Tesla Semi: The complete overview of Tesla's truck

tesla semi

Tesla doesn't only make cars - soon, their electric semi-trucks will take shipments nationwide. Rumored and talked about for years, it seems that the Tesla Semi is on its way to becoming a reality.

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During Tesla's first-quarter earnings call for 2019, the company confirmed that production of the Tesla Semi would be delayed until 2020, reinforcing the previous suspicions and fears of many Tesla fans when the company promised a 2019 release. Elon Musk has previously stated that his company will aim to make 100,000 Semis per year, but that production ramp-up will have to wait.

In 2021, Tesla announced that the Tesla Semi wouldn't be released until the end of 2021 due to battery cell supply constraints. In March 2021, Electrek reported that Tesla is building a production line for the Tesla Semi at a building near the Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada and hopes to produce five Semis each week.

tesla semi in motion

The Tesla Semi was first announced in November 2017 by Elon Musk at a Tesla Event. At the event, Musk unveiled two options for the battery powering his trucks: a 300-mile range pack and a 500-mile range pack. A new charging apparatus known as the 'Megacharger' was also announced. This new charger will supposedly add 400 miles of range to a Tesla Semi in 30 minutes. That's ten times as powerful as the current Tesla Superchargers for car owners.

Since the announcement, several high-profile companies have put down hefty deposits for Semis. UPS, Pepsi, and Walmart are just a few organizations that have reserved some of the suspected several hundred pre-ordered trucks.

The formal launch of the Tesla Semi was supposed to be at some point in 2019; however, considering Elon Musk's shaky history with release deadlines, many believed the Semi wouldn't truly be released until 2020, and now that's been pushed back until the end of 2021. That doesn't mean Tesla hasn't made significant progress on their upcoming long-haul truck, though. The Tesla Semi had been spotted on the road several times across the U.S., at both Superchargers and Tesla campuses. It was even seen in public with a Tesla Model X parked on its trailer.

According to the Tesla website, the expected base price for the Semi will either be $150,000 or $180,000, depending on the range selected (300 or 500 miles). There is also a $20,000 base reservation fee for each vehicle. Tesla's website claims fuel savings of more than $200,000, which would make the truck's high upfront price worthwhile over the vehicle's lifetime. The company estimates a two-year payback period on average for the truck.

Like its cars, Tesla has some unique design and technical features lined up for the Semi:

Technical specifications: a high-performance luxury truck

Promising 0 to 60 acceleration with a full load in 20 seconds (5 seconds with no load), up to 500 miles of range, and a speed of 60 mph up a 5 percent grade, Musk is looking to introduce an astounding vehicle to the trucking market that may be able to physically outperform traditional diesel trucks that dominate the roads today by a large margin.

In addition to acceleration and power, the Tesla Semi will supposedly come with some of the software features that have set cars like the Model S and Model 3 apart from the competition. While full self-driving technology may not be available yet, Musk touted the 'Enhanced Autopilot Features' the Semi will come with, including automatic emergency braking, automatic lane keeping, and forward collision warning. Perhaps most interestingly, on the software side, the Tesla Semi can enter a 'Convoy Mode' with other Semis on the road. The convoy technology allows trucks to draft semi-autonomously, which reduces energy usage by lowering wind resistance.

How is the Tesla Semi designed?

One of the unique features that will likely set the Tesla Semi apart from the competition is the cockpit design. Unlike traditional diesel semi-trucks, Tesla's truck has a centered driver's seat. Similarly to other Tesla vehicles, the Semi will have touchscreen controls, this time in the form of two large displays on either side of the steering wheel.

drivers seat tesla semi

As far as color availability goes, the current prototypes of the Semi that have been seen on the road are silver, matte black, and red.

Tesla has begun installing solar and battery packs at charging locations to power their current Superchargers and the upcoming network of Megachargers. In doing this, the company can provide cheap, clean energy to Tesla drivers as they refuel at charging locations. As Tesla begins building the Megacharger network, solar power will continue to play an essential role in its charging system.

You don't need to refuel at a Tesla Supercharger to supply your electric car with solar energy. If you are wondering about charge times at public chargers and more, check out our analysis of charge time by the Tesla model. By installing a solar array on your property, you can produce the electricity you need to drive an electric vehicle right at home, dramatically reducing your electricity costs over the lifetime of your EV. The best way to understand how small or large of a solar energy system you'll need to install is to register your property on the EnergySage Marketplace. If you anticipate buying an electric vehicle soon (or already have one), leave a note in your profile indicating so. Solar installers who submit quotes for solar on your property will factor in the extra electricity that an EV needs when sizing the perfect array for you.

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