Tesla’s latest electric vehicle, the semi truck, was unveiled last week by Elon Musk. The cool looking vehicle shares a number of parts with the new mass-market passenger vehicle, Model 3. It has the same motor and handles as the Model 3. The semi truck was revealed at the company’s factory in California. The event, held on the grounds of Tesla’s design studio along with Musk’s other company, SpaceX, marks a distinguished milestone and a new level of risk. However, according to Musk, the truck makes sense from an economic point of view and is another part of his vision to build a sustainable energy company.
According to Musk, the semi truck will drive just like any other Tesla model, referencing the passenger electric vehicles, Model S, Model X and Model 3.
Tesla Semi is a Class 8 and it is the largest heavy duty freight truck. It will be able to travel at 500 miles on a single battery charge when fully loaded and drive at 65 mph. The Semi will be charged through its supposedly “megacharger” – similar to Tesla’s supercharger network – which will generate energy required to charge the battery via solar panels.
The Semi is a standard fifth-wheel and can pull any size trailer that would give the company viability. Semi trucks would also serve the purpose of transporting batteries and electric motors produced at Tesla’s battery factory near Reno, Nevada to its vehicle factory in Fremont, California. The Semi has two drive axles and has two motors, same as the electric motors in the new Model 3 sedan.
The Semi comes fitted with an Autopilot which has an advanced driver assistance system. This system is also found in the company’s electric passenger vehicles. The Autopilot uses sensors, radar, and cameras, along with software to offer several advanced driver assistance features when combined with “semi-autonomous” capabilities.
The reservation cost for the Semi is $5000 per truck, and the production is expected to begin in 2019.
Jerome Guillen, the former director of Tesla’s Model S program is leading the project, which began in January 2016.
The Tesla Semi was originally scheduled for release in October, however Musk postponed the release to align the company resources to fix the bottleneck problems of the Model 3.