A carbon fiber cab. A centrally-mounted driving position, like in a McLaren F1. A 500-mile range. Zero to 60 mph in five seconds. Semi-autonomous convoy capability. This is the Tesla Semi.
If Tesla can actually get it built, of course.
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Musk immediately launched into some specs—and there’s a lot to take in. In particular, he claimed at highway speed, carrying a maximum load, the truck can handle a 500 mile range on a single charge.
In a side-by-side comparison of how fast it takes a diesel truck to move 0-60, he showed how quickly the Tesla semi can hit it: 5 seconds.
The interior offers one of the most striking features, up front. There’s center-mounted seating, like a McLaren F1.
“You’re positioned like a race car,” Musk said.
Musk also put to rest any questions about whether the truck will have automated capabilities on the highway. Every semi comes equipped with the latest Autopilot suite, he said, keeping the truck within a lane and allowing for automatic braking.
Onboard sensors will sniff out any signs of jackknifing and adjust power to the individual wheels to keep the ride steady.
He’s also boasting confidently about the semi’s safety and reliability—an interesting twist for a company that’s copped to having quality issues in previous products. Musk said the semi’s powertrain will be guaranteed for 1 million miles. With an electric powertrain, the brake pads will have “quasi-infinite” lifespans thanks to regenerative braking, he said.
Musk seemed particularly overjoyed about an over-the-top feature, surely to be an attraction to truckers across the world: explosion-proof glass. Seriously.
“It survives a nuclear explosion,” he said, “or you get a full refund.”
Even though Tesla’s factory in Fremont is packed to capacity, Musk felt confident enough to offer up this: if you order the truck now, it’ll arrive in 2019. It’s unclear where Tesla plans to build the truck, or how much it’ll cost to launch production. For context: those at the end of the Model 3 reservation line are expected to receive their all-electric sedan around that time, too.
“If you order the truck now,” Musk said, “you’ll get it in two years.”