It’s called the Semi, it has (according to Musk) a pretty astonishing 500 mile range, can drive itself and comes with a state-of-the-art interior that features not one but two large touchscreen displays.
Unveiled with all the lights and smoke that Tesla could muster the Semi is actually rather impressive.
The Semi can achieve a 0-60mph in just five seconds without a trailer. That’s faster than most premium sports saloon cars.
With an 80,000 pound trailer it can still manage 0-60mph in 20 seconds and can maintain its speed even at inclines, something most of us can confirm is not true of many of today’s diesel lorries.
To achieve both that performance and range, the Semi has been meticulously designed to create as little drag as possible. In fact Tesla claims that it generates less drag than a Bugatti Veyron supercar.
The Semi continues to be just as unique on the inside with a unique cabin that places the driver’s seat right in the middle.
Either side of the wheel are two large touchscreen displays that will show the driver essential navigation information as well as being tied into a haulage company’s wider network.
Protecting the driver and his truck are some innovative new safety features including a new impact-resistant windshield and a new anti-jacknifing system that uses sensors to detect when the truck is becoming unstable and automatically activates the brakes.
Of course it wouldn’t be a Tesla without some autonomous driving capability and indeed the Semi can drive itself. Thanks to an army of sensors around the vehicle it can adapt to the traffic around it and can even form part of a convoy of Tesla Semis with the lead truck controlling all those behind it.
Finally, we have to address the range. One of the biggest questions surrounding Tesla’s new truck was how would it feature a range that could compete with today’s long-distance haulers.
Well the Semi has a claimed range of 500 miles. To achieve that it has a frankly enormous battery which would, under normal circumstances take a very long time to recharge.
To combat this Tesla is rolling out a new network of Megachargers – electric charging points specifically designed for its large trucks. These can give the Semi a range of 400 miles in just 30 minutes.
So when will we start seeing these vehicles on the road? Tesla says production will start in 2019 so it’s going to be at least three years before we start seeing them in any great numbers.
Of course it’s also worth pointing out that the company is still fighting to overcome its own production issues with another one of its vehicles the hugely popular Model 3.