The future of autonomous vehicles is slowly becoming a reality and the concept will be taking a huge leap forward in September when Tesla Unveils their electric semi-truck. From cars to SUVs to upcoming pickup trucks and vans, Tesla is on the way to soon having a vehicle representing each class currently on the road.
The Model 3 launch is currently the top priority at Tesla (the launch is scheduled for summer of this year), but that hasn’t stopped Elon Musk from giving us a look at what’s in store from the Palo Alto-based company. In a recent tweet, Musk revealed his plans for the Tesla semi unveiling:
Tesla Semi truck unveil set for September. Team has done an amazing job. Seriously next level.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 13, 2017
The Tesla semi-truck initiative is being led by Jerome Guillen, former VP of Worldwide Sales and Service and now the head of development of Tesla’s Trucks and Programs Initiative. PrevIously, Guillen was the General Manager of New Product Development at Freightliner, a manufacturer of heavy duty class 8 diesel trucks:
Jerome is driving Tesla Semi & doing a great job with his team. At Daimler, he led their most successful semi truck program ever.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 21, 2016
70% of US freight moves via semi-trucks, so this could potentially be a huge market for Tesla. Semis are currently one of the largest polluters in the world and with millions of miles under their belts, converting semis to a cleaner source overall. The trick would be to develop a battery and charging network that could handle the weight and distance necessary for long haul driving.
For more concrete info on Tesla’s plans for the semi-trucks, let’s take a look at their Master Plan:
Ryan Popple, the CEO of Proterra, an electric bus manufacturer, speculates that initially, the Tesla semi fleet would serve more of an internal use than expected:
“A fairly reasonable idea would be to move battery packs from the Gigafactory downhill to the assembly plant in Fremont, California. The reason I say that could be viable is they’re fundamentally transporting battery packs. They could build battery packs and put them into a truck that’s optimized for the shipment of those packs, charge them with solar as a way of validating the pack, and transport them at maybe 50 or 60 percent state of charge.”
That actually seems like a fantastic idea, as it gives Tesla a trucking network to transport their own materials, and it also gives them an incredible opportunity at testing out their fleet. Only time will tell what Elon Musk has planned!