Why The Tesla Semi Is Revolutionary — And Not In The Way You Think



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With the Tesla Semi launch event now a week and a half behind us, I figured it would be a great time to examine what it is that makes the Tesla Semi such a revolutionary truck — at least, what will make it a revolutionary truck if all of the promises made of it are followed through on when it launches in 2019.

Of course, there’s lots to get excited about even at face value, from the central seating position through to the massive quad-motor drivetrain, long-range capabilities and Megachargers that Tesla says will make longer-distance travel possible.

But for me, the biggest revolutionary thing about the Tesla Semi isn’t any of those features — nor the platooning or the autonomous capabilities. It’s the cost of the battery packs that will power the Tesla Semi.

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36 Replies to “Why The Tesla Semi Is Revolutionary — And Not In The Way You Think”

  1. Mayhemm007

    Keep in mind that the 80,000 pound figure is for the GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT which includes the tractor and trailer in the total, leaving only the remainder for cargo. I don't know where this puts it in comparison to diesel big rigs.

    I also can't help but wonder how the Tesla truck will fare in a crash. With the driver positioned so far forward, there isn't much material to absorb kinetic energy like there is on Tesla's other vehicles. After all, they don't want the driver to end up a bug on that armor-glass windshield if the truck is involved in a collision…

  2. Wind

    When will people stop buying into whatever tesla says ? They always claim something fail to deliver it then claim something else to keep you from thinking about the failure .
    They always use double speak and deceptive phrases to make you think the improvements are better than they actually are.

    Do any of you think there will be multiple chargers at truck stops that each dish out more power than is needed to power 220 homes(1.6MW) anytime soon?
    Last time i checked we didn't have compact nuclear reactors laying around to power them , solar has no chance because it would take over 10,000 of them to recharge a single truck ,it would also need a battery backup system to do it when the sun isn't out .

    Vaporware or small trucking establishments

  3. Anirudh Kanwar

    I think the whole reason they are going into the trucking industry is because true automation of self road vehicle's is going to start from trucking. There are alot of jobs going to be replaced in the next 10 years.

  4. enntense

    Welcome to fantasy land…By teslas numbers it would take about 1.6MW to charge a system in 1/2 hour…That's about 3,500 amps in a 480 V system….At a truck station with 20 charging stations…70,000 amps of current…Not going to happen…

  5. Johny40Se7en

    Sounds great as long as tesla can get their massive amount of materials for all their vehicles from ethical sources. The Nikola 1 truck looks wicked too, that runs on hydrogen though so it would make more sense for bigger vehicles to use that especially, can fill up so much quicker and if the hydrogen is made from renewables on site and not made from fossil fuels, it'll be wicked all round.

  6. SocialHostage

    I think transport companies will be sceptical to switch to electric. There has been absolutely no real world tests with tons and tons of weight being pulled by the truck. This will drastically…. drastically reduce the range! I think it would have been a better move for Tesla to have developed a work truck. Like a jeep or pickup truck with say 6ton pulling power and a decent range calculated with pulling those 6 tons. Also fast acceleration might damage loads

  7. Aston Sadgrove

    The batteries are a major problem. Tesla do not own the IP on this. They are NOT in partnership with Panasonic! Panasonic agreed to install equipment into Teslas factory and produce batteries onsite at a certain price per unit for Tesla. Elon is a liar about this, people still believe its all Tesla when its not. If over the next five years solid state batteries do come online, Tesla is in more deep shit than they are now. Sitting on a major factory full of old out dated equipment. Why do you think Nissan dumped there battery division.

  8. Roy Ellor

    Regenerative braking makes them a lot safer too. Brake fade on descending hills kills a lot of truckers and uninvolved motorists, Tesla look like they have engineered that huge ICE problem out as regen won't fade on those inclines.

  9. Channel 1

    I believe that a YouTube channel my be stealing your videos, the name is "ecotricity nz", and (as far as I can tell) has re-uploaded all of your editing out the intro and a few other segments.

  10. Big E

    Tesla should figure out how to integrate their solar panels onto their vehicles so that they charge while they are driving. A truck has a lot of exterior area and spends a lot of time outside.

  11. Luka Botic

    Can you comment or do a story on toyotas foray into batteries and electric. I've heard whispers of solid state advances and investment possibly deterring them from H2 cell cars. Ps love your show.

  12. Kevin Polito

    Most skeptical statements about the Tesla Semi assume that technology will stand still for the next two years; no advances in battery technology, no reduction in the cost of batteries, no increase in the number of charging stations. It's akin to someone in 1908 saying that the Model T was going to be a failure because there were hardly any gas stations when it was introduced, the automobile was impractical, and nothing was going to replace the horse.

  13. Sunny Ah Day

    As a side you should point out this thing has hauled nothing. Musk, if this works, will be responsible for lot of unemployed people. Why do you all think this is great? His cars are over $100,000.00 how do you think this truck will only be $150,000.00.

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