Tesla Gives First Peek at Its Electric Semi Truck

Automaker reveals a sneak peek at its new electric semi truck set to be revealed later this year.

byRob Stumpf|
Electric Vehicles photo

We knew that Tesla had an all-electric semi truck in the works. A few weeks ago, we also learned that the truck was due for official reveal in September, per Tesla CEO Elon Musk's tweet on the topic. He also gave great praise to his team, saying that they did an "amazing job" on the "next level" truck. But details have been scarce throughout the project.

Musk sat down with TED organizer, Chris Anderson, yesterday to talk business. During this time, Musk boasted about the project, even saying that the truck would perform better than the existing diesel trucks on the road. Laughed off by some, a recent industry investors report compiled by Stifel Transportation & Logistics analyst Michael Baudendistel warns others to tread lightly around the news. He noted, "Given the happily consolidated nature of the domestic truck manufacturing market, the prospect of a new competitive threat, from a company with previous success in disrupting established industries nonetheless, is undoubtedly unwelcomed news".

“Think what you will of Tesla; but, if nothing else, Elon Musk—and by extension, Tesla—is a great disruptor”

Michael Baudendistel

Of course, there are some unknowns. The cost of the EV semi truck being the big deterrent for many, but others may be concerned about the charging network present. A big deal with trucks is making their time for shipments. If a truck needs to stop to charge for hours, this may hurt deliveries, especially in more rural areas where the electric charging infrastructure is very immature and unplanned.

Aside from just the trucking industry, this may hurt suppliers for engines and components, depending on how well sales go. Manufacturers like Cummins rely on their industry presence in big trucking instead of just consumer vehicles. Prices may raise for consumer Chrysler vehicles if Cummins is forced to raise their pricing due to a fall in presence as a result of Tesla's increase market share. But this is general speculation depending on how well the Tesla performs in the market.

Speculation continues into what extras Tesla might have with the truck. Some speculate solar-based charging to extend range, others have questioned if the truck will be autonomous to assist in safe driving. We don't know much yet, but we do they have a working prototype and are ready to continue into production.