Never before has a semi-truck been as hyped as the electric tractor trailer unveiled tonight at Tesla’s design studio in Hawthorne, California.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk promised on Twitter that the truck would blow our minds clear out of our skulls. The semi’s numbers are very impressive and its innovative new features could significantly benefit the trucking industry if the vehicle makes it to production.
The truck, called simply the Tesla Semi, uses an in-house-designed chassis that integrates the battery packs just like every other modern Tesla product.
In a walk-around briefing for media ahead of the big presentation, a Tesla representative said the entire truck was designed from the ground up and that safety, efficiency, and driver comfort were all top priorities for engineers and designers.
The battery packs are reinforced and sit low in the chassis for a low center of gravity. Tesla says the battery packs use similar chemistry to other products in its lineup, and that they’re designed for repeated charging cycles.
Battery capacity and weight numbers weren’t revealed, but Tesla claims the Semi can go 500 miles on a single charge at max weight traveling 60 mph.
Tesla did confirm the truck uses four Model 3 electric motors, one for each rear wheel, and that it can hit 60 mph from a standstill in 5 seconds unloaded, or 20 seconds when towing.
Musk said the drivetrain is guaranteed for 1 million miles. The Tesla Semi falls under the Federal Highway Administration’s class 8 heavy duty category, which is the highest weight rating at 33,001-plus pounds.
Tesla says the Semi has a max towing capacity of 80,000 pounds. The fifth wheel, where the trailer attaches, is the largest size available and can accommodate any size trailer.
The bold claims didn’t stop with range or acceleration. Musk also said the Tesla Semi can regain 400 miles of range from a mere 30-minute charge–the same amount of time the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandates for a break in an eight-hour shift.
Musk says this will be made possible by Megachargers, new high-speed DC charging stations that will be installed worldwide.
The stations look like Tesla’s existing Superchargers, which already exist on many major corridors around the globe, so perhaps Tesla will simply update its Supercharger network. Musk did say the Megachargers would all be solar-powered, however.
Pricing has not yet been announced, but you can reserve a Tesla Semi for $5,000. The automaker says it’s already received some reservations.