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Transportation Innovations: Introducing the Tesla Semi

12.10.2017 | By Chris Pickett | 2 min. read

Photo credit: Tesla

Fuel-saving features, built-in GPS, electronic data logs – when it comes to moving freight, transportation technology keeps advancing. Today, shippers have a wide range of options and tools that can be used to get products from Point A to point B – and now it’s time for the next big thing. The research and development team at Tesla is taking reservation deposits on the electric Tesla Semi. Let’s talk details.

Transportation Innovations: Introducing the Tesla Semi Truck

Generally speaking, electric engines have a ton of torque — which is a great thing to have when you need to get a load moving. Fully loaded at 40 tons, the Tesla semi can go from zero to sixty in about 20 seconds. Take the weight off, and it’s pared down to a lean five-second bobtail sprint to get up to highway speeds. Four independent motors consume under two kilowatt hours per mile, which sounds like scientific jargon until you realize that translates into a 300- or 500-mile range between charges, depending on the truck’s battery size.

Electric Semi Benefits

Not surprisingly, the biggest benefit of using an electric vehicle is fuel savings. Estimates suggest that moving a load using a Tesla Semi will cost 20% less than using a comparable diesel tractor. Tesla charging stations are being planned across the country to accommodate over-the-road shippers. Each one will include the Semi’s megacharger, which uses solar panels to charge 400 miles of battery life in just 30 minutes.

Tesla Semi Safety Features

Though it’s still not a self-driving vehicle, the Tesla Semi does come closer than most with its Enhanced Autopilot System. The truck automatically detects dangerous situations and provides lane departure warnings and emergency braking, while a central driver’s seat and blind-spot sensors help truck operators avoid danger while merging. Independent computer controls also handle each wheel to prevent jackknifing.

Big Brands Are On Board

Though the charging stations needed to turn Tesla Semis from a local route truck into a true OTR option are still being planned and built, that’s not stopping major companies from stepping up and placing a deposit on these earth-friendly tractors. Walmart, J.B. Hunt, and Ryder are among the early adopters getting their deposits in to try these trucks on a limited basis.

Much like Tesla’s consumer electric vehicles, cost savings and safety are key features in their new semi. This is an advancement worth keeping an eye on, as it may play a major role in shaping the future of transportation when it comes to safety, fuel efficiency, and decreased environmental impact.

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