American electric vehicle Tesla’s entry into the commercial vehicle world has begun. The disruptive technology company rolled out the hot-looking Semi Tesla truck at its global reveal today. And it bids fair to be a disruptive force in the world of commercial vehicles.
Speaking at the reveal, Tesla founder Elon Musk said the powertrain in the Tesla Semi is “guaranteed not to break down for a million miles, a number which equals more than 40 trips around the earth!" And that it is more aerodynamic than a Bugatti Chiron with a drag coefficient of 0.36.
0-60mph in 20 seconds with 80,000-pound load
Without a trailer, the Tesla Semi does 0-60mph in five seconds, compared to 15 seconds in a comparable diesel truck. It does 0-60mph 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 travelers on the road, it climbs 5% grades at a steady 65mph, whereas a diesel truck maxes out at 45mph 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. 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.
Ergonomically-friendly driver cabin
The Semi’s cabin is designed specifically around the driver, featuring unobstructed stairs for easier entry and exit, full standing room inside, and a centered driver position for optimal visibility. Two touchscreen displays positioned symmetrically on both sides of the driver provide easy access to navigation, blind spot monitoring and electronic data logging. Built-in connectivity integrates directly with a fleet’s management system to support routing and scheduling, and remote monitoring. Diesel trucks today currently require several third party devices for similar functionality.
Megachargers, a new high-speed DC charging solution, will add about 400 miles in 30 minutes and can be installed at origin or destination points and along heavily trafficked routes, enabling recharging during loading, unloading, and driver breaks.
Higher safety standard than HD trucks
The Tesla Semi’s all-electric architecture is designed to have a higher safety standard than any other heavy-duty truck on the market, with a reinforced battery that shields the Semi from impact and gives it an exceptionally low center of gravity. Its windshield is made of impact resistant glass.
Jackknifing is prevented due to the Semi's onboard sensors that detect instability and react with positive or negative torque to each wheel while independently actuating all brakes. The surround cameras aid object detection and minimize blind spots, automatically alerting the driver to safety hazards and obstacles. With Enhanced Autopilot, the Tesla Semi features Automatic Emergency Braking, Automatic Lane Keeping, Lane Departure Warning, and event recording.
The Tesla Semi can also travel in a convoy, where one or several Semi trucks will be able to autonomously follow a lead Semi.
Powertrain claimed to last over a million miles
With far fewer moving parts than a diesel truck – no engine, transmission, after-treatment system or differentials to upkeep – the Tesla Semi requires significantly less maintenance. Its battery is similar in composition to the batteries of Tesla energy products and is designed to support repeated charging cycles for over a million miles, while its motors are derived from the motors used in Model 3 and have been validated to last more than one million miles under the most demanding conditions.