Tesla’s bid to transform the trucking industry from one of old-timey gas-guzzling vehicles to sleek electric-powered ones gained a major foothold on Thursday with the unveiling of the new Tesla Semi. Graced with the semblance of Darth Vader and an unusual center-mounted driver’s seat, the truck’s design signals how much the company wants to do things differently.
"It's not like any truck that you've ever driven,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk hyped from the stage at Tesla’s LA facility. According to Musk, the truck can go from 0 to 60 mph in 20 seconds when carrying a full load of 80,000 pounds—the maximum weight allowed on U.S. roads.
But even with those impressive stats, the Tesla Semi isn’t quite up to the performance level of its diesel-fueled competition, which will still be able to travel longer distances between refueling, and will likely have a much lower price tag. A Carnegie Mellon study estimated the cost of the Semi’s battery pack alone to be roughly $200,000, with the typical diesel truck priced at just $120,000, the BBC points out.
Tesla’s selling points include cheaper per-mile transport costs, safety, comfort, and (let’s be honest) the cool factor. The trucks will be outfitted with Tesla’s Autopilot system, which keeps vehicles within painted road lines and adjusts speeds depending on the cars ahead.
The Semi is expected to go into production in 2019. In 2020, the company will also begin producing a roadster, which was unexpectedly unveiled at the Semi event. The sports car, described as a “hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars” by Musk, will start at $200,000, have a range of nearly 620 miles on a single charge, and go from 0 to 100 mph in 4.2 seconds.
Here’s a supercut of the truck’s unveiling, courtesy of The Verge.