Tesla's Electric Big Rig Hauls 80,000 Pounds With 500 Mile Range And Zero Pollution

tesla semi 4
Tesla went official with its new Semi at a special event last night. We had heard rumors of the battery-powered big rig back in August, and at the time it was tipped to have a rather short 300 mile driving range per charge. As it turns out the driving range for the Tesla Semi (that is the official name of the vehicle) is much better at 500 miles per charge.

The Semi is obviously much bigger than Tesla's passenger cars, but it does seem to be lower to the ground than many of the big rigs that plow through the highways each day. Tesla CEO Elon Musk says that the Semi is "designed like a bullet" and it certainly looks very aerodynamic. Most of the same safety and driver assistance tech that the Tesla cars have is integrated with the big rig plus a few Semi-specific features.

tesla semi 1

Drivers will get Enhanced Autopilot, jackknife prevention, lots of sensors for blind spot detection and data logging for fleet management. Enhanced Autopilot will include automatic emergency braking, automatic lane keeping, and lane departure warning.

Tesla also promises that using its new Megachargers, the Semi can recharge enough to drive 400 miles in 30 minutes. These Megachargers will be powered partially by solar panels and will be built by Tesla. The layout of the electric motors leaves lots of room for the interior and that interior is large enough for a person 6-foot 3-inches tall to stand upright in. Speaking of electric motors, the Semi uses four modified Model 3 motors each attached to its own wheel with revised gearing.

tesla semi 3

Other than forgoing the massive diesel engine, the Tesla Semi also introduces the trucking world to a new driving position centered in the cab. On each side of the driver are screens from the Tesla Model 3 that show all the vital details on the Semi with speed, mileage, battery status, maps, climate control, music and other controls on the right and truck-specific info on the left screen.

tesla semi 2

Tesla gives up some performance data on the Semi claiming a 0-60mph time of five seconds when empty and the same feat can be done in 20 seconds when loaded with 80,000 pounds of cargo. That's fast for a big rig. Tesla also claims that the Semi is much cheaper to operate per mile than a diesel truck at $1.26 per mile for the Tesla Semi and $1.51 per mile for a diesel truck.

Elon Musk says that Tesla will guarantee no breakdowns for the Semi for a million miles. While operating costs were discussed at the event. Tesla and Musk have remained mum on the actual price of the big rig.