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Tesla reveals its first electric truck

18 November 2017

Commercial production is planned to start in 2020.

"We have a long history of testing new technology-including alternative-fuel trucks-and we are excited to be among the first to pilot this new heavy-duty electric vehicle", said Walmart's Director of National Media Relations Kory Lundberg in an article from Bloomberg. The new Roadster - a revamp of the original Tesla roadster launched in 2008 - can travel 620 miles on a single charge and has a top speed of 250 miles an hour. Tesla is way behind on production of the Model 3, a new lower-cost sedan, with some customers facing waits of 18 months or more.

"When we take off, if we're at full power, we'll go Plaid, we'll go Plaid", says the Tesla employee giving the Roadster test ride.

He added that the overall cost of ownership for the truck would be 20 per cent less per mile than its diesel equivalents, concluding that it would be "economic suicide" for truck companies to continue using diesels. There's also a version with a 300-mile range.

As well as the unveiling of the long-awaited articulated lorry project, the company also had a surprise in its back pocket - namely a new version of its Roadster sports vehicle. Tesla says there will be a host of fleet management tools and routing tools, which will be made available on the Semi, and are otherwise seen on cars.

Tesla’s new electric semi truck is unveiled during a presentation in Hawthorn California U.S. Nov. 16 2017
Tesla’s new electric semi truck is unveiled during a presentation in Hawthorn California U.S. Nov. 16 2017

Tesla has unveiled an electric lorry with production due to begin in the USA in 2019. The figure assumes a diesel price of $2.50 a gallon versus 7 cents/kWh for electricity and a maximum load traveling at an average speed of 60 miles per hour. Inside the truck's cabin - tall enough for a driver to stand upright - there are two large touchscreen interfaces. The chair and steering wheel are in the cab's center. Tesla is still having issues getting the Model 3 up and running, plus the new Model Y crossover is expected soon.

The family auto was supposed to be Tesla's opening to a broad market, with a sticker price starting at $35,000 - but production snags have meant that instead of making thousands of Model 3s each month, Tesla produced only 260 in September.

Remember the original Tesla Roadster - looked a bit like a Lotus Exige, costed a lot more and went like stink? Elon Musk recently described it as "production hell".

As Andrew J. Hawkins wrote of the new Roadster and Semi for The Verge, "These are just concept vehicles, really, but it's Tesla, and nothing is really ever as it seems".

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Tesla reveals its first electric truck