Tesla Finally Debuts Long-Awaited Semi Truck, Surprises Crowd with New Roadster

After months of delays (and a delayed start to the livestream), Tesla finally unveiled its latest addition -- the Tesla Semi Truck.
Shelby Rogers
Elon Musk explains details of the new Tesla semi truck. Screenshot taken by author during Tesla livestream. Tesla

After months of delays, Tesla finally unveiled its 'revolutionary' semi truck in a livestream at 8 p.m. CST on Thursday, Nov. 16.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk teased the feats and might of the semi trucks for months while simultaneously pushing back its reveal. Most recently, the press conference got pushed back so that Musk and the rest of Tesla could focus on restoring power to various parts of Puerto Rico through the company's Powerwall technology.

In a tweet announcing the semi truck's release, Musk said, "This will blow your mind clear out of your skull and into an alternate dimension."

Heady promises from a man openly dealing with "production hell" elsewhere in his automotive company and facing new potential issues with his Boring Company site project. So, did the webcast "blow your mind" clear out of the skulls of millions as the company had hoped? Let's talk through the livestream.

After a 30 minute delayed start to the livestream and several introductory remarks from VP of Truck and Programs Jerome Gullen, two trucks rolled up to the event. At first, they're only illuminated by the occasional bright spotlight that emphasized the trucks' sleek headlight design. Once the two trucks parked, out stepped Elon Musk himself (in a 'surprise' that everyone saw coming). 

Musk immediately spoke about the performance, giving it the acronym BAMF. 

"I think that really describes the performance well," Musk said with a grin as the audience's laughter grew. "It's a technical term."

The specs, however, certainly proved Musk's point. The Tesla semi truck promises to go from 0 to 60 mph in just 5 seconds in a real time acceleration comparison to traditional diesel trucks. Musk also noted that the Tesla semi outperforms at maximum weight (80,000 lbs on roads in the United States). At max weight, Tesla trucks accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 20 seconds. 

"We want a vehicle that feels incredible and accelerates like nothing else," Musk said.  

Tesla semis can do 65 mph at 5 percent grade, continuous at max gross; "if you're pulling a load through the moutnains... you're earning 50 percent more per mile," Musk noted. 

Tesla Finally Debuts Long-Awaited Semi Truck, Surprises Crowd with New Roadster

How far can it go? Farther than even the biggest Tesla fans predicted. Musk said the Tesla semis have a 500 mile range at max weight at highway speeds, greatly surpassing estimates of 200 - 300 miles. He said the completely flat bottom to the cabs help in giving it such an incredible range by reducing drag. 

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But the biggest difference didn't come from the impressive specs. What makes Tesla semis truly unique compared to other Class 8 trucks is the location of the steering wheel and the driver. The steering wheel is in the center of the cab. There are two touchscreen panels, one on either side of the driver.

The interior itself was sparse; Tesla fans will recognize it as similar to the Model 3's interior. And, due to the lack of a giant engine in the front, the driver can literally see the ground right in front of them, Musk noted. 

Four independent motors over each of the wheels will work in conjunction with onboard sensors to look for signs of jackknifing. If the vehicle seems to be getting out of control, the engines will reconfigure power to the individual wheels. 

Musk also noted that each truck gets built-in connectivity to integrate a fleet's management and tracking systems. Those systems couple with the long-haul durability promised in each Tesla semi. 

Tesla Finally Debuts Long-Awaited Semi Truck, Surprises Crowd with New Roadster
Screenshot from Tesla Livestream

"The brake pads basically last forever," he noted. Tesla even included explosion-proof glass throughout the semi, guaranteeing you'll "[survive] a nuclear explosion or you get a full refund," Musk joked. 

Oh, and as a pleasant surprise, Musk even unveiled a miniature version of the Tesla semi truck -- "it's a truck that can literally pull another truck," he noted. Musk then joked that the truck is certainly street legal, even if he's surprised that it qualifies as such. 

Production is scheduled to begin in 2019, a date that's already drawing out skepticism given the delays surrounding the Model 3. 

But just when you thought the livestream ended...

Tesla Debuts Roadster 2.0

The biggest joke of the night was seeing who could predict what the semis were hauling. Answers ranged from "delayed Model 3 parts" to "SpaceX launch equipment."

But no one expected the next generation Roadster 2.0. Musk announced that it would be the fastest production car ever made, capable of going 0 to 60 mph in just 1.9 seconds. Top speed comes in at 250 mph -- and that's the base unit. It travels a quarter number in the surreal time of just 8.9 seconds. 

The Roadster 2.0's battery is a 200KWh battery pack -- two times larger than the largest Model S battery. That allows the sleek two-door four-seater to get 620 miles of range.

For more information, be sure to check out Tesla's fresh product page on the semi truck. The company's Twitter account will also no doubt be updating rapidly after the announcement of the Roadster. 

Via: Tesla

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