Have you taken a look at the new Tesla Semi truck yet? If not, I recommend you do; it’s pretty damn impressive. If Tesla CEO Elon Musk is on the money, this product might change the way the trucking industry operates all over the world.
Musk unveiled the aerodynamic, all-electric truck recently in Los Angeles, and the crowd was wowed. The truck has a 500-mile range, but what is really revolutionary about the new semi is what is missing: there is no transmission, no clutch, and no large motor in the truck.
Musk guarantees that the groundbreaking semi will not break down for a million miles and that the brake pads will last forever. He also claims that the truck’s glass is “thermonuclear explosion-proof.” The trucks will charge at “Megachargers” where cargo can simultaneously be unloaded, and a 30-minute charge will add 400 miles worth of driving. The prototypes also feature tires that each have their own motors and can operate independently.
The truck’s battery is built into the chassis, hidden behind a frame that protects it. The cab, where truckers spend roughly 12 hours a day, has been redesigned to look like a small room, with the wheel in the centere of the dash. There is no passenger seat, but a small jump seat is located behind the driver.
A lot of space is saved because of the lack of a motor and transmission, giving the driver 7 feet of standing room. As of now, the semi curiously does not contain a sleeper cabin, but the company says they’re considering a model that includes one in the future. The cab also features touchscreens for the driver on either side of the steering wheel.
The Tesla semi has other advantages for long-haul truckers, including automatic emergency breaking, auto steering, and lane-departure warning. One additional feature useful for drivers is the jackknife prevention technology that applies torque to every wheel and activates all brakes independently when sensors detect a possible impending jackknife. Thats good news for all of us – if you’ve ever been stuck in a traffic jam, you know jackknifes are a major cause of highway backups.
Production on the Tesla semis is supposed to begin in 2019, and companies are already reserving their fleets. It will be interesting to see how quickly Elon Musk and Tesla get these bad boys on the road.