Plans for the Tesla Semi revealed

21 November 2017

Credit: Tesla

The Tesla Semi, an all-electric truck for 2019, was revealed on November 16th; it will deliver a far better experience for truck drivers, while increasing safety and significantly reducing the cost of cargo transport.

As part of Elon Musk’s Master Plan to “build a wide range of models, including affordably-priced family cars”, the Tesla Semi will offer 500 miles of range at gross vehicle weight and highway speed. According to the Tesla website, “owners can expect to gain $200,000 or more in savings over a million miles based on fuel costs alone”.

The vehicle will also offer unparalleled performance: within five seconds (twenty seconds when its 80,000-pound load applies), the Semi can achieve 0 to 60mph speeds – three times faster than a comparable diesel truck’s rate of acceleration. It also climbs 5% grades at a steady 65mph, whereas its traditional counterparts max out at 45mph under the same conditions.

The vehicle does not require shifting or clutching, and its regenerative braking recovers 98% of kinetic energy to the battery – meaning virtually infinite brake life. Moreover, the use of Megachargers, a new high-speed DC charging solution, will add about 400 miles in 30 minutes, for easy charging during loading, unloading and driver breaks.

The Tesla Semi offers an intuitive driver experience, by including two touchscreen displays that are positioned symmetrically on both sides of the driver: this provides easy access to navigation, blind spot monitoring and data logging.

By having an all-electric architecture, the Tesla Semi is designed to have a higher safety standard than any other heavy-duty truck on the market, with an impact-resistant windshield and a reinforced battery that shields the vehicle from collisions and gives it an exceptionally low centre of gravity. One thing the vehicle cannot do is jackknife: this has been rendered impossible due to the Semi's onboard sensors that detect instability and react with positive or negative torque to each wheel while independently activating all brakes.

Credit: Tesla

The surround cameras aid object detection and minimise blind spots, automatically alerting the driver to safety hazards and obstacles. With enhanced autopilot, the Tesla Semi features automatic emergency braking, automatic lane keeping, lane departure warning, and event recording.

The truck can also travel in a convoy, where one or more Semi trucks will be able to autonomously follow a lead Semi.

The ground-breaking efficiency of the Tesla Semi is a reflection of one of Tesla's objectives, detailed in his Master Plan: "help expedite the move from a mine-and-burn hydrocarbon economy towards a solar electric economy, which [he] believes to be the primary, but not exclusive, sustainable solution".

For more information on the Tesla Semi, visit this link from Tesla.


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