Tesla starts production of new electric Semi

One of Tesla’s most anticipated new vehicles is on the production line.

The brand’s boss, Elon Musk, confirmed on Twitter the company had started production of its electric Semi and the first units would be delivered in December.

Pepsi will be the first company to receive the electric Semi.

According to reports by Reuters the soft drink maker reserved 100 of the vehicles in 2017 as part of its plan to reduce its emissions and fuel costs.

The report states the truck is expected to cost $US180,000 ($285,800), although it would be eligible for a $US40,000 ($63,500) subsidy.

Musk claims the Semi will have a driving range of about 800km with a full load and is “super fun to drive”.

Twitter users were quick to call out the vehicle’s lack of range compared to conventional diesel powered trucks.

“That’s HALF the range of the average 18 wheeler on diesel. Where are your super charging stations? How long does it take to charge? At what cost? Do the math. Is it efficient?,” wrote one user.

Others were quick to defend the vehicle claiming most trips were shorter than the claimed range.

“1. 80% of routes are under 250 miles.

2. Truck drivers are legally required to stop after some hours. They don’t drive 500 miles stretches at a time. They can charge while they take their required pause, or while they load or unload. They’ll never wait for it to charge,” wrote another.

The slick looking truck was first announced in 2016 before being shown in concept form the next year, but in true Tesla style the vehicle was hit with several delays.

When fully loaded the Tesla Semi’s three electric motors can propel it to 100km/h in about 20 seconds and maintain highway speeds even up steep hills.

Tesla claims the big rig can recharge its batteries up to 70 per cent in half an hour when hooked up to a Tesla Supercharger.

The brand’s website claims it can save truck drivers and companies up to $200,000 a year in fuel costs.

It also claims the Semi’s central seating position is safer, giving the driver better visibility. The vehicle also has a reduced risk of rollover because the batteries stored in the base give it a low centre of gravity.

With production of the Semi just starting it’s unlikely the silent truck will be seen on Aussie roads any time soon.

Tesla has hit a new level of success in Australia recently. It’s Model Y SUV was the third best selling vehicle in the country in September and it was the seventh most popular brand.

Its Model 3 is now the best selling sedan in the country, eclipsing the Toyota Camry for year-to-date sales.

This could increase further if Tesla fans get their wish.

Avid Tesla fans are still waiting on the Cybertruck – a zero-emissions ute with out-there futuristic styling.

There is also no word on when the much hyped Tesla Roadster will become a reality.

The flagship electric supercar has some impressive numbers with Musk claiming it’ll hit 60mph (96.6km/h) in 2.1 seconds but can do it in 1.9 seconds with “rocket thruster option”.

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