Tesla Semi electric truck is a heavy duty truck that is all electric battery powered program that was released in late 2017 by Tesla, Inc. with Jerome Guillen as lender of the program. He is Tesla’s former Model S Program Director and VP of Vehicle Engineering. Guillen was an executive Daimler before joining Tesla where he led the program that successfully developed the Cascadia truck.
This program was announced by the CEO of Tesla, Inc. himself Elon Musk in a plan he termed “Master Plan Part Deux” which stated that in addition to consumer vehicles, high passenger density urban transport and heavy duty trucks were needed. He stated both the two were in Tesla’s laboratory in the stage of development and would be ready for use anytime soon. They believed that the Tesla Semi truck will provide a significant reduction in cargo transportation cost while increasing safety. He mentioned the experience of operating them will be fun filled. The official exact release date was on the 16th of November 2017.
Tesla plans to produce the electric truck massively by 2019 for lots of anticipating trucking companies. Tesla at first announced that the electric trucks would have the 300 miles to 500 miles range on a full range. The Tesla electric trucks would be able to run after an efficient charge of 80% that takes as long as 30 minutes using a solar powered “Tesla Megacharger” charging station. Standard “Tesla Autopilot” allowing semi-autonomous driving on highways will be installed in the electric trucks as stated by the CEO of Tesla, Inc. himself.
About the Tesla Megacharger
A global network of Tesla Megachargers was mentioned to be installed that would be powered by solar energy capable of charging an electric truck’s battery in 30 minutes on a capacity of 400 miles (640 km). This charger will have an output of over one megawatt to accomplish this.
The Cost of Tesla’s Semi Electric Truck
When this Semi Electric truck was unveiled at a press conference he led on the 6 of November 2017, the CEO Elon Musk provided more specifics. Though a planned price was not provided then, he claimed the Semi Eclectic truck would cost 20 cents less per mile to run than the typical diesel truck. This cost will vary depending on the location where the truck will be charged as prices per unit of electricity also vary.
The expected prices of regular production per version were known by the 24 of November 2017 when Musk said the 300 miles (480 km) and 500 miles ( 805) range versions would cost One hundred and Fifty Thousand dollars and One Hundred and Eighty Thousand dollars respectively. A Founder’s Series Semi Electric truck was also planned to be offered at Two Hundred Thousand dollars.
A lot of these electric trucks have been already ordered. It was required to make a deposit of five thousand dollars to place a pre-order, a price that was later increased to twenty thousand dollars after the November unveiling event. Elon Musk in the Q1 2018 Tesla earnings call said that the pre-order number of the Semi electric truck were about two thousand in total where potential buyers on the top list were the Anheuser-Busch with a total number of 40 electric trucks ordered, Sysco with 50, Walmart with 45, FedEx with 20, Loblaw Companies with 25, PepsiCo with 100, Bee’ah with 50 and the top on the list back then was United Parcel Services with total of 125. By this date, the numbers should surely have increased.
Putting the Electric Truck Into the Test
The test of the electric truck started this year on the 7th of March 2018 with real cargo, hauling battery packs from Nevada to California. It made its first travel without escort cars from Tesla for a week to reach at the J.B. hunt headquarters in Arkansas on the 24th of August, 2018.
What Powers the Electric Trucks?
As mentioned on the day of unveiling by Elon Musk, the electric trucks will be powered by four electric motors of the type used in the Tesla model 3. Under the floor of the cab, stretching to the back seat of the cab wheels are placed the 300 miles and the 500 miles battery configurations. The electric truck would be capable of accomplishing 60 mph in just 5 seconds from its starting point and the unloading of a fully loaded electric truck will take only 20 minutes.
The Features of the Electric Trucks
The driver’s seat of the prototype presented on November 2017 was situated in the middle with a removable jump seat for an extra passenger. This electric truck had no sleeping area at all. The steering wheel was surrounded by touch screens with no other instrument panel in sight. The wind shields are explosion proof which makes the electric truck safer even in case of an explosion.
It was said that the electric trucks would be equipped with an enhanced autopilot as standard equipment that would provide semi-autonomous capabilities. These trucks will be equipped with more radar deices than any of the company’s electric models, cameras that would enable the electric trucks to stay in their own lanes and at a safe distance away from other vehicles on the highway. The new technology would be included that would make the trucks perform better like active safety controls to detect and prevent jackknifing. Eventual system evolution would even allow several units to operate in an auto pilot-based convoy that would be led by an electric truck with a driver. This will be to the great advantage of trucking companies.