Tesla reveals 500-mile range electric semi-truck


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Elon Musk: Big dreamer or monorail salesman?

It’s not often you hear a semi-truck manufacturer boasting of a big-rig’s zero-to-60 performance. But that was among the first things Tesla CEO Elon Musk flaunted about the company’s latest product, an all-electric tractor-trailer truck.

Tesla’s semi, with an empty trailer, will be able to accelerate to 60 miles per hour in just five seconds, Musk said at the vehicle’s Los Angeles unveiling. That’s a figure usually associated with performance sedans, not big trucks.

With a full load, the truck can still reach that speed in 20 seconds, according to Musk, much faster than any diesel-powered truck.

The Tesla (TSLA) truck’s back wheels are powered by four independent electric motors.

Related: An Elon Musk email from May is making people upset

Only after talking about the truck’s speed did Musk mention its range. It can go up to 500 miles with a full load at highway speeds, he said.

That’s more than twice the distance of most trucking routes, Musk claimed, allowing a driver to make a round trip before recharging. A 300-mile version will also be available.

But truck drivers may still have some reservations.

Regardless of whether Musk is right about the typical length of trucking routes, 500 miles is still far less than diesel trucks can travel. And diesel fuel tanks can be refilled much more quickly than batteries can be recharged.

Inside the Tesla semi’s cab, the driver is seated in the center — rather than on the left or right — with a touch screen on either side.

Without a large diesel engine, the driver will have a roomier cab than in other trucks, Tesla said. The truck will also have an enhanced version of Tesla’s semi-autonomous driving system, AutoPilot.

The semi’s drive systems are guaranteed to last for 1 million miles, Tesla said. Thanks to the low cost of running it, the truck should be able to pay for itself in just two years, Tesla claimed. But it wasn’t immediately clear what the new vehicle’s price would be.

CNNMoney (New York) First published November 17, 2017: 1:01 AM ET


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