Tesla unveils electric semi truck, Tesla Semi

17 Nov 2017


Tesla has reported its largest quarterly loss yet even as it decides to enter the electric semi truck business, a move that has drawn criticism from some quarters. Critics point out that consumers can be won over with aesthetics and special features, but truck fleet operators are focused on reliability, performance and economics.

A semi truck, or more accurately a semi-trailer truck, is a tractor unit with one or more semi-trailers to carry freight.

They point out that logistics major UPS optimises its routes so that truck drivers rarely have to turn left, which saves the company 10 million gallons of fuel, avoids 22,000 tons of carbon dioxide, and allows additional 350,000 package deliveries each year.

Tesla would therefore need to do much more than impress tech consumers, they argue.

Meanwhile, Tesla last night unveiled the Tesla Semi in Hawthorne, California but skipped the nitty gritty information for fuelling hype and excitement associated with Musk. But, the Tesla truck did capture the trucking industry's attention.

According to Zac Estrada of The Verge, who sat in the driver's seat hours before the truck was revealed, said the Tesla Semi is a ''hulking and menacing hauler''.

He writes, from the driver's seat, apart from the glass area and the two screens on either side, it ''feels as badass as any big truck''. According to Estrada, the centre-mounted seat, felt weird even as he noticed several elements from the Model 3, including a turn signal and gear lever.

However it came with a different steering wheel since it did not require an airbag.

What success Tesla can achieve in the new segment remains to be seen, but from the design Tesla made it clear that it wanted to do things differently and staged a full scale media event blitz to drive that point home as it revealed that for probably the first time, an 18-wheeler to the tune of trance music.

The Semi boasts a 500-mile range at maximum weight and at highway speed.

According to Musk, Tesla can achieve a 500-mile range in part because the Semi ''is shaped like a bullet'' with a 0.36 drag coefficient, which is on par with supercar.

He added, to make charging convenient, Semis will be served by ''Megachargers,'' a new high-speed DC charging solution that Tesla says will add about 400 miles of range in 30 minutes.

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