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Tesla Semi Unveiled: Coming in 2019 with 500+ mile range

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Tonight at Tesla’s Hawthorne-based Design Studio, Tesla unveiled the highly anticipated Tesla Semi in a vast airplane hanger next door to TeslaÂ’s design studio. The Semi was sitting behind a massive screen on the Hawthorn Municipal AirportÂ’s tarmac as the employees, Tesla owners, and press gazed on.


Tesla Semi-Reveal before the big curtain drop (Photo: Teslarati) 

The Semi has a range of 500 miles and is packed full of technology, just as 

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and fans expected.

The Tesla SemiÂ’s development has been led by Jerome Guillen, VP of Trucks and Programs. He has led the development of the truck since January 2016, and prior to his current role was VP of Worldwide Sales and Service and was the Model SÂ’s Program Director & VP of Vehicle Engineering. While it may seem odd that Guillen jumped from Sales and Service to leading the development of an all-electric semi-truck, before joining Tesla he was Director of Business Innovation at Daimler and General Manager of Freightliner (Large manufacture of class 8 diesel semi-trucks, owned by Daimler).

Musk points out that it actually takes 15 minutes for to fuel up a diesel semi, compared to a Tesla Semi that can charge at its destinations and while drivers are resting. The Tesla Semi can charge 400 miles in 30 minutes, which is provided by “Megachargers”. The Megachargers run on solar power and Tesla has guaranteed electricity rates of $0.07 per kWh with Semi owners.

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The Tesla Semi can do 0-60 in 5 seconds and 0-60 in 20 seconds with a full 80,000 lb load. The Semi also can climb a 5% gradient at 65mph, compared to 45mph for diesel trucks. This is all powered by the truck’s 4 independent motors and Musk boosts, “you can lose 2 of the 4 motors, and it will still keep going. In fact, you can lose 2 of the 4 motors and it will STILL be a diesel truck.”

The Semi has a .38 drag coefficient, compared to the standard of .65-.70. Musk compared it to a supercar. “Overall, the Semi is more responsive, covers more miles than a diesel truck in the same amount of time, and more safely integrates with passenger car traffic,” Tesla stated in a press release. The company also highlighted the fact that the Semi benefits tremendously from the regenerative braking that can recapture 98% of braking energy into the battery.

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The interior of the Semi has one seat and has incredible visibility. The seat is surrounded by two touchscreens that reminise the ones in the Model 3 and is equipped with Enhanced Autopilot.  The Semi also has a small front truck, “because why not” Musk said. The glass on the Semi is thermonuclear resistant glass, which Musk says is a big deal because semi-trucks often have their windshields crack twice a year (which renders the truck un-drivable). It can be assumed that this incredible glass could be related to Tesla’s Solar Roof glass development.

Tesla claims that the semi will cost 20% less per mile compared to Diesel trucks, costing $1.26/mile. But, that wasnÂ’t all, Musk announced convoy technology that will even beat the costs of rail and is more than 2X cheaper that Diesel trucks.

“Tesla Semi can also travel in a convoy, where one or several Semi trucks will be able to autonomously follow a lead Semi.”

The Truck’s price range varies with these options and has a $5,000 deposit. While Tesla didn’t unveil the price of the Semi, Musk stated that it could save operators $200K on fuel alone over 1 million miles. This obviously resonated with fleet owners as Jerome Guillen pointed to some important guests and stated that they had, “placed a lot of reservations”.

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