Tesla claims a 20 percent cut in running cost for every mile; production to begin from 2019.
Tesla, Inc.´s chairman and CEO Elon Musk is a man of big dreams. His vision for an all-electric ecosystem where automobiles, gadgets, and homes are run by clean energy is one such reverie. What is more, he enjoys a unique kind of clout (even cult) in the entire business world, where every industry heads, experts, and even governments pay keen attention whenever he put up a press meet! Together with the star status of Tesla in the automotive industry, he has revealed his yet another mammoth project to transform the trucking world – the battery-powered Tesla semi truck.
Why is he trying to convince (rather target) the trucking industry? He must have realised that making cars cleaner have a long way to go in his vision to cut global emissions, and trucks are perhaps the right way to make the endeavour effective. Heavy vehicles may account for a small share of vehicles on road, but may own up a huge burden of transportation-related green-house gas emissions, especially the NOx emissions that directly influence people´s health. Moreover, electrification of commercial vehicles is already acknowledged as the next big thing in the industry, and there is a huge potential for developing and commercializing reliable products and technology for the same. Musk must have done the math!
So what´s up the Tesla electric truck concept? Well, everything is frighteningly extraordinary! Although it is the regular battery-electric concept, the devil is in the detail. Take for instance the carbon fiber-made cab with all the jaunty character lines and stance. Tesla has made a great deal out of it, right from the drawing board to the way electronics are asked to play a prime role. The aerodynamic design promises greater drag efficiency than many of our cars, quite an essential trait for electric trucks. There is hardly any hood, the nose of the truck is way more vertical than we would have ever imagined. The “armor glass” windshield is explosion proof – yes, you read it right! On the whole, the exterior styling of the Tesla truck is not that of the truck, but of a high-speed bullet train!
On the inside, the cab looks like an airplane´s cockpit with no cluttered controls and indicators. All one can find is a centre-positioned driving seat and steering wheel (McLaren F1´s way!), and two large 15-inch touchscreens on its either sides. The cab is almost 6 foot, 6 inches high, therefore offers full-standing room inside. While the suicide doors will offer easier entry into the cab. It does seem like truck drivers may feel like liberated while living inside the cab!
The next biggie is the Enhanced AutoPilot suite, which is a semi-autonomous feature that can drive the truck by itself on the highways, be lane disciplined, and automatically brake in case of an emergency. A mix of radars and cameras are employed to assist this semi-autonomous driving technology. There are sensors on board the electric truck to sense any jackknifing and adjust power to the individual wheels to ensure stability.
The battery pack is located beneath the cab, stretching from the front axle to the second pair of rear wheels. Tesla says it has ensured its reliability and safety by way of reinforcing, to prevent any explosion or fire. They power the two electric motors on each rear axles, borrowed from Tesla Model S. We peg that the truck must deliver around 1,032 hp of power, way higher than its diesel rivals. The company claims that the truck can haul about 36 tonnes, with a driving range of around 804 kms (500 miles). How great the acceleration can be, as against a similar diesel truck? Elon Musk revealed that the electric big rig can reach 0-100 kmph (60 mph) in just 5 seconds, we do hope that he was not kidding.
Also Read: Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck
The Tesla´s electric truck can use the company´s Supercharger network to get a range of as 640 kms (400 miles) with just 30 minutes of charging. The firm is tight-lipped on any other technical details and specs for now. What is quite amazing is the way Tesla is rethinking and redefining a heavy truck´s design and functionalities, by way of its electric powertrain and electronics. It blows away the mundane mind of trucking, puts in some alternative thoughts to ruminate. It is a new beginning, for sure!
Tesla Semi Truck Concept – Image Gallery
Photos Credit: Tesla