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Tesla Semi Truck Watch: It’s Out and On the Road

POR: Alex Perrone

modern electric truck

Elon Musk is ambitious. Even with consistent major setbacks, Musk continues to make announcement after announcement. One of his biggest ones was regular hints about the new Tesla semi truck. And well…it’s finally arrived.

Tesla’s former partner now competitor for commercial vehicles Ian Wright is also working on electric semi trucks for commercial use but now it seems Tesla will too. And this development is a big deal seeing as how the ability to power a semi truck using only electricity has so many benefits. The chief on is that tone of the world’s biggest causes of pollution can now realistically change into a “greener” industry.

The Challenges of an Electric Truck

There have been several major hurdles before we can even imagine electric trucks becoming a regular part of the industry. First of all is that these electric motors must be able to deal with the significant weight of the truck itself as well as the load. These trucks must be able to travel long distances. There are also significant issues with the aerodynamics. Wrightspeed and even Volvo has struggled with the battery technology. Now that brings us to Tesla, who has managed to finally crack the case. Or so they think

Here is what Musk and Tesla Announced about the new Tesla Truck:

  • It can accelerate for 0-60 miles per hour in 5 seconds
  • If it’s carrying an 80,000 max gross weight it will hit 0-60 in 20 seconds
  • The truck has a 500 mile range at maximum weight and highway speed
  • When it comes to aerodynamics it has a .36 drag coefficient/.65-.70 diesel truck/.38 which is similar to the Buggati Chiron
  • Tesla’s truck uses a system of 4 independent motors with independent suspension
  • The truck also only has 1 Gear – No transmission, because it is electric
  • Tesla designed this with a center driver position similar to a race car
  • If you were to charge the vehicle for 3 minutes it would still hit a 400 mile range (Tesla’s “MEGA CHARGE”)
  • You will be able to charger the truck at both the starting position and destination
  • Tesla incorporated an Automatic Braking system
  • The Tesla truck comes equipped with several of Tesla’s computer systems including automatic lane keeping
  • Elon Musk will give each Tesla semi truck a million mile guarantee
  • Tesla is also utilizing an innovative regenerative braking system which potentially means that the brake pads last forever
  • Similar to the Model S it will be synchronized with the Tesla app
  • Each truck may save companies just enough as they will spend $1.26 per mile on electricity for the Tesla Semi vs. $1.51 per mile on a diesel-fueled truck

How Did Tesla Make an All-Electric Semi Truck?

The way Tesla’s electric engines work is that they generate a tremendous amount of torque. That’s precisely what makes them so perfect for heavy duty trucks. When it comes to the vast majority of 18-wheel trucks, those still rely on 10 gear transmissions. The reason why they incorporate these systems is that they need to be able to get the truck rolling through hills and highway speeds. That’s the part of the challenge that Tesla needed to overcome. And that’s also precisely what makes Tesla so unique when it comes to electric vehicles. They solved this for sedans and coupes.

So, when it comes to the truck, the semi only uses one gear with no transmission. There will be no wear and tear on the gears and the truck has one less piece of maintenance to take care of. The electricity and power is mostly focused directly to getting the wheels moving and then it uses the regenerative power system to prolong the range of the truck without expelling electricity.

Tesla’s Trucking Future

self driving truck on the road

Should Tesla manage to become a genuine success in the trucking industry, they could potentially make huge gains from what is a $676.2 billion dollar industry according to the American Trucking Associations. Even with the constant advances in cleaner diesel engines the truth of the matter is that trucking industry contributes 1.6 metric tons of CO2 per year globally. Minimizing and ending that is the end goal of the adoption of electric trucks around the world.

While Tesla is still facing heavy Model 3 production issues a plus side to their multitasking means that a project like the Tesla truck can get off the ground anyway. Tesla should hurry, Daimler AG just positioned themselves as a rival that produced smaller electric trucks as well as electric big rig concepts. Elon Musk wants to have a full fleet of semi truucks on the road by 2019.

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