When is a Semi truck not a Semi truck?
When it’s a Super Semi.
Leave it to electric vehicle innovator Tesla to design a big rig with the get-up-and-go of a sports car.
This long-range Semi truck could potentially transform the U.S. freight-hauling business in several key ways.
While it can take more than a minute for a conventional diesel truck to launch from zero to 60 miles per hour, the Tesla Semi, equipped with four separate motors driving the four back wheels of the cab, can achieve that feat in just five seconds.
The typical 18-wheeler gets barely five to seven miles a gallon and is responsible for quite a big share of transportation-based pollution. But, with its sleek aerodynamic design, Tesla’s Semi can get up to 500 miles on a single charge. Although that’s less than the 1,000 miles many types of diesel can manage on a tank, it’s also more than adequate enough to handle most heavy-duty freight trips, averaging about 250 miles.
For longer trips, Tesla plans to set up a network of Semi charging stations across the country, similar to the high-speed charging stations set up for its electric passenger vehicles.
A trucker will be able to stop, on average, every eight hours or so, charge the Semi during a 30-minute break and get enough energy to travel another 400 miles.
Elon Musk, the South African-born entrepreneur and mastermind behind Tesla, promised the Semi would be low maintenance, reliable and durable.
The biggest selling point, however, may be its cost-effectiveness. Operating costs will be at least 10 percent lower than costs associated with a conventional diesel semi.
Tesla anticipates getting the Semi into production in 2019.