Elon Musk unveiled Tesla’s first electric semi-truck last week that also included the surprise reveal of a new Tesla sports car.
The new Roadster emerged from the back of one of the trucks at the end of a presentation that focused largely on the economic and performance needs of truck drivers.
While the sports car provided a jolt of excitement for Tesla enthusiasts, much of the event focused on pitching the truck to truck drivers – customers with very different concerns than the average Tesla owner.
Musk had hyped the truck on Twitter throughout the week. He reported that the Tesla truck cost of ownership will be 20% less per mile compared with diesel trucks. Among them: faster acceleration, better uphill performance, a 500-mile (805km) range at maximum weight at highway speed, and “thermonuclear explosion-proof glass” in the windshield.
Safety features include enhanced autopilot, lane-keeping technology, and a design that makes jackknifing “impossible”, Musk said.
The company plans to build a network of “Megachargers” (as opposed to the “Superchargers” used by other Tesla vehicles) that can produce a 400-mile charge in 30 minutes.
Musk claimed it would be “economic suicide” to continue using diesel trucks, saying the Tesla version, if driven in convoy, would be cheaper than shipping goods by rail.
The CEO’s promises for the new Roadster were no less ambitious. Musk said the car’s acceleration from 0 to 60 mph and 0 to 100 mph, as well as its quarter-mile speed, were all “world records” for production cars.
He said production on the trucks would begin in 2019 and the sports cars would be available in 2020.
Despite the confidence exuded by Musk, questions will undoubtedly arise about the company’s capacity to manufacture the new vehicles, with delivery of the Model 3 currently well behind schedule.
Competition in the electric truck market has been heating up. In September, Daimler AG announced the delivery of its first electric trucks to the United Parcel Service (UPS). Other companies working on electric trucks include Volkswagen, Cummins and Nikola.