Elon Musk's Tesla unveils its first electric lorry

Alicia Cross
November 18, 2017

Tesla opened the reservation books for the new Roadster and although it's unlikely that the reservations will pile up as fast as they did for the Model 3.

Without a trailer, the Tesla Semi goes from zero to 60 miles per hour in five seconds, compared to 15 seconds in a comparable diesel truck, Tesla said, and does zero to 60 miles per hour in 20 seconds with a full 80,000-pound load.

"From a purely economic perspective, if Tesla's cost of ownership stats prove accurate in practice, Tesla's Semi has a strong chance of taking significant share", he said.

Leading up to the event, there was speculation that Tesla might deal with the range problem by devising some kind of battery swapping service at truck stops, but there was no mention of this on Thursday. Using four separate electric motors, the Semi will go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in five seconds, compared with 15 seconds in a diesel cab, Musk said.

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Musk rattled off Semi statistics aimed at putting diesel trucks to shame.

The semi truck, called Tesla Semi, can go as far as 500 miles between charges and can haul 80,000 pounds at a time. Instead, they showed a truck with a dramatically greater range.

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Of course, with Tesla being right in the middle of "production hell" with its Model 3, it was no surprise that customers will have to wait to get their hands on these vehicles.

Tesla sold just 222 Model 3s from July through September.

"I hope you like what you see", said Musk.

The tech CEO also says it's easier and safer to drive.

Elon Musk also said Tesla Semis setup in convoys of three trucks and Autopilot, will make transport cheaper than rail, as drag is reduced and energy saved.

Michelle Krebs, executive analyst for Autotrader, said the trucking industry presents a large opportunity for Tesla, although she noted there are already other semi-autonomous truck manufacturers, including Daimler and Uber's Otto. "So far that final element has eluded Tesla Motors, which makes it hard to see these vehicles as more than "what if" concept cars".

Just when Tesla's product event looked like it was over, the electric-car maker pulled one of Apple's "one more thing" surprise announcements. The Semi also comes with regenerative braking for improved brake life, while there is no need to shift gears on this truck, which should make it convenient for drivers. "You will not be waiting for your truck to charge", Musk told the truckers in the audience.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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