Elon Musk tweeted today that the much anticipated Tesla Semi is coming in September. It is no secret that selling luxury cars to the 1% is not going to have much affect on carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere but finding a way to electrify the freight hauling component of the transportation sector just might.
What will the Tesla Semi look like? How much can it haul and for how long? How big is the battery? Will it have any sort of range extender engine/turbine/moonbeam collector? Nobody knows. Musk, as usual, is playing his Twitter followers like a Stradivarius, creating excitement with very little actual information.
Last July, Musk rolled out his Master Plan Part Deux (extra credit if you know what “Part Deux” refers to). It included objectives like acquiring SolarCity, perfecting Autopilot, and creating a network that will allow Tesla owners share their cars with others. Then there was this item — expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major segments
Musk later explained one of those major segments was trucks for hauling freight. In February, he cranked up the magic Twitter machine once again to say, “Jerome is driving Tesla Semi and doing a great job with his team.” Jerome is Jerome Guillen, former head of Tesla sales and service. He is now head of the Tesla Semi program. Before joining Tesla, he worked for Daimler Trucks North America on Class 8 truck development and headed up the Cascadia Class 8 truck team.
We can speculate on whether the Tesla Semi will be designed for short haul duty, like the tractors that haul freight from ports in southern California to the enormous distribution centers 20 miles inland or whether it will be capable of long haul tasks. It is hard to believe that the Tesla Semi will have enough pure battery power to lug an 80,000 pound cargo more than 100 miles or so.
For now, we are left to wonder. Perhaps Elon will Tweet more details soon. But the idea that some of the horrendous diesel emissions that follow in the wake of America’s tractor trailers will soon be eliminated by electric trucks is very encouraging news indeed.