Elon Musk's Tesla eying freight market with launch of 'Semi' truck

By James Henderson
Elon Musk's Tesla has signalled its intent to take a piece of the freight market with the unveiling of its 'Semi' truck. Tesla says the electrictruckwi...

Elon Musk's Tesla has signalled its intent to take a piece of the freight market with the unveiling of its 'Semi' truck. 

Tesla says the electric truck will deliver a far better experience for truck drivers, while increasing safety and significantly reducing the cost of cargo transport.

Without a trailer, the Tesla Semi achieves 0-60 mph in five seconds, compared to 15 seconds in a comparable diesel truck. It does 0-60 mph in 20 seconds with a full 80,000-pound load, a task that takes a diesel truck about a minute.

Most notably for truck drivers and other travellers on the road, it climbs 5% grades at a steady 65 mph, whereas a diesel truck maxes out at 45 mph on a 5% grade.

The Tesla Semi requires no shifting or clutching for smooth acceleration and deceleration, and its regenerative braking recovers 98% of kinetic energy to the battery, giving it a basically infinite brake life.

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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, according to Tesla.

In a release, Tesla said: "The Tesla Semi consumes less than two kilowatt-hours of energy per mile and is capable of 500 miles of range at GVW and highway speed, accommodating a wide range of shipping applications given that nearly 80% of freight in the U.S. is moved less than 250 miles."

"Coupled with the low and stable nature of electricity prices – which average $0.12/kWh in the U.S. and can be significantly less for commercial and industrial users, falling to almost nothing when combined with local solar generation and storage – owners can expect to gain $200,000 or more in savings over a million miles based on fuel costs alone."

Reservations for the Tesla Semi can be made for $5,000 per truck, with production to begin in 2019.

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