Tesla is taking the concept of dirty, noisy diesel-powered semi trucks and turninng it around with its first-ever Tesla Semi.
The electric car specialist has expanded its product portfolio with a battery-powered prime mover in California. Amongst the brand’s claims, Tesla says its Semi will be quicker, more efficient and cost significantly less to operate than a conventional diesel-powered truck.
Tesla’s revolution of the heavy-transport industry even includes a bullet-proof windscreen, not to protect drivers, but as a way to avoid vehicle downtime due to minor damage, although Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk claims the windscreen is rated to withstand a nuclear blast.
The Tesla Semi is powered by individual in-wheel motors at each corner that, through controlled delivery of torque, will prevent the truck from jackknifing and provides it with enough power to accelerate to 100km/h in five seconds without a trailer making it around 10 seconds faster than a conventional diesel truck, and putting it on-par with modern hot-hatches
Musk also claims the truck recovers 98 percent of its deceleration through regenerative braking rather than traditional brake pads, which may never have to be replaced over the life of the vehicle.
Tesla says the Semi has a driving range of approximately 700 kilometres at highway speeds while carrying a full load and that its battery pack can be recharged to 80 per cent within 30 minutes via a high-speed DC Megacharger, which can be installed by transport companies, at destination hubs and along heavily trafficked routes.
The Megachargers will gather energy from solar panels and store it in battery packs, essentially shifting trucks from being one of the biggest contributors of carbon emissions to one of the cleanest.
The Semi is also planned to be equipped with the highest level of active safety systems with cameras that provide a 360 degree view around the truck as well as the latest in automated driving technologies such as emergency braking, lane keeping assistance, and data recording.
Musk says it will be able to join other Tesla Semis in a platoon-style convoy that will make long-haul road transport more cost efficient than rail.
The cabin has been designed as a functional yet simplified workplace with the driver centred in the middle of the cockpit to give them a commanding view of the road ahead.
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