Elon Musk Says Tesla Semi Coming In September


Elon Musk tweeted today that the much anticipated Tesla Semi is coming in September. It is no secret that selling luxury cars to the 1% is not going to have much affect on carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere but finding a way to electrify the freight hauling component of the transportation sector just might.

What will the Tesla Semi look like? How much can it haul and for how long? How big is the battery? Will it have any sort of range extender engine/turbine/moonbeam collector? Nobody knows. Musk, as usual, is playing his Twitter followers like a Stradivarius, creating excitement with very little actual information.

Last July, Musk rolled out his Master Plan Part Deux (extra credit if  you know what “Part Deux” refers to). It included objectives like acquiring SolarCity, perfecting Autopilot, and creating a network that will allow Tesla owners share their cars with others. Then there was this item — expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major segments

Musk later explained one of those major segments was trucks for hauling freight. In February, he cranked up the magic Twitter machine once again to say, “Jerome is driving Tesla Semi and doing a great job with his team.” Jerome is  Jerome Guillen, former head of Tesla sales and service. He is now head of the Tesla Semi program. Before joining Tesla, he worked for Daimler Trucks North America on Class 8 truck development and headed up the Cascadia Class 8 truck team.

We can speculate on whether the Tesla Semi will be designed for short haul duty, like the tractors that haul freight from ports in southern California to the enormous distribution centers 20 miles inland or whether it will be capable of long haul tasks. It is hard to believe that the Tesla Semi will have enough pure battery power to lug an 80,000 pound cargo more than 100 miles or so.

For now, we are left to wonder. Perhaps Elon will Tweet more details soon. But the idea that some of the horrendous diesel emissions that follow in the wake of America’s tractor trailers will soon be eliminated by electric trucks is very encouraging news indeed.

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I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I’m interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.

  • Eco Logical

    The range at highway speeds depends more on aerodynamics than weight. A rounded front end and a tapered back end are the best, kind of like an airplane wing/fuselage or a FISH. The more box shaped it is, as virtually all existing trucks are, the less range it’ll have per kWh. Tesla did a pretty good job with the Model S/3/X … particularly with the back window on the X … if they do something similar, perhaps a tapered cone or hard shell canopy on the back, the all-electric range should be practical, much more than 100 miles.

    • kevin mccune

      Well weight of the battery pack isnt as much of an issue on these class 8 monsters( a lot of truckers are going to miss the ability to make black smoke and making the “Jake” bark) Now if we could do something about the tire noise.
      “Eco” you are right about the aerodynamics , they actually started having a pretty good handle on it in the 30’s and 40’s with the “art deco” creations , I actually miss those monsters .

      • bioburner

        Well on the positive side the “Jake Brake” will be replaced with regenerative braking. Tire noise always a problem even on smaller trucks ( Pickups). Well an anti trump statement coming. We need tires to be rated for noise and fuel economy. Already have traction, operating temp and tread life.

        • kevin mccune

          There are some “eco” tires available , as always there are tradeoffs . At “lower mach numbers the “Nankings ” on my old Dodge are pretty quiet .

          • bioburner

            Always been big fans of the KUMHO brand. almost always available in AA traction. The new LLR tires are hard to find with this rating, in any brand.

  • bioburner

    Lets wait and see what this thing costs and can do in terms of range. I’m figuring if it comes from Tesla then its gonna be expensive.

  • trackdaze

    There is 28KW of solar energy bathing the top of 40ft container.

    Just saying.

    • Steve Hanley

      That’s interesting…….