Tesla’s semi trailer is now a reality.
The electric car maker has delivered its first zero-emissions truck to Pepsi and it boasts some seriously impressive performance according to Tesla boss Elon Musk.
“If you’re a truck driver and you want the most bad ass rig on the road, this is it,” said Musk.
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It is powered by three electric motors that make it three times more power than any diesel semi-trailer on the road today.
Musk claims it can drive up to 800km, fully loaded on a single charge. On Twitter earlier this week the Tesla boss announced it completed the 800km test loop, with the test truck weighing 81,000 pounds or more than 36 tonne.
Musk apologised for the delay in launching the Semi and spruiked its green credentials.
It has taken five years for the truck to come to market.
“Sorry for the delay. The sheer amount of drama between the last event five years ago and now is insane. A lot has happened in the world but here we are and it’s real,” he said.
“People might wonder why build a semi-truck,” he said.
Musk said that although large trucks made up only one per cent of new vehicle sales, they contributed 20 per cent of emissions and 36 per cent of particulate matter.
“It seems like a small percentage but it’s actually 20 per cent of US vehicle emissions because you’ve got a huge vehicle and it’s been driven all the time.
“So from a sort of health standpoint, particularly in, like, cities, this is a huge impact, like gigantic. So that’s why we’re doing it.
“I think maybe a lot of people don’t realise it’s actually quite unhealthy to be living next to a highway with diesel trucks.
“So being able to make them electric is just going to be, in addition to climate change and global warming matters, it’s also quiet and it’s going to improve the quality of your air and actually just fundamentally improve the health of people living near freeways, which is obviously a super big deal,” he said.
Musk said people had asked if a semi was consistent with the Tesla image of developing fast cars. While he acknowledged that the truck “didn’t really make sense from a brand standpoint” they “make total sense when you consider what’s the mission of the company. The mission of the company is to accelerate sustainable energy”.
Tesla claims the Semi can replace 70 per cent of its battery charge in 30 minutes. The Semi’s new 1000-volt charging architecture is the fastest in the world and can accept a megawatt of energy an hour. There is no superchargers that can supply that rate of charge currently but Musk said its new “Megacharger” could deliver the juice.
Some on Twitter were quickly to call out the recharging time.
“yea but how long do you have to sit and wait for it to fully charge again? a full 24 hours?,” wrote one user.
But others were quick to fire back.
“30 minutes for a 70% charge. Drivers by law are required to take a 30 minute stop after 8 hours of driving so this works out perfectly,” tweeted another.
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.
Musk said the truck was very fast when not hauling a load, joking that it “looks like an elephant moving like a cheetah”.
Prices aren’t confirmed but the truck is expected to cost $US180,000 ($265,000), although it would be eligible for a $US40,000 ($58,700) subsidy.
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.