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Musk unveils Tesla Semi; 500-mile range at highway speed with 80,000 lbs GVW; next-gen Roadster appears

Emphasizing “BAMF” performance, Tesla CEO Elon Musk introduced the Tesla Semi in an evening event. The sleek electric truck, with a 0.36 coefficient of drag (supported by intelligent flaps that support a range of trailers), will accelerate from 0-60 mph in 5 seconds, charge up a 5% grade at 65 mph, and deliver 500 miles of range, Musk said.

According to Musk, 80% of truck routes are less than 250 miles; the Tesla Semi thus in theory could make a round trip on those routes without charging, he suggested.

Taking a page from Toyota’s presentation book, Tesla ran animations comparing the acceleration of the Tesla Semi vs. a conventional diesel truck. (For the reveal of its Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell prototype, Toyota presented a video of a side by side acceleration demonstration between the actual Portal fuel cell prototype and a diesel. Earlier post.) The diesel made it from 0-60 in 20 seconds, compared to the 5 seconds of the Tesla Semi.

View from the cockpit with its centered driver position.

The Tesla Semi will feature an enhanced autopilot capability as standard, with automatic emergency braking, automatic lane keeping, and forward collision warning.

Tesla guarantees the 4-motor drivetrain (one independent motor on each of the rear four wheels) to last one million miles. Tesla estimates $1.26/mile average cost versus $1.51/mile for a diesel truck.


Musk also emphasized the economic benefits of a 3-truck platoon, which can he said can beat rail in terms of cost.

Musk said that reserving a Tesla Semi requires a $5,000 reservation. Production is projected to begin in 2019. New solar-powered “Megachargers” will be able to add 400 miles of range in 30 minutes of charging.

Tesla also revealed the next-gen Roadster, with eye-watering specs: 0-60 seconds in 1.9 seconds, the quarter mile in 8.9 seconds, 0-100 mph in 4.2 seconds, and a 200 kWh battery pack supporting 620 miles of range. The four-seater is slated to be available in 2020.


Founders Series reservations for the Roadster 2 run $250,000; a standard Roadster 2 reservation runs $45,000.



Fair point, ai_vin. Tesla certainly could reconfigure the cab for the pickup/medium/heavy duty truck applications. The sketch that Musk showed off has one bucket seat visible, another very well could be obscured.

I’m not convinced that the pickup shown is real though. It would be wildly impractical except for monster truck rallies, coach applications and class 3+ trucks.


I think the truck is where it needs to be as far as range is concerned. It has more range than its all electric competition, yet it doesn't go after to large mileage of the Nikola One. I think this is a good middle range.

As far as the compliance issues, i do think we need to start planning for technical improvements such as cameras as mirrors. I mean, would autonomous cars need them? Why not deregulate certain older ways of thinking? We as a world are so divided when it comes to cars, and the laws that guide them, many of the regulations can be improved for modern technology/ modern needs, not barriers to entry.

I think tesla has a lot on its plate already, the truck could be a hard sell, and a pickup could be even harder, especially if it's atypical, that and the pickup market isn't an easy entry, the competition is fierce.


Most if not all current successful vehicle manufacturers succeeded by MASS PRODUCING affordable useful vehicles.

The Big Three deviated during many years and, had it not been for governments help, at least 2 out of 3 would have gone bankrupt and would not exist today.

It will be very difficult for TESLA to survive by making more and more large deficits and delaying delivery of the Model 3, the only unit that could be affordable and useful?

One possible solution could be to expand (without delays) production to Asia and EU for those two large markets and for parts, assemblies and batteries for units built in USA?

Brian P

Tesla needs to focus on getting Model 3 production sorted out, and I'm quite sure this will happen within the next few months. They are close. Then they can think about how to build a new model. Exporting manufacturing to Asia doesn't result in getting the vehicle into production any faster (It still takes them time to build stuff and get the bugs out of it), but it DOES alienate customers who want to support jobs in their home market. I don't know why HarveyD is so insistent on putting his neighbors out of work.

As for the cameras vs mirrors, I agree that regulations go out of date, but NHTSA is notoriously slow to change, and they recognize that many of the regulations have been put in place for a reason and careful thought is necessary before backtracking or before doing something that may have unforeseen consequences. Cameras and video screens are subject to technical failures that mirrors aren't subject to, and I'm sure this would be a prime area of consideration. In the meantime, Tesla, and the rest of us, have to operate within the regulatory environment as it exists today, and that means ... mirrors. And air brakes.

With that central seating position, how do you deal with a toll booth? Or passport control when crossing the border? Or the security guy at the gate of the facility you are going to? Or the chap at the weigh scale booth? It makes for unnecessary awkwardness ... this vehicle has plenty of width; why make it unnecessarily awkward for the driver? It has to interface with all sorts of existing infrastructure ...


On the semi's 500 miles range: At 70 m/h (interstate speed) that's a 7 hour shift right there. Let's give the driver a 1/2 hour break to eat at a recharge station and the truck's got it's range boosted back up to 400 miles. There's another 5.7 hours.



Yes, the central position for the large truck driver may be unusual/irregular unless future drivers gain more size/weight.

With regards to keeping more jobs in USA, local industries will have to remain/become more competitive. Applying 300% duties on Canadian softwood lumber and airplanes, to overprotect the local non/less productive industry is one bad example, not to apply to agriculture/farm products, trains, buses, trucks, cars etc unless one wants USA's products to be black listed.


This is silly. You both know damn well Tesla is going to put a robotic arm on that semi to allow documents to be passed from weigh station and border personnel to the driver.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Robotic arm nothing! Knowing Musk the truck will transform and stand up like Optimus Prime to hand over its own papers.

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