Tesla has just revealed their prototype semi truck, and its specifications and appearance absolutely staggering. The truck looks extremely aerodynamic and this is by design as it actually has a lower wind resistance than some high performance cars. The trailer can be retracted back towards the cab once the truck is in motion, so that there is virtually no gap between the trailer and the cab, which further improves the air resistance.
The truck uses four model 3 car electric motors, one for each of the four rear wheels, and with Tesla’s dynamic power control technology the trucks have vastly more power and acceleration then the equivalent diesel truck. The most important thing for following traffic is that the Tesla truck fully laden with 40 tonnes can accelerate to 100 km an hour in 20 seconds, and can climb 5% gradient at 110 km an hour. This would mean that on the typical New Zealand Highway including State Highway 1 the trucks would be able to travel at the same speed as normal cars including up and down the steep hills in Central North Island.
The truck has brakes but almost never needs to use them as when the truck of slowing or descending a hill a power is poured back into the battery. The brake pads are designed to last the life of the truck, which is designed for a million miles or 1.6 million kilometres without any maintenance required to the powertrain.
The entire floor of the semi unit is dedicated to the massive battery, and the truck will be able to travel 500 Miles or 800 km with a full 40 tonne load. The distance from Wellington to Auckland is only 645km.
The truck cab has been designed with the driver in mind, and the driving position it’s now in the centre of a cab, with two large screens on either side on the steering wheel for all the information and control that is normally available Tesla Model S or Model X. The truck has all the self driving capabilities of the Tesla cars, which includes automatic braking in emergency, lane centering and collision avoidance technology. Tesla also has the technology to allow one truck driver at the front of a long convoy of Tesla trucks that are driverless.
One Tesla truck will have total operating cost about 70% of the equivalent diesel truck, and if convoy mode is used then the savings are 50% of the diesel equivalent. The truck will be going to manufacture and 2019 and promises to be transformational if not disruptive for the entire trucking industry.