HAWTHORNE, California — On Thursday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled his firm’s fully-electric Class 8 semi – truck at a special event in Hawthorne, CA. By Friday morning, buyers were already lining up to get their hands on one of the beasts.
At the same event, Musk revealed the second-generation Tesla Roadster, a supercar that he said will be the “fastest production car ever”, promising a zero to 60 mph time of 1.9 seconds. The car will have a range of 620 miles, will be able to reach a top speed of more than 250 mph, and will cost $200,000.Simply called Tesla Semi, the truck will be able to achieve a range of 500 miles on a full charge, Musk said. However, after a charge of just 30 minutes, the truck will be able to make it about 400 miles. Most freight shipments move less than 250 miles, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
The truck features a sleek, modern design, with the driver seated in the middle of the cab, rather than to the left or right. A standard model and an upgraded version with an aerodynamics package will both be available, Musk said.
The truck is smart, too. Without a trailer, Musk said that the truck could reach zero to 60 mph in just five seconds. When carrying the max load weight of 80,000 pounds, it can reach that speed in 20 seconds.
As with all other Teslas, the semi – truck is powered by a giant battery. For the truck, though, that battery powers four independent electric motors (one for each rear wheel) that are like those in the Model 3, Musk said.
While not fully autonomous, the semi does feature Tesla’s semi-autonomous Autopilot system. The autopilot will also be what powers the trucks’ ability to move as a convoy, using a platooning method where multiple trucks follow one, human-driven leader. This could help lower operating costs.
The truck will not require drivers to shift gears, Musk noted. “I can drive this thing and I have no idea how to drive a semi,” Musk said.
The full drivetrain of the truck will be guaranteed up to one million miles. Pricing has not yet been announced. According to Bloomberg, the grocery chain Meijer has already reserved four of the trucks, with a deposit of $5,000 per truck. And, as Reuters reported, trucking company J.B. Hunt has also reserved some Tesla semi – trucks.
Tesla’s move into trucking is a risky one, but it could pay dividends if successful. If Musk and company can convince drivers and shippers to get on board with their vision, the adoption of these trucks could disrupt semi manufacturers, the energy sector, and the lives of the drivers themselves.
At the event, Musk also unveiled the new Tesla Roadster, promising a zero to 60 mph time of 1.9 seconds. The car will have a range of 620 miles, will be able to reach a top speed of more than 250 mph, and will cost $200,000.