The Tesla truck
The lorry has been part-revealed in a preview image shown during an interview with TED
The Tesla Semi electric lorry will be capable of travelling up to 600 miles on a single charge, even when fully loaded, company CEO Elon Musk has claimed.
According to Electrek, Musk said during Tesla's first quarter results conference call that he was "optimistic" the Semi would beat the 500-mile range announced at its reveal last year.
His claim follows Daimler lorry division boss Martin Daum's suggestion that the Semi's statistics "defied the laws of physics".
The Semi with the 600-mile claimed range costs $180,000 (£132,720 at today's rate) in the US. A lower-spec variant with a 300-mile range will be priced from $150,000 (£110,565). Prices for diesel lorries in Britain start at about £85,000 by comparison.
Several US companies, including supermarket giant Walmart (which owns the Asda chain in the UK), have already 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 shortly after its reveal.
During its November reveal in Hawthorne, California, where Tesla also showed a new Roadster sports car, Musk said the Semi, which was previously referred to as the Tesla Truck, was capable of accelerating from 0-60mph in 5.0sec.
He also said it was able to hit 60mph in 20.0sec when the trailer is fully loaded with 80,000lb (almost 36 tonnes) of cargo. This beats the average sprint time for regular diesel-powered rivals by around 40 seconds.
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 Megachargers – a new high-speed DC charging solution – that are 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 the Semi has a drag coefficient of 0.36Cd. It states that most of its competitors are closer to 0.65Cd.
Tesla has refrained from going into further detail about the lorry's drivetrain and battery but has revealed that the vehicle features advanced autonomous technology to prevent jackknifing of the trailer. Onboard sensors are installed to detect instability and can adjust torque sent to each wheel and independently actuate all brakes to avoid jackknifing.
Additionally, surround cameras provide autonomous object detection and reduce blindspots, 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 Semi can travel in a convoy, allowing one or several Semis to autonomously follow a lead one.
Alongside the claims for performance and safety, Musk said the Semi would provide users with massive savings. Figures produced by the company state that owners "can expect to save $200,000 or more over a million miles based on fuel costs alone".
Production is due to start next year, at which time Musk believes Tesla's "production bottlenecks" will be history.
These production issues related to supply difficulties with the Model 3. They caused the reveal of the Semi to be delayed by several weeks.