Tesla Semi unveiled

TESLA has finally unveiled their much-anticipated semi-truck to a packed audience in California, with key highlights being a range of 500 miles, 0-60mph in 5 seconds and 0-400 miles charge in 30 minutes using a new network of Megachargers.

Tesla opened proceedings with an instant headline grabbing 0-60mph time of just 5 seconds – with or without a trailer – and with the maximum permissible load in America of 80,000lbs (40 tons) the truck can achieve the sprint in 20 seconds, which Tesla say compares favourably to diesel powered semi­trucks that take around a minute to accelerate the same load.

Likewise, up a hill, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said, ‘The best diesel trucks can only do 45mph up a 5% gradient. Tesla Semi can do 65mph up the same grade – continuous, at mass gross [weight]. You’re earning 50% more than in a diesel truck.” The average diesel truck takes 15-minutes to charge. Tesla envisage a change in attitude by using origin or destination charging, so cargo can be unloaded while the truck recharges. However, the company states a recharge time of 30 minutes to attain enough power for a 400-mile range – thanks to new “Megachargers”. In addition, the company states electricity prices will be “guaranteed low for Tesla”, thanks to them being charged by solar power using battery banks to store the energy. Tesla is guaranteeing a wholesale electricity price of $0.7/kWh.

Elon Musk explained that this is an important figure because 400 miles provides between 6-7 hours of driving, yet it is a legal requirement for drivers to stop for a 30-minute break after 5 hours. “You will not be waiting for your truck to charge”, enthused Elon Musk.

He added that the Megacharger network will be expanded over the coming years to enable electric truck driving, “anywhere in the world”.

As for total range, Tesla says the truck is capable of a 500-mile range at gross vehicle weight and highway speed, adding that 80% of routes are fewer than 250 miles.

The company adds that this is possible in part thanks to its aerodynamic profile and low drag coefficient of 0.36cd, with most diesel (American) semi-trucks being between 0.65-0.70cd. Flaps on the side of the vehicle are adjustable, closing the air gap between the cab and trailer. Additionally, the bottom of the truck is flat bottomed.

The truck is powered by four independent motors, one in each of the rear wheels. Independent front suspension ensures a smooth ride for the driver, Tesla added.

The driver position is central in the cab too; which Tesla say makes for easier entry/exit.

Two touchscreen displays positioned symmetrically on both sides of the driver provide easy access to navigation, blind spot monitoring and electronic data logging. Built-in connectivity integrates directly with a fleet’s management system to support routing and scheduling, and remote monitoring. And, being a Tesla, the company couldn’t resist equipping the truck with a ‘frunk’ (or ‘froof) – stowage in the nose of the vehicle.

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