Elon Musk has unveiled the Tesla Semi Truck [nytimes.com]. It supposedly boasts a single-charge range of over 500 miles, more than what analysts had expected. Tesla could begin producing the vehicles by the end of 2019 (assuming it isn't delayed [soylentnews.org]):
The truck can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in five seconds without a trailer, and in 20 seconds when carrying a maximum load of 80,000 pounds, less than a third of the time required for a diesel truck, he said.
He gave no price for the truck but hinted that it would be costly. "Tesla stuff is expensive," Mr. Musk said, drawing another cheer from the crowd, gathered at an airfield outside of Los Angeles. But he also said the electric truck would be less expensive to operate, in part because it has fewer components that require regular maintenance (no engine, transmission or drive shaft). Instead, the truck, called the Tesla Semi, is powered by a giant battery beneath the cab. It has two rear axles, each outfitted with two electric motors, one for each wheel. Its acceleration and uphill speeds will allow it to cover more distance in less time than diesel trucks, he added.
As a result, Tesla is estimating it will cost $1.26 per mile to operate, compared with $1.51 a mile for a diesel truck. The cost can fall further — to 85 cents a mile, according to Tesla — if groups of trucks travel together in convoys, which reduces wind drag. "This beats rail," Mr. Musk said.
In typical Tesla fashion, the truck is a sharp departure from industry norms. The cabin is spacious enough for a driver and passenger to stand. The driver's seat is in the center of the cab, not on the left side. It is flanked by two laptop-size video screens providing navigation and scheduling data as well as images of blind spots and other areas around the truck. It will be equipped with radar sensors, cameras and processors to enable drivers to use a version of Autopilot, the advanced driver-assistance system featured in Tesla cars such as the Model S and the new Model 3.
Tesla will also produce a new version of the Tesla Roadster that can go from 0-60 in 1.9 seconds.
Previously: Tesla Sued Over Alleged Racism; Deliveries Pushed Back; Semi Truck to be Unveiled [soylentnews.org]