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Tesla has just revealed their eagerly awaited new electric truck. The Tesla Semi is due to start production in 2019 with CEO Elon Musk suggesting that “it’s not like any truck that you’ve ever driven.”

So what makes it so special?

Tesla take on the truck market

The Semi certainly boasts an array of new technology combined with many features designed to make this truck a talking point, and not just within the freight community. The futuristic, streamlined design will be sure to turn the head of whoever sees this truck on the roads.

According to The Guardian, Musk claims that per mile, the cost of owning a Tesla electric truck will be 20 percent less than owning a diesel truck. It’s hard to verify this claim though, given that the price of the Semi has yet to be released. With the average price of a diesel semi coming in at around $120,000 it will be interesting to see how the price point of the Semi compares.

A study by Carnegie Mellon suggests that a battery pack alone for a vehicle with a 300 mile range would be around $200,000.

Despite the uncertainty around the cost of the Semi, it boasts a range of impressive features which make it, according to Tesla, “the safest most comfortable truck ever.”

Interior of the truck. Image by Tesla

Interior of the truck. Image by Tesla

Features which help achieve this include:

  • Fast acceleration
  • Improved performance when climbing hills
  • Range of 500 miles (805km) when travelling fully loaded at highway speeds
  • Enhanced autopilot
  • Lane-keeping technology
  • Jack-knife proof design
  • Four independent motors to provide maximum power
  • 0 – 60mph in 20 seconds

And how will these electric behemoths be charged?

Tesla plans on creating a network of chargers across the US, which will charge the truck enough for a 400 mile trip in just 30 minutes. Musk called these chargers “Megachargers” which will be different to the “Superchargers” currently used to charge Tesla cars.

A surprise load

At the end of the truck launch, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed another surprise to those in the audience – their new Roadster sports car. Nestled inside the back of one of the trucks, production of the Roadster is due to begin in 2020.

In his own indomitable style, Musk described the Roadster as “A hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars” and indeed, if it can live up to expectations it might yet prove to be exactly that. The Roadster will have a range of 620 miles (1,000km) on a single charge and reach 100mph in just 4.2 seconds.

Tesla Roadster. Image by Tesla

Tesla Roadster. Image by Tesla

Can Tesla deliver?

Whilst there is no doubt much excitement over this latest launch – as with any product launched by Musk – there will also be a degree of uncertainty as to whether the company can overcome the production issues they are currently experiencing. The production of the company’s latest car, the Model 3, is being affected by a number of “production bottlenecks” leading to delays for the half a million people on the waitlist, who have already paid a deposit.

Time will tell whether these delays can be overcome and the demand for current orders met.

Despite these problems, Musk suggests that to continue our reliance on diesel trucks for road haulage would be “economic suicide” and it certainly seems as though other companies are in agreement, as Tesla is not the only manufacturer working on the development of electric trucks. Volkswagen are also planning to release an electric truck, as are Daimler AG, who will be responsible for supplying United Parcel Service (UPS) with electric vehicles.

Top image: Tesla’s Semi. Image by Tesla

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Emma Stenhouse, MSc

Emma qualified with a BSc (Hons) in Equine Science in 2003 and has had a passion for horses since a young age. She continued her academic career with an MSc in Applied Marine Science, gained in 2004. Emma’s main scientific focus was the navigational techniques of sea turtles and whether they use the acoustics of the surf-zone as a cue for nesting. She then worked for a sea turtle conservation project on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica before travelling to New Zealand where she worked as a Mari...Read More

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