Tesla unwraps 600 km range Semi e-truck
After revolutionizing the electric car, Tesla’s flamboyant CEO Elon Musk wants to do the same for heavy transport lorries. Musk himself drove a prototype of the ‘Semi’ on stage in Hawthorn, California, on Thursday, a fully electric 40 ton lorry with a range of 600 to 800 kilometres.
Tesla’s Semi is a futuristic looking lorry with fixed cargo trailer or a semi-truck. The cab, with the driver sitting in a centre position with two fixed touch screens in front of him, is kept ‘as narrow as possible’ to improve aerodynamics. A jump-seat in the rear allows for a passenger.
Four electric motors
The Semi is powered by four electric motors, the same as in the Tesla Model 3, independently driving each a wheel on the rear axles. Like a 4×4, the truck automatically can adapt traction of the wheels to maintain best grip.
Without load the Semi is said to accelerate from 0 to 100 kph in 5 seconds, with 40 tons of load in 20 seconds. 5% grades can be taken at 100 kph.
Like Tesla’s cars, the Semi has the latest Autopilot technology on board, allowing to drive the truck semi-automatic. According to Musk, it has also the ability to drive fully automatic while ‘platooning’ in a convoy after a lead truck.
800 kilometres range
The batteries are of the ‘industrial type’, heavier than the ones used in Tesla’s passenger cars. They give the lorry an estimated range of 500 or 800 kilometres at highway speed and fully loaded, without recharging.
Back and forth on one charge
“As 80% of hauls is less than 250 miles (400 km), the Semi can drive back an forth on one charge”, Musk says. Charging only takes 30 minutes and can be done while unloading.
Tesla claims that the electric truck will have fewer systems to maintain and will save more than 200.000 dollar on fuel costs, making it 20% cheaper than a diesel truck with a two year payback period in terms of cost of ownership.
Reservations for 5.000 dollar
Production should start in 2019, Musk promised, with the possibility to already reserve a Semi with a $ 5.000 deposit. But as Tesla is already struggling hard to keep its promises for producing the Model 3, observers are rather sceptical about the proposed timing.