Electric lorry can tow 36 tonnes and is claimed to be capable of hitting 0-60mph in 20sec even when fully loaded
Sam Sheehan
27 November 2017

The Tesla Semi is priced from $150,000 in the US, which equates to £112,410 at current exchange rates - far cheaper than expected.

The opening price for the all-electric lorry applies to an entry model that has a 300-mile range. The price for the headline-grabbing 500-mile lorry is $180,000, £134,892 at today's rate. Prices for diesel lorries in Britain start at about £85,000, by comparison.

Several US companies, including Walmart, the American owner of supermarket Asda, have reserved Semis, putting the model on course to enter service as soon as it makes production in 2019. The price to reserve a Semi quadrupled from $5,000 to $20,000 when the lorry was revealed two weeks ago.

At its unveiling in Hawthorne, California, US, where Tesla also showed a new Roadster sports car, company CEO Elon Musk said that the Semi, which was previously referred to as the Tesla Truck, was capable of accelerating from 0-60mph in 5.0sec.

Tesla Semi: UK truckers "don't care about performance"

He said it was also able to hit the mark in 20sec even when laden with a trailer fully loaded with 80,000lb (almost 36 tonnes) of cargo. This beats the average sprint time for regular diesel-powered rivals by around 40sec.

The Semi's energy recovery systems are claimed to be capable of recovering 98% of kinetic energy to the battery. For regular charging, the lorry can be connected to so-called Megachargers, which is a new high-speed DC charging solution, that is said to add about 400 miles in 30 minutes and can be installed at origin or destination points, much like the existing Superchargers.

Efficiency is boosted by a low wind resistance, with Tesla claiming that its Semi has a drag coefficient of 0.36Cd. It states that most of its competitors are closer to 0.65Cd.

Tesla refrained from going into further detail about the lorry's drivetrain and battery but did reveal that the vehicle features advanced autonomous technology to prevent jack-knifing of the trailer. Onboard sensors are installed to detect instability and can adjust torque sent to each wheel and independently actuate all brakes to prevent jack-knifing.

Additionally, surround cameras provide autonomous object detection and reduce blind spots, alerting the driver to safety hazards and obstacles. The lorry also introduces a new Enhanced Autopilot system, with automatic emergency braking, automatic lane keeping, lane departure warning and even event recording.

The Tesla Semi can travel in a convoy, allowing one or several Semis to autonomously follow a lead Semi.

Alongside the claims for performance and safety, Musk also said that the Semi would provide users with massive savings. Figures produced by Tesla state that owners "can expect to save $200,000 or more in savings over a million miles based on fuel costs alone".

Production is due to start in less than two years, at which time Musk believes the company's "production bottlenecks" will be history.

These production issues relate to supply difficulties with the Model 3. They caused the reveal of the Semi to be delayed by several weeks. Tesla's resources have also been under demand helping to supply Puerto Rico with power following Hurricane Maria. 

Read more about the Tesla Model 3's production bottlenecks here

The bottlenecks have hindered Model 3 deliveries from Musk's initial delivery plan, set out in Tesla's second-quarter plan, with 220 Model 3s delivered in the third quarter compared with a targeted 1500.

Tesla also has a Model Y small SUV, an electric cargo van, a minibus and a pick-up truck all slated for introduction in the coming years.


Read more 

Tesla: "Model 3 is not the next-generation Tesla"

Tesla Model Y to lead ambitious range expansion plans

2017 Tesla Model S P100D review

Tesla Model S 60 and 60D killed off due to low sales

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2 May 2017
Lorry! Bonkers British word. It's a truck! ;-)

25 August 2017

Yeah Ia gree I hate "lorry" truck sounds much better.

XXXX just went POP.

16 November 2017
geed wrote:

Lorry! Bonkers British word. It's a truck! ;-)


In the US a truck is what we in the UK call a pick up. The US call an articulated lorry a semi.

iIn the US the best selling vehicle for decades has been a truck, the Ford F-150.

27 November 2017
Campervan wrote:

geed wrote:

Lorry! Bonkers British word. It's a truck! ;-)


In the US a truck is what we in the UK call a pick up. The US call an articulated lorry a semi.

iIn the US the best selling vehicle for decades has been a truck, the Ford F-150.

It's not a lorry or a truck, it's a Tractor Unit. When connected to a trailer then the combination is a lorry. A truck is the wheels of a skateboard.

2 May 2017
Musk also claimed that the Tesla truck could be driven around ‘like a sports car’

What the hell is the point in that? What will be the top model, the GT3 RRS

2 May 2017
Long haul trucks have 12L diesel engines. Carry 1400L of fuel. Few hundred litres of ad-blue. Add to it a heavy transmission etc and Tesla making a truck or lorry as we call it here begins to make complete sense just like his sensational cars do.

15 September 2017

Where I live trucks (road trains) need a minimum range of 1,0000 km. Tesla won't deliver that in the near future.

14 November 2017
Downunder wrote:

Where I live trucks (road trains) need a minimum range of 1,0000 km. Tesla won't deliver that in the near future.

In Europe all lorries have a maximum range of 220 miles.

That is four hours at 55mph.

Once the lorry has travelled that far the drive must take a break. (I think this is similar in most rich countries)

220 miles is a feasible range for an electric truck, the battery would weigh around 5 tonnes, but the rest of the truck will be much lighter than a diesel so the difference in carrying capability will be pretty minor.

You will require a charging standard that will recharge the truck in around 30 minutes or so or be able to swap batteries (much easier with trucks as they have similar form factors across manufacturers).

This requires a charging or swapping network.

The key reason Tesla are doing this is scalability, a charging network does not need to be that extensive to be useful for at least some operators. Their model is likely to be that they will sign some deals with some large hauliers, they will be able to plan a portion of their fleet to workaround a swapping or "ultracharger" network.

The data and experiance they achieve with this will put them in a leading position and also demonstrate utility, as the number of customers grows it will support more and more chargers eventually there will enough that they do not impact operations at all for most operators.

2 May 2017
... that increasingly, the word 'lorry' is becoming restricted to older generations and official literature: I've noticed the majority of younger people prefer the word 'truck', seeing it as a cooler option in comparison. This follows a general trend for creeping Americanisms in our everyday speech and it's only a matter of time before 'lorry' becomes archaic. To people of my age a truck is a light commercial vehicle and a lorry is, well, a lorry, but I guess I'm becoming archaic too.

Wide cars in a world of narrow.

2 May 2017
Ignoring the truck/lorry debate,two questions spring to mind,what will be it's range and how long will the batteries take to recharge? Say if it had a 300 mile range and took an hour on a fast recharge then an independent operator could get a full day's work out of the vehicle and with a slow overnight trickle charge back to 100% battery output by the next day. It's going to mean that Tesla Inc has got to put some serious money into putting the charging infrastructure on to the highways and interstates so that the unit can compete with it's petrol/diesel equivalents. However from this first glimpse it looks terrific and I look forward to the LCV minibus,pick up & van to appear as well.


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