that’s with an 80,000 pound load.
Aiding in the process of squeezing as many miles as possible out of a charge is an extremely slippery exterior design. Tesla is claiming Semi has a drag coefficient of .36 Cd, which is on-par with F1 cars. Less drag means more range.
Also similar to F1 cars is the seating position in the Tesla Semi. The driver is seated in the center of the cab for better visibility. Tesla also says there is enough headroom in the cab for the driver to stand up fully.
While seated in the center the driver has two large LCD’s flanking either side of the dash. Along with traditional information, these screens will also be the interface point for new self-driving features and safety gear. For example, thanks to the Semi’s battery packs, it has a low center of gravity. Tesla has engineered software that will detect instability and attempt to correct it by applying torque to individual wheels.
It’s obvious here that Tesla has rolled out what they want us to know about the new Semi. That said, pricing information, details on the battery pack and details on a firm production timeline are still just up to imagination at this stage. The company is saying they hope to have the Semi out by 2019, but that may be a stretch given the Model 3 “production bottlenecks.”
It is worth noting that Tesla is not exactly the first to offer such a truck. Daimler, Cummins, General Motors and others are all working on semi trucks with alternative energy options.